Monday, June 30, 2008

Preparing for VBS

A week from today we are startingour week of VBS, better known here as Escuelita. That means that we have to begin preparing. Escuelita can bring in over a couple hundred kids from the community and is a huge event. Thankfully, we have some extra room this year in the school which will help to hold all the kids. So, today we began some of the preparations. We filled in 400 invitations to hand out to the people in Ixtlan, we will go around on Saturday and again on Sunday to hand those out. We also cut out some "Pigs" that are a craft that go along with one of the stories. We have to get a lot of that stuff done for the younger kids so they don't hurt themselves or take up three days just trying to cut out and fold a little box.

Here Grant and Lupita work on filling out invitations. They are still working on their first 100. Concentration was perhaps sporadic at best for a while there. I was cuttng out and folding the pigs with Albaro.

Albaro was ready for something a little more exciting after we finished the pigs. Turns out it was raining out so vollyball wasn't such a great idea.

Here is the pile of pigs that Albaro and I made. It isn't as impressive as it seems it should have been, but there are 50 little pigs there, I think.

Albaro decided that we needed some music while we filled out the rest of the invitations. I am pretty sure he just didn't want to fill out the invitations. He sat at that piano and messed around for quite a while. If you are wondering, he doesn't play the piano and wasn't terrible proud to be playing either which made for an interesting and unique experience.

We have a lot more to get ready for, but we did get a good chunk of work done today. That was nice. Escuelita will be here before we know it, but it will be a really great week. Tiring, I am sure, but great.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Futbol (not americano)

So, Saturdays here are soccer days. At about 11:00 in the morning someone heads off in the van and picks up a bunch of rowdy boys about 11-12 and under. We had a good 8-10 in the van and then picked up about that many more back in Ixtlan. So we end up with at least 15-20 boys in this little barn to play soccer.

Now, I just want to make sure this picture has been created correctly for you. There are 4 American young men, to be polite, and a bunch of Mexican kids running around. That is enough to make people think that we are crazy, but then we start playing soccer with them? Soccer is like the unamerican sport. Sure it is played in the US, but what do we really know about the sport? We have to convince our soccer stars to move in from other countries. So, these crazy Americans want to play soccer with a bunch of Mexican kids.

Who, I ask, do you think the experts here are?

I hope you didn't say the Americans. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun. The kids behave really well. They are good enough that we can really have fun. They are also good enough that the goal is the post for the basketball hoop. (I will say it isn't any whimpy basketball post. Made of concrete, etc. but still much smaller than an actual goal. And these kids are good.

So if you want some good exercise, come down on a Saturday, these kids will put you through the works.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The first week

Well, one week ago today I left home and came down here to Ixtlan. I really didn't know entirely what I was in for. A lot has happened in a week. I have a lot to learn about Ixtlan, about the people, about Spanish, about God. I think the same would be true no matter where I would go. We often feel we know so much, when in reality, we don't know a thing. We are just on the edge of knowledge. Every time we go a little further we just realize how much bigger everything is than what we thought.

Anyway, you probably don't want to listen to me wax philosophic. Blehh... get that taste out of your mouth and on to something different.

What have I done in the past week you may be wondering. What does a person do in Ixtlan?

We have a Bible study or Chruch or something every evening down here. That means that I have done a lot of that. I have gotten a lot of practice listening to Spanish that way. The Bible studies are done with groups or couples in the community. It is a great way to get out and get to know people a little better.

I have made a couple of trips to Zamora already. Zamora is were we go for and "Walmart runs" we might need to go to, although here they would be called "Aurrera runs". "Walmart" here seems to be a lot like walking into a Sam's Club. I don't think I will have a problem with not having the things that I need. Zamora is about 30 minutes away. It is a pretty nice city with some pretty good food.

I have had a lot of time to plan for the English classes as well. I am realizing that I have a lot of things to learn about English and about teaching English to people who don't know the language. It is a pretty daunting task, but I am excited about the possibilities that it will open up. I need to work a lot more on the different parts of the class, but it is making some slow progress.

A last thought:
Spencer said it pretty good the other day he said that the reason he came down to Ixtlan was because he heard there was this lady that cooked up really great food down here. Mom, don't worry. Jan will never let us starve, although I may eat too much. And there is always the taco stand down the road.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Jodi reminded me of something in a comment on Rambling. I got to see her last weekend. I think she just about squeezed me to death but I managed to step the side and make it more of a side hug than a front on hug which I think saved me.

OK, I may be being a little bit facetious. It was great to see her and she seems to be doing alright. She didn't really try to hug me to death I don't thinks, but it was pretty....intense, some people might say. She has definitely gotten better with the whole speaking Spanish thing, which is great.

We did also get a chance to talk to Mom, Dad, Holly and Micah all at the same time on Skype. Mom and Dad were in Morris. and so we all talked together. It felt kinda like we spent the evening with them. A short, very strange evening, but an evening none the less.

Here is picture of Jodi and I as proof.

She is panning on coming again next weekend. We'll see.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bienvenidos a Ixtlan

Here I am. Sitting in the guest house wondering where to begin. There is so much to say and yet how can you say it all. How can you fit your life into weird little letters. I don't know so I guess I won't try too hard.

The weekend is past. It was a great weekend. We had both baptisms and communion. It was a great chance to see the church, to get to know the people who attend, and to pick up where I left of last summer when I visited. Of course, I discovered that I don't really know Spanish. I have some studying to do there, but thankfully the people here are patient and willing to listen to bad English and still be able to carry on a conversation. It is slowly coming back and I am glad to have the support that I have.

Time fills up here with studying and learning the language and Bible studies and picking people up and droppong people off. I haven't had a chance to sit down and discuss what is going to happen with the English classes yet. There are a lot of things to figure out first. Once we have things nailed down a little bit more, I will be able to do some planning.

Mike and Deb Lehman are leaving today so things will be a little different. We won't have anyone cooking us breakfast anymore. Prayers that they are able to return home safely.

Here are some more pictures. These were taken from the second floor of the guest house. Not real interesting, but part of what I see every day.

Coming soon: Lalo, our tagalong little brother.