Thursday, September 27, 2012

change but no change, yet

During all the years we lived in this valley, our neighbors grew potatoes, plowing with mules, planting, irrigating, harvesting with hand and shovel.
Today huge green houses dominate the landscape; now the farmers grow tomatoes year round, safe in the green houses even when freezes threaten the mountains, so different-the change, so amazing.
We moved to Aquixtla when Josiah was 8 months old and traversing  the dirt floor of our barn on hands and knees. . .now he's 28.
We came bringing the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ to people who walked in darkness-then and still.
And on this visit, after 20 years, though the neighbors welcomed us, the darkness was very real and very sad.

So, I think: our King is on his throne-and the book isn't closed, yet.

Monday, September 24, 2012

a familiar road

So- that day in Aquixtla we visited with don Beto in the middle of corn and bean fields; he told the children about planting, irrigating, harvesting, storing up-  and Selma declared that she would stay and work with the ladies shelling beans, stay there forever.
Then Beto invited us to his home; we walked about half a mile down a familiar road-our children use to walk the same path from home to the kinder school and home again .
The road  reminded me of a time when I worried about my children's safety- prudent watchfulness grew into irrational, sinful fear; irrigation ponds bordered the road, and there were animals, maybe strangers and more-my persistent anxiety wasn't limited to that road . . . .
That's a sad memory for me-but God redeems such memories. I'm grateful.
So, circumstances have changed- my children grew up; they've lived and served all over the world.
but mainly, I have changed. . .
day after day I remind myself that my King is on the throne and his sovereignty rules over all; his lovingkindness is certain and everlasting.  He poured out his blood on the cross for me-I can trust him with the unknown.
And today I remind myself. . .
Cast all your anxiety on him because e cares for you (1 Pet 5:7)

Monday, September 17, 2012

eating but not working

25 years ago we moved up the canyon from Cuautempan to Aquixtla; John found a barn in the middle of farm land and made a deal with the landlord.  We would pay to have the barn renovated in exchange for rent to live in it.  Deal
Then my husband hired a mason  to do the work; every morning for months he came - we carried on with life and 6 children.
And mid morning each day, our mason's dear wife brought him brunch- almuerzo.
She unpacked the little pots on the grassy slope beside the barn--beans, corn tortillas, freshly dug potatoes in tomato broth, squash-and that's when I first tasted squash blossoms, sauteed with garlic and onion, folded into a tortilla. How can flowers and corn taste so amazing?
Every day they invited us to sit and eat . . .

So-last month we visited Aquixtla; we searched for don Beto, our neighbor and old friend, and we found him in a random field, harvesting beans with his workers- he invited us to share his almuerzo.
And that night Naomi commented on her favorite part of the day. . ."sharing almuerzo with don Beto and his workers--and we didn't even work!"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

just thinking. . .

 This week I gave a devotional for the first day of women's Bible study.  I was told that I could talk about whatever my little heart desired. . . .
Come and hear all who fear God and I will tell of what He has done for my soul. (Ps 66:16)
So-I talked about Mexico. . . .
But first I reviewed the narrative in Joshua 3 and 4- you know, when God parted the Jordan River and the nation of Israel crossed the river bed on dry land--(no mud),  how 12 men crossed back into the dry river, carrying stones on their shoulders, and then how Joshua set up the stones at Gilgal as a memorial for their children. . . .
"so that the people of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty and so that you may fear the Lord." (Josh 4:24)
Then I told them that we all have memorial stones to God's work in our lives- He tells us to set them up, to remember who He is (mighty) and what he requires of us (awe).

I told the women,"thinking  Mexico. . .I have 3 memorial stones to set up-and I gave them names!" 
First I gave my memorial stones some context. . . I shared some background about John and me in Mexico, about Naomi and Joshua and their children in Mexico City. I drew a little map for them in the air: Chignajuapan, (over the mountain) Aquixtla, (down the canyon) Tetela, (down, down) Cuautempan.  I told them that we hadn't visited people and places in 20 years and I wondered - What should I expect?
And as I shared all of this and more, I realized something about John and me. . .we had different expectations for our visit to the mountain villages-
My husband went there expecting to ferret out every single person he had ever met, ever eaten a taco with, ever shared the gospel with. . . . and me?  well, I went there anticipating but cautious, and perhaps a little apprehensive about what I would find there.
So, I'll just say-God is mighty and I stand in awe of Him. And I'm very glad that sometimes when I am cautious, my husband is not. . . .

Monday, September 10, 2012

guayabas in the window

I love guayabas. . .
 I know, I know, the seeds are bothersome-I just ignore the seeds and savor the exquisite aroma and taste;
in English we call them guavas-but I like to say guayabas.
So, I bought a bag of guayabas in the Cuautempan market and lined them up in the window to ripen.
My grandchildren love guayabas too-
after a few days they each ate one, leaving the 2 biggest and tastiest for me. . .

Friday, September 7, 2012

how the church loves

In Cuautempan, we met three young women from the church, Irma, Ema, and Loida.  They live with their mother next door to Felicites. Standing outside Felicites' kitchen and peeking through the wall of  corn, you see the roof of their little house.

32 years ago when I moved to Cuautempan with 3 little ones and another on the way, their mother, Loida,. was a teenager and she helped me in my home.
Then Loida married and moved away; years passed, and she came back. I had never met her daughters. . .until last month.
Irma works in the pre-school in town, Ema works in the mayor's office and Loida studies dress making.
They teach Sunday school in the church and over lunch at Felicites' house, they told us all about last month's vacation Bible school in Cuautempan.
They are lovely women who love Jesus, making their way in a village culture that is changing. . .

What I noticed and what I love so much, is how these women care for Felicites in her old age.  They are there when she is sick, grind her corn, make her tortillas- cheerfully, devotedly.
They obviously love her (but then who wouldn't?)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

meal fit for a king

A girl is never too old to learn a new skill-after all, I was a grandmother before I learned to knit. . .
however, I think a girl should be about 4 when she learns the art of making tortillas by hand, just like Selma.
30 years ago my little girls played with  masa, patted out tiny corn  tortillas, cooked and ate. . .under Felicites' expert tutelage.
Sunday after the church meeting Felicites  invited us to her home for a meal.  I'm certain she spent all Saturday preparing it.
And that afternoon we sat down to large plates of  moli and chicken, beans, rice, fresh tortillas-a meal fit for a king.
"mmmm, the moli I remember!" exclaimed Naomi. "Felicites," she continued, "I think that one day you will be asked to make the moli for the great marriage supper of the Lamb!"