I thought I should put in a picture that doesn't involve weird food or weirder animals! We actually do interact with people in our ministry here! :^)
This is a picture of our women's Bible study group that meets every Thursday. Right now we're studying the life of Abraham.
What a great group of sisters! Hmm...let's see, I think I can name everyone around the circle: (this is an accomplishment for me -- I'm really bad with names!) First of all, there's me. Red shirt, red hair. To my left is Hermana Maria (hermana means sister. In our part of Mexico, Christians refer to each other as "hermano" or "hermana" so-and-so.) [Cultural digression: We've noticed that frequently people are called by their title here, rather than their name. For example, little boys are called "nino"(no en-yeh on this website, sorry!), my cousin's name would be Prima, not Amanda. My Uncle Jack would be Tio and depending on who was talking to me, my name might be Tia, Prima, Hermana, Mama, Sobrina, Nina, etc. but not Abuela! That's your Mexican culture lesson for the day. Guess it's a reflection of the importance of family relations to the Mexican people. I'm sure there's a Biblical application there somewhere, but I'm too tired to dig it out. Maybe tomorrow.] Anyway, Hermana Maria runs a small abarrotes (shop) in Boca. Next is Hermana Tita, a great woman and a real "kindred spirit". Next to her is Annette who is an American student from the school of ministry in Boca. She graduated in October with Doug. Then there's Lina and Jessica, Cris (the associate pastor's wife), under the blankie is Jassiel (don't know if I spelled that right, but he's adorable!!!!), then Norma, Cheli (you can only see her legs), Karely...oops. I almost made it all the way. One sister I can't remember; she's Ramona's daughter. Then there's Carla (in the corner where you can't see -- she's a single mom living with her mom and dad.) Next is Ramona and finally Armida, who is Andrew and Evie's Sunday school teacher. Well, I did better than 90%!
We had a great study. Like I said, we've been studying the book of Genesis We took a week off though, because Cris asked me to share a little about training children. As you can imagine, there's more info there than I could cover in an hour. I really had to pray about it to be able to share competantly (in Spanish, no less) what God had for these ladies. You can see from the picture that we have several generations represented in our class. Four, to be exact. I really felt at a loss as to what to teach. Sure, I have experience in the child-rearing department, but I wouldn't consider myself an expert. Just a fellow traveler, I guess. But Cris really wanted me to share with the ladies, and I felt strong confirmation from God, so I was pretty much outnumbered! ;^)
After hours of prayer and Bible study and re-reading some of the parenting books that Doug and I valued highly when the kids were little, I felt relatively prepared. Here's the "nut-shell" version: A lot of the time, we just want our kids to behave well, play nice, be respectful, but the Bible teaches that if we teach our children right behaviour, but never train them to have right attitudes, we've missed the mark. They will be what Jesus called the scribes and Pharasees: hypocrites. "You wash the outside of the bowl, but inside is filthy." Basically: God wants our children's hearts. I was convicted!!! Apparently, it went well and was understandable, because the ladies all participated and several said they were blessed. Well, I was certainly blessed by it myself!!!
Doug and I hope to start a couples' study after the first of the year using the book "Shepherding a Child's Heart". One of our friends in the States has offered to buy the books for us in Spanish, so we won't have to translate them ourselves -- wa-HOO!!! What a blessing! Just have to figure out how to get them down here now! Where there's a will...
Do pray for the up-and-coming generation in Mexico. You may say that youth are bad in the States, but you've never seen anything like this. Believe me. At Sarah's quince anos, I literally held the muchachos (teenaged boys) away from the cake with a wooden broomstick while the other ladies served the cake to the adults first. It was almost funny at first, but honestly I couldn't keep them back more than the few minutes it took to load the platters for the servers. They behaved like spoiled 4 year olds -- that weighed 200 pounds! Ridiculous. Anyway, Cris and I have been praying about capturing the heart of the children of Boca. It may be too late for most of the teens and the young adults, but there is still hope for the boys and girls of 10 years or less. Pray that God would give us (the church and our family, too) wisdom in dealing with the youth here.
Well, I'm tired. We just got home from the church's posada. More obnoxious teenaged boys. They stayed on the outside for the most part, but showed up at the end of the evening saying, "I want cake!" Yeah, deep down I love 'em, but that doesn't mean I don't want to find that broomstick and bean 'em with it! :^) Bless their hearts.