Posts Tagged With: spanish

I’m back, and then I’m gone again

Saturday – June 16, 2012 – 6:37pm – Cafe Calibri on Rufino Tamayo St. – Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

How the heck do I manage to go a whole month without journaling? I always lament that fact each time I journal and silently promise myself that I’ll do it more often. But do I? Well, lemme put it this way. If journaling equaled oxygen I’d be gasping for air. Anyhoo……..

So I’m really diggin’ this little cafe. Reminds me alot of CC’s back home. And if you know me, you know that CC’s is my 2nd home. So I’m glad I discovered this little place. Good place to come and journal, read, or hang out. Maybe when some more students arrive next week we can come hang out here. The drink I ordered is kinda like a Mochasipi @ CC’s, except bigger, and it’s got a scoop of ice cream with sprinkles on top. AND, it’s only $34 pesos. Divide by 14 and that’s one really good coffee drink for really cheap. The best part is that it’s only a few blocks away from the house I’m staying at. But enough about my environs, let’s get to the really good stuff.

You know another thing I (to use Mrs. Genie’s phrase) “do not prefer” about infrequent journaling? It’s trying to figure out how to talk about all that’s happened since your last entry without writing 27,000 pages. Lots has happened since my last entry in Lafayette. For one thing I returned to Mexico. I had been away for almost 2 months. When I left, I had a girlfriend at the time and was convinced I wouldn’t return to Mexico. I’d even been away for so long that I was beginning to wonder if I even wanted to come back. Sure, I no longer had a girlfriend (we decided to go our separate ways), so that wasn’t a factor. But I just wasn’t “feeling” it. Didn’t see myself getting enough money to go to language school. So why would I want to come back to a place where I couldn’t communicate with the people I’m supposed to serve?

I was also able to think of at least 20 other mission posts I’d rather go to. But then something happened. First, some fellow missionaries that had surplus donations gave me money to attend language school. Then, I had a good talk with one of our other missionaries. He helped me to realize that in the long run, not going back to General Cepeda would not help me all that much. It actually would deprive me of the chance of practicing faithfulness to a commitment, which is something I knew I needed to work on. So even though I had my doubts, I decided to come back. I’m glad I did. It was a little weird at first being back. But there’s nothing like a group of 50 visiting short term missionaries to lift your spirits and help you get settled back into your home. 🙂 Having that group was amazing. All the happiness, energy, action, and liveliness was priceless. They were really good sports about everything and jumped head first into everything that we did. Being back also gave me the chance to reconnect with our Mexican missionaries and other friends in town. Surprisingly, for someone who didn’t want to come back, I was really glad to see them. The fact that I was happy to reconnect with them was yet another sign that I was in the right place.

A week after the group left, Odilio and Stacie and the kids prayed me off on my way here to language school. Took an overnight bus from Saltillo to Mexico City and then to Cuernavaca. Ended up arriving early in Mexico City which allowed me to get on a 7am bus instead of my originally scheduled noontime bus. My house parents, Mario and Marusa Quinones picked me up from the station and brought me to the house. Got settled in, took a shower and then we headed to 1pm Mass at San Miguel. It’s a small but beautiful church, with an active and tight-knit community. The priest, Fr. Alvaro, is a good dude. He’s young, and holy, and orthodox, yet friendly and approachable too. Good combo.

The week was a busy week. Besides getting oriented at ENCUENTROS, I had double the amount of classes than I normally would, as I was the only student this week. Jeannie, the director, figured that since I was slightly above the “beginner” level, and because I’d have plenty of time in the following month to do extra-curricular stuff, that I could forego some of the normal activities. Partially out of necessity, because it wouldn’t really work with just one student. That gave me the chance  to do 2 class periods each day, for a total of 4 hours of class. It was intense. Lots of info crammed into my head. A few times in class it was exhausting. But I learned alot. And it also advanced me enough that I’ll be able to have another student with me next week. (If no other student is at your level, they give you your own teacher. Good for your learning. Bad for your sanity. 🙂 ) Some of the highlights at school this week included playing with Max the Rottweiler (house pet), movie night, and getting to tour the Cathedral and downtown area.

God has also given me a few ministry type of opportunities. Those have been a huge blessing. It’s hard in a city this big (900,000) to feel the same missionary “atmosphere”. Sure, people who aren’t poor need Jesus too. But General Cepeda and our Casa de Misiones are so special that it’s hard to readjust. As I said though, God has provided. A couple of street ministry opportunities with the homeless. Conversations with some of Mario and Marusa’s house guests. Speaking briefly in front of the congregation at San Miguel’s at the end of a weekday Mass. Assisting Fr. Alvaro at a funeral Mass. Next week I’ll have the opportunity to speak at a prayer meeting at San Miguel. Please pray for that. For the people to  be able to understand my simple Spanish and for them to be blessed by whatever the Lord says through me. In the few conversations I’ve had with Father Alvaro, it also sounds like he wants to make use of me while I’m here. Please pray for that to be fruitful as well.

On a random sidenote, the barista that took my order and brought me my drink is gorgeous. Not an unapproachable type of gorgeous, but more of a cute type of gorgeous. She actually looks like the actress Eva Mendez, which is a GOOD thing. 🙂 I won’t get my hopes up though. I can barely speak and understand enough to order a coffee drink. Don’t think my fluency is to the point where I can sweep her off her feet. So for now, it appears that there won’t be any little half-Mexican Sidneys in my future! Well, my butt hurts from sitting for so long, and my drink is melted, so I better go. Until next time…………

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my classroom at language school

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Max

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da Cathedral

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When one door closes, another opens

Saturday May 5th, 2012 – 1:45pm – In the guys’ trailer @ Big Woods Mission Base – Esther, LA

“The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” –Psalm 12:6–

It’s funny how our human concept of love often leaves out pain. Pain? Really? Love is supposed to be, well, happy! But in reality, love is a decision, not always easy, and sometimes painful. But Love is still Love. It will always be worth the sacrifices we have to make. In fact, if Love was so easy to arrive at, if it didn’t require any real sacrifice, if we didn’t have to put our hearts on the line without any guarantee of success, would it really be Love? I don’t think so.

Right before I started writing this journal entry, I was re-reading over my last one. At the end, I was talking about my trip up to Michigan to see my then-girlfriend Nina. Talked alot about being honest and open. That was something I could have done better at. Not that I was dishonest. It’s just that I wasn’t open enough about how I really felt and what was really important to me. I was actually having concerns before I even left Mexico for the St. Lucia trip, but aside from not being open about it, I figured that maybe our visit would clear things up. I needed to give it a chance. And I truly believe that. I knew that in spite of my concerns, that I needed to go through with the visit to Michigan. It’s because visiting in person and getting to know someone up close and personal is way different than doing things long distance. Whether it was a make it or break it visit, there was value to be had in us being together. Needless to say, we figured out that a relationship wasn’t in the cards. Now I could take this time to go over all the potential reasons why things didn’t work out. But I won’t because that’s between me, Nina, and God. I could also look back and lament the things that went wrong, or I could wonder what the purpose of the relationship was if it ended up not working out. What I’m gonna do is hold onto the fact that in spite of the relationship ending, God let this happen for a reason. It taught me more about myself, and helped me to grow closer to God. I pray that Nina derived the same benefit as well. When I look at how plans have changed as a result of this, I can again rejoice. I now have the chance to be with my missionary community at our home base here in Louisiana. I can visit with friends and family before I head back to Mexico.

Speaking of Mexico, I’m still not sure what will happen there either. The theme of my missionary life so far has been A.) Expect the unexpected, and B.) Plans will change. After talking to Joe a couple weeks ago, we came to the conclusion that because there were no major obstacles to me returning to Mexico, that I should do that. Once I arrive in Mexico, the idea is that I’ll stay until Intake 2012 arrives in November to wrap up their training. We recognized that one of my needs is to stay and commit to this mission post for the rest of the year and really put myself into it. Really give myself to these people. I agree with that. There’s nothing illogical about that conclusion. But for some reason, I’m not totally at peace with it. Maybe it’s just the normal hesitancy one experiences when facing the unknown or something new. There are other reasons though. Part of me wonders if that not being at peace is because the mission post is not a good fit for me. Another part of me wonders if I maybe just need to live in community at Big Woods for a few months and help out with Intake. Then there’s the opportunity for travel to Asia. I REALLY want to go to Asia, and FMC has a month long trip to the Phillipines planned for June, and a 3 week trip to India in December. If I stay in Mexico until November, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make either of those trips.

Another thing that’s been on my mind is learning to play the guitar and learning to speak Spanish. At this point I’m having to try and teach myself. Spanish has come to a dead stop. I’m not even trying to study in any way. Guitar is almost at a standstill but I am trying to resurrect it. Practiced last night for the first time in weeks. It’s just that I have such a hard time teaching myself. Having a teacher who pushes me makes it alot easier. Don’t see that happening anytime soon though. Both speaking Spanish and playing guitar will come in handy for missions and other ministries as well. Guitar will be easier for me to stick with. I feel like it’s more useful and I have more of a desire. And even if Spanish is as useful as playing the guitar, it’s just hard for me to stick with it. My heart and my passion is with the french language. The fact that I have to neglect the language that is such a part of me and my culture, in order to learn another, is hard. Maybe one day God will bless me with mission trips to french speaking areas.

Here’s to having faith in God and trusting in his guidance during my missionary journey………………….

