Thursday, 15 February 2018

As you have done unto the least of these...

Now you may look at this sign and think Sid is tooting his own horn.  But, if you know Sid, you know that that is not the case.

Every year, at the school at the dump, the graduating class picks a person to honor for their graduating class - obviously Sid got honoured that year for all his efforts.

It is truly amazing how this site has grown over the years.  From a small one building idea to a school yard with several (4) classrooms.

I have always been impressed by Sid Reimer and what he has done in Ixtapa.  But this time around I was impressed by different things.  I also saw more things at the dump then ever before.  So let me share what those observations were:

 
   1)  This video shows something that you can't explain easily.  Sid knows a half dozen words in Spanish yet he has accomplished amazing things.  While that is impressive...this video shows something else.  Those kids, up there, love Sid.  He has a relationship with them.  Love is shared without words, it is shared with actions.  It is felt.

Home #1
2)  Here are two homes close to the school.  You can see a difference.  Home #1 is not overly neat, or clean.  Home #2 has plants, even a fruit tree.  She is trying to make is nice.
Home #2
It sort of speaks to attitude.  You can always choose you attitude.  "I may be living in the dump but I have pride and will try to plant beauty around   me."

3)  Now a surprising thing I saw this time was that salesmen come up there! Amongst all the trash, people put up little stores to sell chips, drinks, etc.

4)  Again, Sid has half a dozen words in Spanish but he has relationships with everybody.  They know him and he knows them.  He greets everybody and stops to chat.  There is a sense of community right there amongst all the trash.

5)  This is what I observed this time around that I have never seen...the hopelessness.  The further down into the 'bowels' of the dump you go, the poorer and poorer it gets.  
 To see people, men, women, children & young people picking through the trash to earn a living in the hot sun is unbelievable.  I could see how they lack hope.  I can see why they think there is no point in sending their kids to school.  {Don't need school to pick trash}  

But at the same time, they are friendly and kind.  They wave as we drive by, they shout out a greeting and they smile.  You see children, barely clothed, running around and playing.  You see happiness, if one can dare to say that.  

picking through the trash amongst the buzzards
If your perspective on life is not changed after a drive through this area, you have a heart of stone.  We, in our western world, rarely see this sort of thing.  We can chose to write a check to donate and never lend a hand, a physical hand.  It is easier to write a check.

One can also have a hundred reasons why they aren't doing anything: too old, no time, no money, too busy, etc. etc.  But really those are only excuses.  Sid takes his holidays and gets active.  He is not the only one, there are many tourist who come alongside and help.  We can all help, little by little. 

When we visit Sid and Gladys we stay in the same hotel they do and we laugh and refer to it as a 1 Star Hotel.  After a morning at the dump, suddenly this same hotel has 5 or more stars!  Perspective. 

Pray for the people who live not only in Ixtapa at the dump but for the poor worldwide.  We often forget how much we have, how truly blessed we are.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

IXTAPA

Last week Thursday, the Reimer's and us, hopped on a bus and headed to Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico.

For those of you who have not visited there...you might want to give it a visit.

We went to get some R & R and to visit our very good friends Sid and Gladys Reimer.

We most certainly enjoyed the pool, some great times of eating out, and visiting.

And, as only my husband can do...or so I think...much silliness.  {Spos mott senne}

John and Ernie can be a little crazy.  Probably helps to unwind!

So we relaxed in the pool, played some Frisbee, sat around and caught up on our lives, shared some challenges, and just got refreshed.

But, as per usual, we did not just sit around and relax.  Ernie is not a very good relaxer.  Plus he LOVES people.  He wants to see and talk to everybody.  So, while we came to visit with Sid and Gladys, we saw and visited a lot of unexpected people as well.

Apparently Ixtapa was the place to holiday for Manitobans this year.  We met all kinds. Our first night out we met a whole table of Steinbachers... Doyle and Raquel, Dorinda and Mike, Brent and Sherry...plus a few more.  So of course we stopped to chat...till around 11 p.m.

Then we got together with Vic and Jayne.  We were hockey parents together for years.  They were with friends of theirs, so we did lunch.  Great catching up.  Some very meaningful discussions along the walk after lunch.

We even met some new 'old acquaintances'.  Staying just a couple doors down from us was a man who atended church with Ernie way back when (late 70s).

We went to a restaurant that is owned and operated by Manitobans from Rosenort.  Some great ribs.

Plus we went to Sid's heart ministry, which is the dump ministry, to see the school and the kids.  Just a blessing to see how it continues to grow, reaching more and more kids.

{But, I don't want to say too much about that because tomorrow I will do a separate post on the dump.}

So, while we went to rest, we didn't actually rest overly much.  We were able to enjoy the other foreigners for Sunday morning worship.  It was a beautiful place to worship God. Nothing like warm weather, palm trees and sunshine to bring your mind to how awesome God is.

Later that evening we enjoyed a time of encouraging one another in the ministry, with the pastoral couple from this church. It was a blessing to pray for one another.

