Wednesday, 30 July 2014

WHATSAPP

You are probably thinking I can't spell?!  Well, "WHATSAPP" is actually an app for your cell phone, and it is the most used app here in Mexico.  Everyone uses it to communicate, because texting costs minutes, and WHATSAPP is free.  So, they create groups with friends so that they don't need to tell everyone individually.  We formed one called "GDL staff", which we use to let each member of our staff know what's happening.  I am in another called "Chicas Coto", which are the neighbourhood ladies, and another called "Guapas del Vivo 47", which are the ladies from the gym.  This app is used to send encouragements, jokes, to communicate events, and to chat. Some examples...


It was through this app that I sent out a message to "Chicas Coto" to tell them to go see the movie "God's Not Dead".  I told them it was very good and if they did not have someone to go with we would gladly go again.  This weekend a neighbour family wanted to watch a movie together, and, when they couldn't decide, they chose "God's Not Dead", because we had recommended it.  

We had an interesting conversation with them the next day, one that might happen in any culture.  The father said that you raise your kids in their faith but there comes a time when they will challenge, ask questions, and even rebel. Our job is to train our kids, live and teach our faith, be there when they begin to challenge it, but also realise that during these 'speed bumps' (that often present themselves during adolescence) the parents need to work at keeping communication lines open. Watching the right kind of movie, and then discussing it after, might be another way of nudging people to faith... what do you think? ...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Missionary Ladies Day
The old match stick in the mouth to combat the effects of cutting onions

One of God's many blessings for me here in GDL is a missionary ladies group.  We meet once a week for Bible study and to encourage & pray for one another.  They have been a real blessing to me.

We take a 'break' during the summer months, as kids are home and schedules change but this summer we have met for 'fun' times like the above picture.  We met a the Mateo Centre, with Sandra Plett (Pictured above), Jen Schmidt and Suzanne as our hosts.  Connie Reimer (my co-worker) led us in making her home made salsa for chips.  Not a very Mexican thing.  Hot sauce is for food and it is nothing like salsa as we know it.  We each got to take several jars home as her recipe makes LOTS!  We had a wonderful day, enjoying one another's company and laughing together.

Melinda, Connie, Barb & Sandra

Connie Reimer our teacher




Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mark the Day - September 6th
The Terrazza for our BBQ

Ernie & I have decided to host a "convivio" for our contacts at VIVO 47, the gym where we go every day.  We are promoting this event as a Canadian Family BBQ.  We want to show our new friends what a typical family bbq would look like in Canada.  Our plan is to bbq burgers and hot dogs, have salads, chips and pop, and brownies for dessert.  We hope to have live music (still in the planning stages) and if not, plug in a stereo.  We will have a (free) silent auction table with prizes from Canada (lovingly provided by our church at home, personal purchases, and some provided by family) and some door prizes.  We'll have some Canadian Trivia, maybe a rendition of O Canada? 

We want to use this event to express to our guests that, while the whole bbq thing would be what we would do with our families and friends at home, they are far away.  These friends here are now our family! And how great it is that we can have 'family' while living abroad.

We have a guest list of 25 couples plus their kids.  This list, amazingly enough, could be much longer, but funds and space make it impossible to invite the whole gang (which could easily be 50 or more couples)!  

Another thing we are working on is getting help from some of our existing church (cell) people.  This is still in the planning stages.  

We ask that you cover this event with your feverant prayers as its success is directly proportionate to God's presence and His working.  We are seeking to build on the connections we have been developing for the past few months.

So, please circle September 6th on your calendars, and join us in praying without ceasing for God to prepare hearts for this event.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

27 mexican customs that intrigue any foreigner

What is strange in Mexico but is considered normal to Mexicans:

