Wednesday, 25 June 2014

"Codeswitching"

     If you read that title that ERNIE chose, you are most likely wondering what that is, and what this post will be about.  Well, I have never heard the word but it is something that I have done for years.  I would not say that I was bilingual growing up, however, I did know a conversational Low German.  There are words that I have always said in Low German, like 'tub duke" (dish rag), schoup (dust pan), schlope shine (sleep well) and various other such words.  


     I would say that I would now call myself bilingual, as I can actually converse in Spanish.  The "codeswitching' is more extreme and we all seem to do it here.  In conversations with my husband or am ongst other fellow expats one eases in and out between languages.  
     'Codeswitching' is using two (or more) different languages in the same sentence. Along the US/Mexican border there is actually another language, sometimes referred to as "TexMex", that has developed its own vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar rules, by combining English and Spanish! 
As missionaries we slide back and forth between languages, using the words or expressions that most quickly or adequately explain or convey what we are trying to communicate. It gets funny at times! 

So, if you find yourself using a couple of different languages when you speak, you are in good company! There's many that do it. :-) 





Wednesday, 18 June 2014

It's a Religion

                               "It's a Religion"

For Latin Americans the FIFA World Cup is comparable to our view of the Stanley Cup in the North.  However, it is a 'religion' to them.  They give passion and fanaticism a new meaning. They care, and they care deeply.  Every restaurant that has a television is promoting the games and they are hosting a packed crowd.  The mall has a HUGE big screen T.V. in it's center court, full of people loudly cheering.  This is a game where violence happens between fans.  Everyone is passionate about their team.  

So you might ask, are we watching soccer?  Absolutely.  I can't say the whole thing captures me like hockey does but you can't help but join in on the excitement.  Just to give you a clearer picture of their passion, I would like to share a post from Martin Garcia, shared by Detlef on Facebook.  

World Cup Rules for Women (click on heading for the link) ... you can also find these 'rules' in English on the web... here are some samples:

1) during this month the TV is mine, mine and only mine at all hours, without exception. The remote, don't even look at it!
2) During the games I am deaf and blind. Don't expect me to hear you, see you, open the door, answer the phone, look at the kids that fell from the 2nd floor, greet your mother, go shopping, put out the fire in the kitchen, etc. Nothing! Nothing!

It may have been said humorously but I think they believe it!  Some of these I believe would cross over as rules for the NHL widow!

But soccer, as we call it, is also taking off up North as well.  However, I don't think the most avid soccer fan up North could even match the most mild mannered fan of Latin American, because it is almost a religion down here.  Here's a good comercial to highlight the skill:
GO Mexico!!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Culturally Speaking
Headed our for a 'casual' evening
This past weekend we were invited to our first gathering by people we have met at VIVO 47 (the gym where we became members).  We were told it was a casual evening with friends (to celebrate 13 yrs of marriage).  There were at least 16 couples in attendance! When Ernie asked the host for the dress code, he said 'casual, no jeans.'  Now, at home I would know what that meant.  I felt unsure of my choice till I arrived and saw everyone else.  Everyone was dressed up, some much more than I, some less so.

Some culture things we noticed.
  • a gathering or party in Mexico requires music, if not live then at the very least canned
  • visiting is done above the music, as music is not just in the background
  • Mexicans dress up for everything.  We, from the North, often look sloppy in our dress
  • supper is a light meal, while lunch is usually big, with meat
  • greeting EVERYONE, when arriving and when leaving, is a big production with huge implications
  • people sit as couples, with no segregation
  • belonging to a 'group' is very important
  • family is huge, with all ages present
    neighbours Mario and Alejandra at the party
    this couple identified themselves as Christians to Diane
    one of the guests, a dentist, joins the live music, singing a love song 
    Juan, our host, decides it's his turn to sing
    Lalo and his wife, he is originally from Chihuahua!
    Saturday lunch invitation to neighbours Mario and Alejandra's with many of their extended family


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Guadalajara Cell Groups 'Convivio'

Every six weeks our cell groups in GDL try to plan a joint fellowship time. This last convivio was held on Sunday, June 8th, at Victor & Alma's coto. People began arriving at 11:30 a.m. and the last ones to leave left at 8:30 p.m. 
a beautiful day for a convivio
some of the ladies sitting and chatting
Rick with his 2 daughters in the pool!
enjoying each other's company...
some of the kids enjoying a snack on picnic blankets
some of the guys play some 4 on 4 volleyball in the heat! 
lunch conversations
a time of sharing after food and recreation
praying for Paquiri and Moni, who have been relocated to Mexico city for a year
sharing one on one
John and Omar in deep discussion
the convivio is also a farewell for Paquiri (3rd from left) and Moni - they'll be missed!
even the rain can't stop the game... 
or the conversation...
Diane and Ana cooperating for a photo op!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Post-Christendom?
Catholic church in San Miguel de Allende
We were told we were moving to the "Zone of Silence" here in Guadalajara.  This title is used to refer to the fact that the evangelical population is almost non-exsistant here.  Now, although it can be somewhat daunting (coming from a predominantly evangelical area), it does not mean that folks here are non-religious.  

One of the wonderful things about living here is that we are surrounded by Mexican's who are predominantly Catholic.  Why is that wonderful you might ask?  Well, it means they are spiritual, and that we have many similar beliefs.  We believe in Jesus, so do they.  We believe He rose from the dead, so do they.  We believe in the Bible, so do they. That said, there are differences, many of them, but we have a place to start, and many common terms and concepts. The fact that they are a spiritual people means that those conversations are ripe for the taking; you just need wisdom, love, and the ability to build bridges and not walls.

Recently we had one such conversation.  We were visiting with a young friend of ours.  And, as luck would have it (or by God's provident hand) the discussion turned spiritual in nature.  He made a revealing statement.  He said (when speaking of Catholicism), "I like the liquid (content) just not the glass (container)."  What he tried to communicate was that he was indeed spiritual, he liked what religion had to offer, he just did not like the way it was offered.  He found all the ritual, all the folklore, all the extras that were added, to be tiring.  He believed in God, saw the whole thing as feasable, but the packaging was all wrong.  He said his generation did not like the church (the glass) but they thought the liquid was intriqueing.

I have heard the same thing said by North American youth; have even attended workshops and lectures on the topic.  So what do we do?  We have an open door to a discussion of great importance.  What will our response be to the people who are seeking the 'liquid' (even if they don't know that that is what they are seeking), a relationship with Jesus Christ, but find the glass, the traditional church, to be irrelevant? In other words, the dilemma/problem seems to be more and more a reality of postmodern North America (including all 3 countries) whether that be the Evangelical or the Catholic world.  

I’d like to make two observations: 

     1) I think that one of the challenges of ‘religion' (whatever form it takes) is the ever present tendency to focus on the container rather than on the content - to fall into legalism, ritual, tradition, etc. rather than focusing on the essentials. At the end of the day Christianity is about relationship not religion, it’s about a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus. 

     2) What some would bemoan as the loss of influence (Christendom) others see as an opportunity, a chance for new birth, for resurrection. IF this is true, whether we’re talking about the north or the south, then it does represent an opportunity for us. However, it also means that we can’t be offering different, freshly painted, versions of the same ‘glass’. 

23.5 carat gold plating in Guanajuato church
Please pray for our team here in Guadalajara, as we seek to make connections, and as we seek to identify and respond to those who are spiritually open, spiritually hungry. Pray that the Holy Spirit would prepare the way.