So, while we are still not rested per se, we are refreshed.

 God is so very Good, always.  We always come away from Ixtapa, and visiting with the Reimer's (Sid and Gladys) feeling blessed and refreshed.  Ernie needs a little more of this...


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

HADIME




...to equip his people for works of service, so that the body Christ may be built up...
Ephesians 4:12



The verse above it one of Ernie's favourite verses.  Why? Because he feels that this is his mandate.  To equip the saints, to teach and train others for service.  And he has done this most of his adult life.

The picture above is Ernie teaching at HADIME.  You are probably wondering what HADIME is? HADIME (click to go to their home page) is the Mennonite Bretherns' program here in Guadalajara for training in missions. Ernie has taught there before, and right now is doing it again.  

He loves this setting because it is mostly students from Latin America, which is loves.  He is teaching some of his favourite material, Evangelism, Cross-Cultural Adaption, Contextualization, etc..  



We, Ernie and I, plus those at HADIME, students and missionaries, Sandra Plett and Jen Schmidt, appreciate your prayers.  For Ernie, as he teaches while not feeling 100% (allergies), Sandra and Jen as they run the program, and the students as they learn.  

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Moving Right Along...

So things continue to happen.  Life goes on.  We are at a high level of emotions after a week of letting our friends know we are moving back to Canada.  The reactions have been varied.  Shock! Sadness.  Tears.  Some understand.  Some say, 'well, it just means we have farther to go to visit you.'

I have said more than once that this is not the first time for us.  When one moves you can do one of two things... open your heart to love and embrace those around you, or chose to live as an island with your heart closed.  With the second option, leaving is easy, because you didn't risk your heart.  With the first option, well, you set yourself up for a broken heart.

I opened my heart and life to these people and my heart is hurting.  I have been blessed with some wonderful friends, people who I consider family.  But with all the wonderful forms of social media I will continue to share my life and watch their's.  Not the same, but better than snail mail letters of yester year.

So, since I last wrote, we have continued with our studies and building into lives.
Chapis with Us
Our very dear friend Karina, lovingly referred to as Chapis (as she is short), dropped by one evening to talk about us leaving.  Ernie made a quick impromptu supper and we watched a little Jets hockey.

She is the TV personality/host for the winning soccer team here in Guadalajara. So she found it (hockey) interesting.  A little culture sharing.

 She later invited us to join her family on Super Bowl Sunday for a 'carne asada', meaning meat BBQ, and lots of it!

It was our first time in her home, meeting her family, parents, brother and sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews.  We of course blessed them with some corn on the cob (yellow corn bathed in butter).  It was a huge hit.  Then I brought a trifle for dessert!



Another wonderful highlight for us was the birth of our friends' child.  We were invited to the hospital to meet baby David.


 Ernie is the one who loves babies and little kids.  But he was under the weather so I got to hold their little blessing from above.  Ernie played with his little sister, Natalia.

This is a lovely family from John & Connie's cell group that we have come to love and appreciate.

Sandra is in our Thursday morning study, which she got started.



Birthdays are always a huge thing here, as you remember from my birthday.

Mary Chuy comes to the gym with us.  Takes abdomen class with me, Danzika and tono muscular.  She gives it her all, even at 60!

She planned a party for a Friday evening, inviting the ladies from the gym, plus our instructor.

We ate (too much), we sang with the mariachi, we danced around the table and we laughed and laughed.  It was a wonderful evening with my friends.

Mary Chuy turned 60 
\

If these people have taught me one thing, it is the importance of relationships.  They have taught me how to care for one another.  They have shown me how to have good, clean, wholesome fun.  They have shown me how to enjoy life.

I will miss my gym ladies greatly.  I will miss the gym.  The working out till you are wet with sweat! The "AY Nelson", cause he has pushed us hard.

But, like I tell them often, when life throws changes your way, adapt.  There are good people everywhere.  It's all about attitude.

I have told them, "mi casa es su casa" (my house is your house).  Just please wait till I have one!  As right now I am homeless.  We will be moving in with our son till we find a place.  As soon as that happens...come!

And I remind them, Puerta Vallarta is a good place to take a winter holiday.












Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Pansies are Headed Home

We so love Guadalajara!

What's not to like? Great food.  Good people. Fabulous weather. So many sites to see, places to visit.  Wonderful place to live.

Since I like to be honest...there are things not to like.  The driving habits of the tapatíos would be one (especially for Ernie).

But alas, all good things, eventually come to an end.  Sadly our time in GDL is coming to an end.

After much prayer, fasting and soul searching we have given our resignation.  We are planning on returning to Canada towards the end of April.

This is the week we are letting people know.  So if you have heard rumours, they are true.  Well, let me re-frase that...they may be true.  I have heard some crazy things coming from people.  So what is true is that we are returning to Steinbach in late April.  All the speculation on the why's and wherefores, may not be 100% accurate.

