So I felt we were a bit overdue for a blog post and then I reaslized its already been over 2 months since our last blog…you guessed it we have been busy, or as I prefer to say life has been full. So I choose to defer a more detailed thought provoking post until later this month and instead do a bit of a thematic overview of these past weeks.
SERVICE (MCC worklife)
I decided that since with MCC we call ourselves service workers I would use this theme to share what and where our “jobs” having taken us in the past two months.
While Rick and I are loaned out to two different local organizations at times we are able to go out to serve together as a family. In these past two months we all joined Rick in two different workshops – the first at a church in Chiapa de Corzo demonstrating how to perserve their fruit and make jam, and the second in the small community of Tzelepat, learning about how to prune and care for fruit trees. As always these were enriching experiences.
At this point I´d also like to include that Ezra and Hilary closed out another school year, which to me is their service placement here in Mexico. Ezra´s highlight at the year end event was performing with his Kung Fu group. Next year Ezra will head into grade 2 and Hilary into her 2nd year of preschool at the same school, which will be in a new location.
JACQUIE – For me mid May through June, in addition to my other monthly/weekly work, was full of working on budget proposals and part icipating in planning/evaluation meetings, which typically I like, but a combination of the number, length and language of these ones led me a bit tired out by the end of June. I continue to try to contribute to perhaps a more balanced, forward thinking/visionary and organized approach to how both the organization – YIRTRAK and one of their projects Semillas de Luz (aka Ezra´s primary school) function.
Having started 2 years ago quite simply as a volunteer trying to contribute here and there, I find myself having gained both respect and much more of a workload.
RICK – As in the previous two years, May and June was full of community visits that include technical workshops and general encouragement/learning/sharing within each community group and those of us accompanying these groups. I am currently working on a small seed-production project at the INESIN garden – hoping to distribute a few heritage seed varieties that I brought here from the north (sshhh! don’t tell Gerry Ritz! – perhap I’ll explain in more detail in another blog). As well, INESIN helps to coordinate diverse activities in both Catholic and Evangelical churches in celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – I thoroughly enjoyed singing in the interconfessional choir during the closing service.
CHURCH LIFE – Rick and I have considered MCC`s desire for their service workers to pariticpate in the life of a local church as an important part of our time and ministry here in Mexico. In May we were able to host one of a series of special church services the women´s group planned to focus on “the christian home”. In June, Rick worked with the youth group to plant a milpa (corn, beans, squash and canadian sweet pea!) in a small vacant lot, as a way to connect with traditional culture, and grow food that will support some church activities. And now we have just made it home in time from holidays for the kids to head to our churches VBS for the last two days. We continue to be thankful for the kindness, openess and hearts of the families in this congregation.
MCC TEAM RETREAT – These retreats take place about every 3 to 4 months in differents parts of Mexico, this time we headed to Tepotzlan (a somewhat tourist destination 1 hour or so from Mexico City). With many transitions occuring within the MCC Mexico Team in these months I would say the focus of this time was “connecting” both in welcoming new people to the team and saying goodbye to others – including our REPS who have served for the past 5 1/2 years – Marion, Ricardo along with Isabel and Sofia we will miss you!
Ezra Turned 7! From a vegetable packed piñata to black bean brownies to a family night out for sushi, Ezra wanted to celebrate with a theme of being healthy. Thanks to INESIN we put on a big event with one inflatable jumping “castillo de aire” and 50 plus guests – it will be a party to remember.Jacquie completed 39 years! With a little less fanfare Jacquie joined Rick in living out the last year of her 30´s, although with this event we did check off one thing from her mexico bucket list – going salsa dancing with her hubby (thanks Gabriel and Lily for joining us!)
Father´s Day! While Mother´s Days gets all the attention here in Mexico, we were happy to reunite with the Gomez-Schreuder Families (some of whom lived in the USA this past year) to say thanks to all the Dad´s.
Rick and Jacquie´s 9th Anniversary!
Being that July 3rd was a travel day and beginning of a MCC retreat this year, thanks to Miriam we were still able to go out a few days earlier and enjoyed some good Mexican food – Chamula style.
Last Trip to Immigration! Since Rick and I were able to obtain two-year visas back in January, last week we were thankful for a quick 20 minute stay at the Mexico City immigration office to put the kids thumb prints down probably for the last time. While we do not celebrate that our time here is down to less than one year, we are a bit thankful that we will likely not make that journey again.
2013 Summer Holidays! After our MCC Mexico Team Retreat we enjoyed one day back in Cuernevaca where we had spent some of our first weeks back in 2010 doing some langugage studies. We also decided to make the trek out to Guadalajara to visit some friends back from our Bethany days, it was great to be reunited with Jen, Joan and Trever (and see some other familiar canadian faces) and learn a bit more about their work doing intercultural discipleship and missionary training. Besides visiting, we split our time between a couple of days in the city (walking downtown , going to the zoo, and participating in a VBS), and a few more relaxing days out at the Mattew Training Center (MTC).
FRIENDSHIPS AND FUN
While Rick is the one who has done a lot more traveling here in Chiapas this time it was “a mi me toca” , my turn. First I joined a group of veteran ladies here from San Cristobal to compete in a basketball tournament in a community (Jiquipilas) about 1 1/2 hours from here. The two days were a fun and different experience for me, speaking lots of spanish and sweating profusely as we were playing down in hot country. Second I accompanied a fellow worker of Rick´s from INESIN (Lindsey, a young woman from the US here with the United Church) to Guatemala in order to renew her tourist visa. It was a long trip, 2 – 12 hour days in a van plus a 5 hour wait at the border waiting for a blockade to finish (all within 3 days), but also adventuresome and fun, especially getting to tour around Antigua for one day without kids!
As mentioned before our good friends Rebecca, Rogelio, Aaron and Kyara have returned to visit during this summer (they are involved in teaching in a spanish immersion program in a christian school in Iowa). So as a family, and alongside many friends, we continue to be blessed during our time here in Mexico!