You know how some things you experience in life you want your best friends to be there with you so that you can talk about it for forever? Well that’s how I feel about my first week in Mexico. It was absolutely amazing and even though my closest friends and family are not here with me to experience this alongside me, I’ve made some friends here rather quickly.
Let me just start off by saying that God knew what He was doing when He placed Rachel and I on a team together. We have figured out that we’re basically the same person. We finish each others sentences and like a lot of the same things. When we’re upset or angry (we only know this just by talking about what we do when it happens), we both shut down and don’t want to talk to anyone. We are so similar that we’ve decided that we could easily say we’re sisters and no one would ever know the difference. We get along great and I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate.
The first full day of being in Mexico Liesa, one of our host missionaries, took us out to breakfast to meet one of the girls we’ll be working with on a regular basis. Her name is Ashley and she is a Journeyman with the IMB. She’s from North Carolina and she’s been pretty fantastic. We went to a restaurant that we all deemed “preppy and southern” and they had really good omelettes (which is pictured below). After breakfast, we got to experience grocery shopping in Mexico. We went to a chain store and it was a little difficult for me because everything was in Spanish, so I had to guess at a lot of stuff, but I learned pretty quickly what was what. Later that evening, we met back up with Ashley to have “English Corner” which is where the three of us girls meet with a group of Mexican students (all ages, but mainly college age) and we speak in English for an hour and a half. We usually have an ice breaker game and then an actual game where more verbs and adjectives are used. We will be doing this every Monday night while we’re here. It went really well, but Ashley has been doing this ministry for the time she’s been here so it is pretty established.
Tuesday, we were taken to breakfast and coffee with Jeff and Liesa (our host missionaries) and we went over expectations and goals for the semester. That evening for dinner, every Tuesday, is Taco Tuesday so we went to a local taco place and ate tacos (they were some of the best I’ve ever tasted). After dinner, Rachel and I decided that we needed to get our 10,000 steps in (we’re both competitive on our Fitbits). We took Jackson (Jeff and Liesa’s son) with us and he showed us some dirt backroads behind our neighborhood.
Wednesday and Thursday were days full of shopping for school supplies with Liesa for a ministry she has at a place called Casa Hogar, which is a children’s home where there’s a lot of disabled children who are unwanted by their parents who live in villages, a few children who are actually orphans and have nowhere else to go, or during the school year their families can’t afford to take care of them. We were able to experience first hand what crazy school supply shopping in a Mexican school supply store was like (let’s just say it was hectic, cramped and insane). We bought them pretty much everything a child needs for school including uniforms and backpacks. Earlier on Wednesday, we got to go to coffee with one of the friends Rachel has kept up with over the years and his little brother. We went to the Zocalo (which is like a town square) and since the teachers are down there and it’s set up like a market, I was able to buy myself a change purse (coin Pesos are pretty popular and needed) and enjoy the scenery. Every Wednesday evening we will be helping with the translation class where we have the students translate from English to Spanish and then from Spanish to English. Thursday afternoon, we experienced our first Mexican Zumba class. All I’m going to say is that Mexican Zumba kicked my butt and I need to up my game, but when I get back to the States, I’ll be the one going way too fast.
Friday-Sunday was all kinda a blur because it all seemed to have blended together. We had our first team meeting where I got to meet the rest of the team here in Oaxaca. The majority of the team are all older couples who have grown kids around my age or older and have been serving the Lord as missionaries for a really long time. After the meeting, we went out to lunch to celebrate the birthday of Phoebe, one of our teammates. Friday evening I had the pleasure of being able to FaceTime four of my favorite guys back in Kentucky (Benaiah, Joseph, Preston and Coty) and hear about how their first week of school went and I was able to share with them about my first week here in Mexico. Saturday morning I finally got to talk to my sister by FaceTiming (technology really is the greatest y’all) and getting caught up on life. The rest of Saturday was spent with our friend Sebastian and his family. His mom made us hamburgers and we then hiked up a mountain behind his house with him and his little brothers. We were about 10 more minutes away from Monte Alban, but it was even more of a hike and we decided we could just go back some other time. 🙂 Sunday I experienced my first Mexican worship service. I love being able to worship with brothers and sisters in a different country and hearing them worship the same God I serve in their heart language. I’m definitely looking forward to more opportunities to worship in Spanish and hopefully start to fully understand what they’re saying in their language.
Some ways that you can be praying for myself and my team these next couple weeks are
- Ashley has been sick with a “throat infection”. The doctors haven’t said much more, but she is on four different medicines and hasn’t been feeling any better. Just be praying that she will get better quickly and be able to get back to her normal routine.
- The Holeman’s (Jeff and Liesa) leave this coming Saturday for a week to go out of town, so just be praying for safe travels and that everything on our end here in Oaxaca will go smoothly.
- Be praying for the teachers and students at Casa Hogar. The teacher and student count is down significantly and has had a huge impact on Liesa. She’s very close with a lot of the people there and there are a lot of people she was close to won’t be there this year. Also be praying that funding for the children’s home would be taken care of as that is a reason why some people aren’t coming back this year. If there is not good funding, then the children who are usually there are most likely back in their villages where the situation is a whole lot worse (abuse, neglect, etc.).
- As the weeks continue, be praying that I will become more confident in my Spanish. I’ve downloaded an app called DuoLingo to help me review a lot of the things that I learned in a Spanish class years ago, but it’s good to keep my memory up.
- Continue to be praying for opportunities to meet with ladies to teach English to. With that, be praying that more females will start coming to English Corner and Translation Class. Those two weekly interactions are mainly all males and we’ve been encouraged to not have one on one meetings with them (which for me personally is hard as I tend to gravitate to building relationships with guys more than girls).
- Be praying for my health specifically. I experienced some stomach issues this last week being here just getting used to the new food and everything. Be praying I don’t become even more sick.
I’m excited for the weeks to come and how the Lord is going to use us. From now on, my posts will mainly be about highlights of the week and prayer requests/praises. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures I’ve taken from this last week. 🙂
~Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord~