Sorry it took so long but here are some words and pictures from our training in
Praise God for the Martin’s. There is no way we could have come into Mexico without them. It was amazing that they took so much of their time to help us out. I can say for sure that we would have missed something when we applied for our visas and vehicle permit. Not to mention we would have lost our way going to General Cepeda.
What an amazing experience at the ranchero’s. The people were so welcoming. They were so patient with us even though we couldn’t speak spanish. The Quinn’s took us to their two ranchero’s. It was amazing to see the people come running when Andrea and Dave rang the bell. It seems that they look forward to Wednesday! I found it amazing that even though they have nothing they still share everything they have. When we were leaving the first ranchero they gave Dave a bag of corn. At the second ranchero we walked with Dave to by a coke. When we arrived at the house that sells snack items, the family was eating cantaloupe. They offered the three of us some. Actually they offered us the most of what looked like their meal. It seemed like that was what they were eating for dinner. I did notice that one of the daughters went out to buy a watermelon after we ate the cantaloupe. How amazing to see that they will share all that they have for someone else. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone had this mentality? They live the gospel. They treat everything as not their own. They live like we are called to “To be stewards of what has been given to us.” It is no wonder that their love for God is so strong. They have nothing holding them back to love Him with everything. It is hard to explain what an impact seeing this truly in action has touched me. It is a struggle of mine. There are many times that I put the things before God. There are also many times that I forget that I am a steward of the blessings God has given me. These blessings are mine to share with the world with which in turn I give glory to God.- Katie
Today we also met Padre Palo. What an amazing priest. He has been a priest for nine years. He told us through the Martin’s that he has been a a rural priest all nine years. He is a priest for all of General Cepeda and the outlying rancheros. There are only two priests that cover the area. Being that he is here he does not receive vacation. The really extended time away is when he is leading pilgrimages. Padre Palo has a true missionary heart. He asked his Bishop if he could go to Brazil to be a missionary. The Bishop told him that if he wanted to be a missionary then he should go to General Cepeda. That is how he came here. Padre Palo is a priest that not only focuses on the spiritual life of his flock, but also that of their bodily needs. He spends some of his time searching for grants to send graduates to college, and to put roofs over the heads of families. He also supplied the chicken that was eaten at the Fiesta’s in the rancheros after the sacraments were given to the people. God has truly blessed this area with such a holy priest. May God continue to strengthen him and sustain him in his ministry.
Today I went with Bridget and Andrea on a home visit. It was overwhelming just because I had no idea what was being said. All I tried to do was to smile. I was able to interact with two of their four children. Their daughters came over by me and sat next to me. They played with my hair and looked at my rosary bracelet. They were trying to talk to me in spanish but I couldn’t translate and I didn’t want to interrupt Bridget and Andrea. The children were wearing the rosaries that they brought them. So I took the crucifix in my hand and said Jesu then I pointed to my rosary bracelet and picked up the little crucifix and repeated Jesu. The girls repeated this. I then picked up the medal of our Lady and said Maria. The girls then proceeded to take their crucifixes in their hands and my little one as well and they repeated Jesu. The girls noticed my large crucifix. They picked it up in their hands. I was able to show them the Trinity and I was able to address the three persons of God in Spanish. I was able to show them my scapular. The girls recognized Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Infant of Prague. I think they were asking me about the Child Jesus but I was not sure how to describe it to them since I only new the word Jesu. That was the only thing I was able to say about the Child Jesus. It was amazing how when we first got there all I could think about was how they were living but as I started talking to the girls I forgot about all of that and only focused on them. I’m not sure how long we were there but during the interaction with the girls it seemed as time went by fast. I was able to see first hand how Christ bridges language barriers. Just by a simple smile and only a few words. Thank you Lord Jesus for this day. Thank you for bringing me here now!- Katie
Today is our first test in missions. We were just asked to help raise $6000 for a new chapel. This chapel will be built in the poorest part of town. The families that live in that area do not take the long trip across town by foot to go to mass. Padre Palo wants to build a chapel especially for them so he can minister to their needs. We are now trying to raise the money before the end of our time here. -Katie
Today we were able to experience mass in Spanish. I think the kids had a hard time following along just because they didn’t understand what was going on. They did pretty well for not understanding the words and for it being so hot. They participated as best as they could.
Praise God for the rain! It rained a lot today in the rancheros. The drive to visit with them was no longer dusty. It was really muddy. Needless to say Taylor was super excited to drive through the mud with the jeep. At points there was rushing water crossing the road. The vegetation was lush and green. All of the animals were eating on pasture. It was amazing to see how green everything got so quickly. At one point we drove past what was once a a dry creek bed but since the run it was rushing with water. The people of the rancheros were excited to see the water in the creek bed. Dave Quinn mentioned that in all of their time in Mexico they have never seen the creek bed full of water. Earlier in the day Erik Martin had mentioned that at one time General Cepeda was known as the Emerald City. It was hard to believe, but driving to the ranchero after the rain we could see it.
We spent some time viewing the petroglyphs and eating dinner by the rushing water. It was interesting seeing the symbols etched in the rock. We were told that the petroglyphs were contracts between the south and north tribes of mayans. I wonder what they all meant. We spent some time guessing what they meant. Some were impossible to decipher but we were able to guess at a few of them. Ruth thought one looked like an ear of corn. Maybe they were trading corn. We tried some fruit from a cactus. Once the spines were peeled off it looked a little bit like kiwi. It was delicious. Who would have thought we would be eating fruit from a cactus?-Katie
Today we headed into Saltillo. The Martin’s and the Quinn’s took us there since that is where they take all of the groups. It was definitely interesting when we got into Saltillo. I am so happy that we road with the Martin’s. The roads were poorly marked and it was hard to tell what was a one way street and what was a two way street. At one time we were stopped by the police. We weren’t sure what they were doing. It looked like they were confiscating vehicles. Getting stopped by the police was pretty scary. Erik shared that there are corrupt police and he has run into them. Praise God that we were able to keep going without any trouble. We made it to the Miracle Chapel. What a beautiful chapel. It is so hard to describe with words how beautiful it was. Pictures just will not do it justice. We took time to pray here. Next we headed to the market place. Taylor and the kids were able to find something they could use. Taylor found a travel chess set and the kids found some wallets. Something practical for missions, check. After the market place we headed for lunch. The food was delicious and we were able to feed our family for $13. That never happens back home. We were able to participate in mission training for the Mexican missionaries last night. What a treat. We did try some cactus soup and we were able to meet an English speaking priest. Dave translated what Erik was saying. I think it is wonderful that they spend time in formation with these Mexican missionaries. -Katie
Our last day here. It is definitely bittersweet. I would prefer to stay in missions instead of heading home. I guess it is sort of selfish. I don’t want to have to go home to deal with the things we have yet to do. Unfortunately that is exactly what needs to happen. We will have seven weeks to sell our house and get everything in order. I pray that the Lord will help us because there is no physical way we will be able to do this by ourselves. Seven weeks until we are completely the Lord’s. What a wonderful thought. But why must we wait seven weeks to give our life completely to the Lord? Shouldn’t we be living our everyday life as the Lord’s? I think this is where I struggle the most. Giving my every moment to the Lord. There are many days where I seldom udder a prayer or ponder God’s great glory. Why is this? Is it because I think I can do it by myself? Do I feel that I am better than God? Yes I do most days. I know that I struggle with giving glory to God. I struggle with giving Him my everything. Why am I so full of myself? Why cant I give it all to God? Why do I rely on earthly things instead of the Almighty Father? -Katie