Wednesday, 28 October 2015

War Room (Cuarto de Guerra)

Recently Ernie and I were joined by friends from the gym to see this movie.  It was interesting to sit through such a movie, as an evangelical, while sitting alongside Catholics. Things that would be 'normal' to us might be viewed completely differently by them.  Since we went to see a very late showing, 10 p.m. (meaning it ended after midnight) we didn't get time to discuss it (We hope to do this tomorrow night).  Their only comment, as we said good night. was "You pray for us and we pray for you."  I would say they got the principle theme of the movie.

There are lots of themes in this movie that warrant discussion.  Prayer is the obvious theme.  This a tool we have at our disposal and we do not make enough use of it.  Miss Clara had a deep and connected prayer life, which she tried to passionately pass on to someone who had lost that connection.  This theme, beautifully depicted, leaves you longing to deepen your prayer life.

But there are sub themes that warrant discussion as well.  Marriages, integrity and other values, forgiveness... just to name a few. Rather than me expounding on the movie, I would like to encourage you to go see it.  Take a friend, whether a believer or not.  Go as a group and then go for coffee and discuss it.  I won't tell you more so that I don't spoil it for people who haven't seen it yet! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Where are you from?

Recently I watched a TedTalk which I later posted on my FaceBook wall.  I did so, because, quite frankly, it intrigued me.  Having lived in different places, having a son born abroad, knowing many 'third culture kids', I understand how this question can be difficult.

Now I would always answer this question with "from Canada" because I have lived there the longest and spent many of my formative years there.  However, there was a time when I felt very 'unCanadian' and struggled living there.  Did that make me non-Canadian?  By no means.
My son was born abroad but has no affinity or rituals from said country.  Both my sons spent several of their formative years in Mexico and I remember Mike saying as a child that he was Mexican.

The speaker in the TedTalk said that rather than asking where someone was from, it would be better to ask where they were a local.  She said that all experience is local and that she was multi-local.  She claimed that where one was a local was determined by three things: rituals, relationships and restrictions.  She went on to say how this was a broader answer.  (The video is at the bottom, watch it for a fuller explanation)

After I posted it on FaceBook a friend here asked me where 'home' was.  I think he wanted me to say here, Guadalajara.  I paused and said right now I felt 'homeless'.  Canada is my home of passport and birth but I don't reside there.  After living 5 years in Chihuahua, that truly became HOME and when I returned to Canada I felt like a fish out of water.  I longed to return, 'home'.

My kids felt the same way, for our experiences were very rich, and our relationships so blessed.  We had developed many rituals from Mexico. Our weekly emotional experiences were with neighbours and friends who were Mexican. But we did not have restrictions in said country.

Ernie and I also lived in Nicaragua, where our son Michael was born.   Ernie lived there for many more years than I did so he has many more rituals and relationships, and felt many more of the restrictions.  He often says that country has a huge part of his heart.  However, he is not Nicaraguan, nor for that matter is our son who was born there.  Ernie and I have some rich relationships and enjoy visiting there, but we are not from there.

I have lived in Guadalajara for just under 2 years, so I am only now learning the rituals, and am in the process of building many relationships.  So, I told my friend that right now I put the word 'home' in quotation marks, for I don't feel quite at home here yet. The absence of my children might play into that somewhat for me.  However, I never anticipated calling Chihuahua home either.  But, oh how I missed it, those first months upon our return to Canada.

If you live where you were born and have never lived anywhere else, you might not relate to this. If you have not had a relationship with someone who is living in your country (but not born there) try switching up the question. Or ask a missionary kid where they are a local?  You might just need to explain the question. But, the kind of answers they come up with could be very interesting.  Canada is a country built on immigrants, we have 10,000 villages living within our reach. But does everyone call it 'home'?

I guess really I am not 'homeless' so much as I am 'multi-local' as well.  The richness of that is a blessing, if at times unsettling.

Add TedTalk video here:

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Mission Accomplished!

     As you will have noticed by last week's blog, I (Ernie) spent the week in Ixtapa on a building project. The plan was to incorporate men from Canada and Mexico, into one work team, with the goal of building a home for 'abuelo' (Grandpa), as he is affectionately called.
Ernie, Abuelo, and Sergio
     We were able to finish the project, including windows and doors and even move Abuelo from the shack where he used to live.
Ernie, Abuelo, Dallas - in front of finished home 
all of Abuelo's earthly possessions fit in the back of a half-ton
This is where Abuelo used to live
     We were also able to replace the roof on another home at the dump, so that they would have better protection from the rain. As you can see they would be benefited by better walls as well!
new roof on neighbour's home
     Sid Reimer, owner of Lakeview Insurance in Winnipeg, has been going to Ixtapa for some 13 years, and, instead of just relaxing at the beach, has been involved in a variety of projects that are meant to help the marginalised and under privileged. This was his brainchild! Way to go Sid!
Sid Reimer with Abuelo
     Maybe you're also looking for a way to get involved. The five of us that went to Ixtapa from GDL all felt that we had accomplished something important. We'd made a difference. And we got to get to know and bond with others in the process: the 4 Canadian men that came, the men from the dump that also lent a hand, and many others. Maybe you're a senior that likes to spend your winters in a warmer climate, but you don't want to just sit around - you want to make a difference. There are many similar opportunities out there - what you waiting for?

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Ixtapa Work Team

     Well, here we are in Ixtapa. Sid Reimer brought 3 other Canadians with him. I (Ernie) brought along a friend from our fitness gym, John and Dallas (missionary co-workers) and a friend from John's cell group. So, we are 9 men working to build a new home for a senior at the dump in Ixtapa (about 7 hrs from GDL along the Pacific coast).        
      Our first day included levelling and filling in the surface for the floor, and forming it up for concrete. Our second day (today) was dedicated to pouring the concrete and building the wall sections for the house. Tomorrow we hope to put the walls up, cover them, and put the roof on. It has been very hot and we're only able to work till about 2 p.m. in the afternoon. Here are some fotos of the group and our work together. It's been a great time of bonding and working together!
Part of the gang at Villas Paraiso in Ixtapa
The whole team
preparing the ground for the floor
getting rocks and other fill for the floor
taking a short break after prepping the floor
Tuesday morning - floor is ready to pour
Esteban - the pouring has begun
Another team builds wall sections
Esteban chats with the 'abuelito' (grandpa) for whom we're building the  house
guys hard at work framing wall sections
Sergio going to start generator - concrete mixer in background