We prefer to not go through those.  Just know that the decision was not made lightly, there were many factors taken into account, and it is hard.

But once again, God is so great! We found a couple coming to live here in GDL, around the time frame we have and they have agreed to purchase most of our furniture and kitchen stuff, etc.  That was a HUGE weight off our shoulders. God always comes through in miraculous ways.

So time is flying by.  We have studies we want to finish, people we want to spend time with, packing up to do, good byes to say, friendships to firm up.  Time is just going by so very fast.  We look at our calendars on the wall...not enough time.

The little blocks are getting filled in and we have barely started telling people.  I so dread the going away parties, the good byes, the last time we will, etc.

This is for sure one of those times when I am glad for social media, Skype, FaceTime, FaceBook, Instagram, etc.  So many ways one can remain in one another's lives.

I also love how close to Puerto Vallarta Guadalajara is.  I see a trip there in my near future.

So we covet your prayers as we close this chapter of our lives and look to what the future holds.

P.S.
I think our kids are happy, as are our families.






Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Run Forest Run!



On Sunday, early morning, I headed out to meet some friends from the gym to do a 5K run.  Now I am not a runner, like my brother-in-law Garry, (the kind that run marathons 😩), but I have run my share on 5K´s.  Anyway, I posted on my WhatsApp groups about a run and encouraged them to go.  

The picture above is of the ones who signed up, 3 out of 50!? Not great, but good for non-runners. 💁🏼‍♀️ 

The pic was taken before the race.  Two had signed up the for 3K, and me and the other lady for the 5K.  I told them that whenever they wanted they could just walk.  No one would come kick them out.  Just give it a whirl I said.  If they did 3 or 5 was also unimportant.   

Well, 3 of us finished the 5K and they all jogged! No walking!  And there was a long down hill, which meant an equally long uphill!  But all 4 of us finished!  They were extremely proud of themselves.  

This particular race was supposedly a 5K, but the finish line was not at the 5K point! I was okay with my time, considering I did not train prior to the race.  My goal was to encourage the others to join.  They all said after, ¨ find another one, but this time let´s practice¨ With all the fun pics we took, other ladies want to join.  

 Everyone asked if I had won. Obviously not.  But we had fun taking the pictures like we had won first, second and third place! 


But there is a race that is much more important than the one we ran on Sunday...  Hebrews 12:1 

     "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Like any race, whether 5K or marthon, the crowd of witnesses that watch and cheer, is encouraging.  But it also reminds me that people are watching; may I run in such a way that others are encouraed to follow suit.  The verse talks about throwing off things that hinder us.  What are those things?  I watched people in Sunday´s race, running with a loose backpack 🎒. Talk about a hinderance! 

I encouaged my friends to join me in a 5K run, for fun and exercise. Am I encouraging others to ´run the most important race of life'? So that one day I can say, 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.' I don´t want to finish that race alone. I want others to join me. 

As important as it is to prepare for a race, like a 5K or longer, how much more important is it to prepare daily fo the run of out lives! Let us encourage each other ... 'and all the more as we see the day approaching.' 







Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Some Things They Just do Better

Happy 
52nd
Birthday
To 
Me!




I have celebrated 4 birthdays here in GDL and each one my friends have made me feel so loved!  I actually get teased about my birthday lasting the whole month of January! Well, they sure no how to celebrate here, if it takes a whole month to celebrate...so be it!

As you can see in the picture, this little celebration took place at the gym.  Recently a friend from Manitoba was chatting with me on FaceBook Messenger about joining a gym.  She said that she found it to be nothing like what I post about.  Everyone is in their own little world in Canada.  Everyone has headphones on and most certainly isn't chatting with others.

Mexicans just do the whole relationship thing better.  People, friendships, relationships, etc, just come first.  They would find you offensive if you didn't take your earbuds out to say 'hi'.  Sweaty after class, hugs are given anyway.

Don't get me wrong now, most of us still actually work out!  If I don't leave the gym feeling done in, I would not bother.  But with a 15 minute break in-between classes there is time to cut a cake.  The next class can be tough if you over do it! But building friendships seems to always have time.

Now I am not the best at this but they sure have worked on me.  Greetings come first.  Flowery speech is a must.  I am a little too task-oriented.  But when you see how going out of your way to greet, to say Happy Birthday, to ask after someone who has been missing at the gym, etc.  Well, it just makes a person feel cared for, loved.

Being part of the family of God, I should be good at this, better even.  One just needs to read all the 'one-another' verses to see that this is what God wants us to do.  They have shown me by example.

They have taught me how to 'love on' others.  They celebrated me at the gym, and then we went for breakfast.


On Wednesday, those who couldn't do breakfast because they work, are taking me out for Sushi!  Then on Friday, my lovely neighbour ladies are taking me for breakfast.  Like I say, a birthday can take a whole month.  And that is without throwing myself a party, which many do here.

The month of February is fast approaching... .... here it is referred to as the month of Love and Friendship.  Let's love on each other!