^^ this is my favorite novel of all time! has anyone else out there read it? i love it!
i really should post more often…
so sorry chaps! and…chappettes!
okay, here’s the condensed version of the e-team trip to Tijuana, Mexico (henceforth abbreviated to TJ):
we left the church parking lot around 8ish tuesday morning (the 20th). we drove and arrived in TJ around dinnertime. great fun was had by all in our van as we passed the hours chatting, drawing on the windows with window markers (thank you holly nelson!!), creating hair wraps, sleeping, eating, singing, etc.
when we arrived at the hotel, the TJ church surprised us by providing dinner for us in one of the meeting rooms in the hotel! we all sat intermixed with brothers and sisters from TJ. it was my first exposure to trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak my language much. it was great fun!
the following 3 days were filled with free car washes (while various church ppl would talk to the drivers about the gospel), trips to a children’s hospital, men’s rehab center, orphanage, and retirement home. because of the language difference (i’ve decided not to call it a “barrier” because the power of the gospel is so much bigger than any barrier, it seems so wrong to say that… it only barred our words, but not God’s work), we used dramas to communicate the message of the gospel at each place. we also worked on some service projects at the TJ church. we paid to have a wall upstairs knocked down and hauled away, and then we painted the children’s classrooms and the front of the building. we also purchased a brand new sign for the front – which looked so great!
the last day we were there, we held a big park day at a local park with clowns (peyasos), balloons (globos), games (fuegas?), music (musika), two of those air jumpy thingies (brincolines), and of course, the dramas and the gospel presetation – all for free to anyone who wanted to come. we had been handing out fliers to many people all during the previous days. oh, and i learned how to make balloon creations for the park day! i can make a giraffe (giraffe), turtle (tortuga), dog (pero), flower (flor) (okay so it’s not an animal), sword (espara), and hats! i think i have a new hobby… it’s frighteningly addicting…
then we came home. we drove home sunday after church. i was so tired. monday morning i was such a zombie at work. i seriously was functioning at like, 43%. it took me all day to get stuff done that usually only takes me 1/2 the day. it was crazy. but it was a good kind of tired. a great kind of tired.
okay – now for the good stuff! highlights and reflections!
i was amazed at how receptive the mexican ppl were to the gospel! i watched ppl sit for 20 minutes AFTER their car was washed just to keep listening to someone tell them about the gospel! it was so different from evangelizing in america. the mexicans were shocked that we would offer anything for free. it was almost ironic b/c the gospel is completely free. i guess it was appropriate rather than ironic that we were using free service to give them something else that is free.
i also stood in awe of God as i observed him answering prayer over and over again in my life. every day there was something different that i was praying for and every day, not only did God answer that prayer, but he poured out his grace on it and answered it with more than i had asked for! every time! i’ll share about the first day as an example. i was very concerned about the whole language difference. i know very little spanish. how was i going to communicate the gospel to ppl if i couldn’t speak the language? i was going to look like a dork. and even if i memorized the phrases they gave us at training, what good is it if i can’t understand what they say back to me? how was i supposed to connect with ppl from the TJ church if i couldn’t communicate with them? so i was pretty nervous about that. wednesday morning i offered my concern to God. and all day (and for the rest of the trip) i had a BLAST learning and speaking spanish! i just spoke the little that i knew and kept asking ppl “como se dice —?” (how do you say –?) when i didn’t know how to say something. i picked up a TON and by the end of the trip, spanish was instinctively coming out of my mouth before english was! seriously! i was so amazed that God not only calmed my fears of the language, but also gave me such joy and excitement in learning it and gave me countless opportunities to practice, and many patient ppl who taught me more! it was so great! not to mention all the other answers to prayer during the trip. that was just a glimpse from my own personal experience.
i made friends with two girls from the TJ church – Ruth, who spoke some english and understood more than she spoke, so we could communicate pretty well; and Eli (Ellie) who spoke like, zip english, so communicating with her was challenging and so much fun at the same time! there were many times when she would start talking to me and i’d giver her this blank stare, blink, and say, “no entiendo… uno momento!” (i don’t understand. one moment!) and i go grab an interpreter. yet with my limited spanish we were still able to connect. we talked about our favorite colors – hers is purple and mine is blue (azul). and she taught me how to say power puff girls in spanish! haha! let’s see if i can remember… chicas supremo poderamos. i think. something like that… at the end of the trip, before i left for home, Eli came over to me and gave me a woven bracelet. as she handed it to me she said, “azul!” (blue!). yes, the bracelet was blue. she had remembered my favorite color.
okay, there were many more stories, but this post is getting really long. so i’ll save a couple more thoughts for next time…