  1. No stores have change ... EVER!
  2. There is a love/hate relationship with the USA.
  3. They love public expressions of affection and long, intimate hugs.
  4. They care about and have extremely good personal hygiene.
  5. They don’t moderate their use of hair gel - seems the least daily required amount is 1/2 a bottle!
  6. Normal for Mexicans is the lack of toilet paper and soap in public bathrooms.
  7. They are extremely polite, greeting and saying good bye to everyone, and that generally makes the rest of us feel very impolite.
  8. Even though Mexico produces world class coffee (in Chiapas and Veracruz) everyone seems to drink cheap instant coffee (Nescafe, and Oxxo coffee).
  9. There is no attention paid to punctuality. If they are to meet at 4 p.m. the earliest some might arrive would be 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m.
  10. What they serve in restaurants isn’t Katsup -don’t know what it is, but it ISN’T Ketchup!
  11. When going to a public restroom they charge you to enter, then give you some toilet paper. Foreigners don’t seem to understand what this means.
  12. University education is quite informal with lots of communication between students and professors.
  13. There are hot sauce dispensers for the popcorn at the movie theatre!
  14. Everyone sells something - whether in their homes, on street corners, or on public transportation.
  15. Everything is an excuse to have a fiesta, and the Mexican fiestas involve the entire family.
  16. They don’t pay attention to what American television says about Mexico because it isn’t anything like what they present.
  17. If you are black (Afro-American) get used to being the centre of attention in Mexico.
  18. They put lemon on EVERYTHING!
  19. Mexicans don’t care about monopolies.
  20. Mexicans don’t care about forest fires, unless they threaten a village.
  21. Mexicans think that a drop of hot sauce is capable of destroying any foreigner. Therefore, they have the custom of warning any foreigner that gets close to a bottle of hot sauce with ‘but it's hot, eh?’
  22. The Narco (drug lord) is central in everything that is done in Mexico but it is taboo to speak of it in public.
  23. If you don’t understand some of the multiple applications of a variety of curse words, and words like ‘fart’, good luck trying to understand any conversation.
  24. Mexicans view as inferior any Central or South American and they don’t care for Argentinians.
  25. Mexicans drink incredible amounts of pop, wether for breakfast or during the day.
  26. Racism isn’t that much of a problem in Mexico. What is a problem is an entrenched sense of class consciousness.
  27. In everything they support the economy of the people. Walmart? Never. Let’s go to the ‘tiangis’ (street market). 


-translated from ‘El Diario Grande de Michoacan Provincia’ written by Diego Ferreyra

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Snoopy's Happy Dance!

Happy Happy Happy
Just wanted to share our exciting news... ....our kids are coming for a visit!  Woo Hoo!  They have booked a week of holidays in Puerto Vallarta, where we will join them, then are coming to our place for another TWO WHOLE WEEKS!  I can not contain my excitement!  I am now counting the days till Christmas.  Their dates are December 13 to January 3.

A sidebar:  pray that our daughter-in-law find a job, as she just recently had hers end.  This was a bit of a stretch financially, for our kids as well as for us.  Pray that the finances would come together.  Faith has been stretch but we are all excited to be together for 3 weeks.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Learning to drive in GDL?

                          
Remember Sesame Street?  You are probably wondering how these 2 things go together?  Well, here in Mexico, they do.  How? .... .... let me tell you what Mexican parents have told me.

They would say that giving your vehicle to your teenager, to go out with friends, is like handing them an AK 47!  That is quite a loaded statement and you might be wondering exactly what they mean.  

I clearly remember when our sons hit that magic age, of being able to sign up for drivers ed., so they could drive as soon as possible.  I remember them passing their tests and wanting to practice.  I remember quite clearly them taking the car on their own to go somewhere.  I would say it is a normal, fairly simple, rite of passage.  Now, I come from somewhat rural Manitoba, a 'city' of around 15,000.  Not much fear for me.  And both boys purchased their own cars at 16 years of age.

I think if I was the parent of teenagers here in GDL I would have a similar view to that of parents here.  The fact that the city has 4-7 million people tends to make the traffic scenarios a little more severe.  Add to that the WAY people here drive.  One has to drive paying attention to EVERY OTHER DRIVER!  You pay attention to not only what the traffic laws allow them to do, but also what they might possible do any way.  Is it legal to make a left hand turn from the extreme right hand lane?  No.  Do they do it?  Yes, often.  Does a red light mean stop, and a green one go?  Mostly, but often up to 4 cars will run any given red, still trying to get thru!  Then, add to that that the speed limit is a nebulous thing, people drive while on their cell phones, and every one is late for something!  Would you give your 16 year old your car to go out with friends?  Would you not say you were putting a weapon in your teen's hands when handing over the keys?  

Most teens are still chauffeured around by a parent even though they have their learners.  They seem to take it in stride.  Our sons are excellent drivers (much better than their mother) but I can't say I would hand them my car keys here, EVEN NOW!  I guess we'll see when they come for a visit.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Canada Day


     We as 'Team Guadalajara' have been meeting this past month every Monday for staff meetings.  You might be wondering if we just love meetings or what?  No, we have been getting together to review our strategy as a team, discuss some Church Planting books, and we also have a regular monthly staff meeting.  So, this past Monday morning we got together at Dallas and Tara's  We were well into our agenda when it was time to pick up the Wiebe's kids and so we took a break ....

FOOD! Dallas BBQ'd some great steaks!

But the reason for the meal was to celebrate 
Canada Day

We hung the flag, with great pomp and ceremony and even played "O' Canada"

But of course the cameras came out - which led to some fun ... ....

The men did some posing... ...

Here are the lovely counter parts to the above 'gentlemen'

The kids were less than thrilled to pose

While we live in Mexico we are blessed to enjoy a country rich in culture.  We enjoy it immensely and take part in all its fullness.  We watch soccer, we eat tacos, speak Spanish and run a a very loose time schedule, to mention a few.  However, we are Canadian - and proud to BE!