Sunday, July 10, 2016

Episode V: ZOOhuatanejo

The trend of getting more sleep continued today as Guillermo informed us that Saturday is traditionally a half work day. So, breakfast ended at 9:30 this morning, and we left for the worksite around 10:00 Mexico time (so 10:15). The work for today was essentially cleaning up the church in preparation for Sunday service tomorrow. While the people that hadn’t gotten the tour of the city yet finally had their chance, the other six of us dusted chairs, benches, the platform, and everything we could get our hands on, and then we did it again.

Something that we’ve been doing on this trip, that we’ve done before, is have a prayer chair. The team rotates having one person in a prayer chair for 15 minute intervals, where we can pray (obviously), write down prayer requests, read scripture, or just be quiet with the Lord. Occasionally, unnamed team member’s may fall asleep in the prayer chair, but that is not it’s intended use. What we do doesn’t mean much unless we have God at the heart of it all, so the prayer chair has been a blessing for us to keep that in mind and help us understand what’s on everybody’s minds.
There were several hours of chiseling, sweeping, dusting, sweeping some more, and having fun conversations with the local church members in broken Spanish.  We have learned that there is no Spanish equivalent to Ginger, and that several members have been given nicknames (Steve-El Torro, Jay-Pepe).  After the tour group got back, we had a wonderful taquito lunch. There were more church members at today’s work day and lunch than we had seen before, and it was a lot of fun getting to know them. One of the members was the church photographer, who wanted to take an individual picture of each team member and one group photo. If we get past the sweat and concrete covered bodies and tired eyes, we look pretty good.
Today being a half day, and because there wasn’t much work to do, we left to go back to the hotel right after lunch. Pool, napping, gym, tan, laundry, you know the drill.  Then we were picked up by Guillermo around 5 for the next puppet ministry.  This was the first time that a puppet ministry was held in this little village, up the mountain from Ixtapa.  We arrived early enough to put together another rag-tag gang of balloon creatures.  Our repertoire now consists of dogs, monkeys, bears, swords, flowers, and Mexican flying rats (a balloon mouse with a tail you can snap so it flies in the air).  Those who come to the church presentation when we get back just might get their choice of a balloon animal. 
Bonus: What animal is this
During our time here we got a very good glimpse of the poverty here on the outskirts of the main city.  This village only has about 3000 people, the kids ran up and down the mountain to their homes, and there were many stray animals wandering about. At one point during the show, a pickup truck drove by with a full grown cow tied in the back.  Though there is much poverty, the people are so joyful and we loved getting the time to talk to them.  At the end of the puppet show, many of the adults indicated that they were interested in have a church member come and talk more with them about the gospel.  Guillermo is looking to place a Bible study in that community to introduce people to who God is.  Please be praying for those who are seeking to know more and that the church members will reach out and witness to them.

We ended the day with dinner in a restaurant in Ixtapa.  The food here has been amazing, and there’s a lot of seafood because Zihuatanejo is a fishing village. Nathan Bowyer, a seafood fanatic, has been particularly pleased, and has had such things as filleted fish, octopus, and shrimp. Tonight’s restaurant was owned by a neighbor of Guillermo, and the food was incredible. Three of our members’ meals came in a stone bowl, and was a bubbling volcano of queso, sauce, their choice of meat, and, wait for it, cactus. There was also a special dinner guest tonight, in the form of the first cat we had seen in Mexico. One of our members, who shall remain named, Nathan G., had to be reminded that here, dogs and cats are not considered friends, and he couldn’t pet the kitty.
After our delectable meal, we walked down the street to get some after dinner gelato, much thanks to the ice cream fairy! The hours of the day dwindling away, we headed back home, and made the decision that skipping our group meeting and devotional time would be best for the group and Nate, who is preaching in the morning. That also made for one happy blogging team (#blogsquad), who will get to bed at a decent hour tonight, knock on wood. We’ve had a great time in Mexico so far, and as we prepare for the tail end of our trip, we’re hoping to have more good times and find new ways to be a blessing to the community here.
Cards and Blogging

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