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – DEAD BATTERY

11-29-09 (last installment)

I also feel like God blessed me with the Joy of the Lord. It’s like I’ve been embedded with this true and unshakeable joy and it’s such a blessing. I felt this joy the whole time I was on the mission trip and felt like I was at peace and at home. When we got back to Big Woods this morning, my car battery was dead, so I felt like that was God calling me to spend the night at Big Woods. I was in no rush to get home, and any chance to extend the trip further and be around FMC more was fine by me. 🙂

I slept till 11 and then I woke up to go find Joe Summers to help me jump my car battery. As I was walking to the main FMC house from the home where I slept, the weather was absolutely beautiful. And as I made my way over, this happy little thought popped into my head “Ahhh. This is the life! I could definitely see myself doing this”. I can’t lie, that thought brought a smile to my face. 🙂

So now as the day draws to a close, I face another week of going back to work. While I’m blessed to have a job, it’s so hard to go back to it when all I wanna do is go on missions. But I know that if God is calling me to missions with FMC (which I think he is), he’ll use this time to start preparing me and my loved ones. Part of that plan is my desire to be around FMC as much as possible and do as much as I can. Praise you Lord Jesus and thank you for blessing me so much this week. I pray that you would continue to help me grow and to nourish these needs of faith that you have planted in me this week. Amen, Alleluia, Glory!

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – PULLED OVER BY THE POLICIA

11-29-09 (continued)

When I look back at all the mission trips I’ve already been on, and how the Lord got me involved with FMC over the past few months, it amazes me. When I think about how much I was blessed on this mission trip, how much I felt at home, and how much joy I feel, it all makes perfect sense. I think it is God trying to open me up to missions. As I said earlier during the week, “God, I give you my Yes, I pray that you help me take care of the rest.” I could go on and on and fill up at least a few more pages in my journal, but I’ll stop here. 🙂

After we finished up our prayer and sharing time, we loaded up and left. Our drive back was another one of my favorite parts of the trip. We saw some amazing desert and mountain scenery and just marvelled at the beauty of God’s creation. We actually got stopped by the Mexican police in the town of Monclova, but luckily all they did was check our documents and allow us on our way. I’ve heard some interesting stories about missionaries having run-ins with Mexican police as well as border patrol on both sides. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit guided us through it without incident.

Of course it was quite a long drive, especially with all the bathroom breaks and other stops. We left at approximately 10am Saturday morning and didn’t get back to Big Woods until 6am this morning. But again, the car ride is half the fun. I really enjoyed the car ride back because of the missionaries I got to ride with; Johnathan Weiss, Bree (intake 09), and Kristin Istre. We talked, we sang, we laughed, we played games, and really enjoyed ourselves. I especially enjoyed having a captive audience of full-time missionaries whose brains I could pick at to learn more about missions.

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – BACK HOME

Sunday 11-30-09 / 5:05pm @ Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Praise God for a fruitful mission trip and safe passage back home. After Desert Day on Friday, we came back to the mission house and basically wrapped up and started packing up. We had a time of prayer and sharing which I enjoyed very much. Just hearing how much God spoke to everyone during our time of prayer out in the desert was such a blessing. The rest of the evening was spent eating supper, packing up, and enjoying the fellowship of the other missionaries. As I wrapped up the night, I went into the chapel and Jesus blessed me so much with his presence. I felt so at peace and comfortable in that stillness of prayer in the presence of the Eucharist.

A nice little side-bonus was hearing all the girls giggling and laughing in their room. At the time, I wasn’t really sure why exactly they were so loud and happy. But it brought me joy to hear them being so happy. Saturday was wake up, pack the vehicles, eat breakfast, and prayer/sharing before we left. The time of prayer/sharing was very fruitful. It seemed like b/c we had a small group, we were able to bond more and have a more prayerful atmosphere during the mission. Everybody got to praise God through singing as well as prayers of petition and thanksgiving. In our sharing time, we had to say 1) What blessed us most during the mission, 2)What we were going to leave behind, and 3) What we were going to take with us. Without a doubt, it is the people we ministered to that blessed me the most. I can now see why Mother Theresa was in love with the poor; it’s b/c they are near and dear to God’s heart. (to be continued)

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MISSIONARY JOURNAL – NOV 09 MEXICO TRIP – COWS WHILE I PRAY

Friday 11-27-09 / Desert Day part 2

So as I was sitting here praying, reading Scripture, and journalling, I started to hear a strange noise. (Mind you that i’m sitting in a small ravine where a small stream is running through it. Altogether, it’s maybe 20 or 30 fee wide at most.) As I look up, i see cows walking towards me! Of course I wonder what the Lord is doing….. After they keep coming and coming, I start to worry a little bit. The thought of being stampeded or gored by a 2000 lb. angry hunk of meat is not my idea of a fruitful Desert Day. My other thought is that I don’t wanna create movement or distraction by relocating myself and possiblely spook these beasts.

So I stay put, right where I am on the very edge of the banks of this stream. Amazingly, these huge animals were wary of ME! Every single one of them eye-balled me as they passed by. They gave me as wide of a passing distance as they went by. They gave me as wide of a distance as they possibly could. Even then, I had some of them passing a mere 10 feet or so from me. What are the chances that at the exact same time I’m here, a herd of cattle would be passing by?

At the end of the herd was the cattle driver, who I’m sure was confused as to why a strange little gringo is sitting in the exact ravine where he is driving his cattle. I mustered up my best Spanish to explain what was going on and he even let me take a picture of him. After he and his cattle moved on, I marvelled in this simple encounter. I wondered if God was trying to teach me anything or any grand lesson. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize it was just a little something to bring a smile to my face, and to give me the first of hopefully many great stories from the mission field. God Bless!

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