I loved waking up to the sound of the bell! It's strange, I know. I was probably the only one that loved it. I'm weird like that! But the bell ringing throughout the day called us to community which was my absolute favorite part of the trip. I loved gathering and singing praises first thing in the morning before breakfast with our awesome group. Our leader always made getting up and going a blast. He usually combined some type of "get moving" praise song where we had to run around the courtyard, jump, or skip while we sang. It reminded me of the PreK classrooms at OLI and Mrs. Eileen.
After all that singing and dancing, you forgot that you had been tired and were ready to face whatever God had planned for the day. Monday was "guy's day" which meant they got to shower, lead prayer, and share. It was so awesome listening to the men, young and old, share a bible passage, lead prayer, or just share how awesome God was. After morning prayer, we were given our assignments.
Travis and the two boys were put on a roofing project. The girls and I were assigned to "Home Visits." I quickly slathered the boys with sunscreen and double-checked that their water bottles had been filled with the good filtered water and sent them out with hugs and kisses (only one hugged and kissed me back, the other two were thoroughly embarassed).
|Here's Travis up on the roof waiting for a bucket of dirt.|
|The boys working on the planks that would be sent up.|
After all was sorted and bags, we piled into the vans and headed out to visit an elderly lady that had become family to most of the FMC missionaries. We had divided into two separate groups, but neither leader wanted to miss this visit, so we all stayed together for this particular home visit. Once we arrived, I knew why no one wanted to miss this lady.
She greeted us all at the door with hugs, kisses, and the most heartwarming smile. We all gathered in her living room and listened intently as she told the story of her courtship to her husband which consisted of four years of secret letters and no face to face contact. I felt like I was back in my great-grandma's living room listening to her stories of when she was a girl. After having to cut her short because of time, we sang a few songs with her and then prayed with her. My heart melted as the tears filled up her eyes as we began to leave. She was so lonely. She did not want us to leave. The feeling was mutual---no one in our group was ready to go either.
Olivia and I must have hugged and kissed her a hundred times before we finally got out the door. The next lady on our list was not home. We went around the back of her house to the neighboring lady who was in a wheelchair because of an amputated leg. She informed us that the woman in the front had been taken to Saltillo to the hospital the week before. The kids played on the floor with this lady's kitten as we tried to talk with her. She wasn't as outgoing as the first lady. She had so much pain in her eyes. When we asked to pray with her, her prayers were for her children that she had not seen or heard from in a very long time. My heart broke for her.
After that visit, we returned back to the Mission House for lunch. Once again, the bell sounded, and we gathered to sing and bless the food together. The food was delicious and once again we stuffed ourselves, so we decided to take a little stroll around the town to walk off some of those tortillas! As we rounded the corner, we heard lots of commotion---lots of shouting (in Spanish, of course, so we had no clue what was going on) and then a very familiar sound reached our ears---hoof steps. Yep, we came all the way to Mexico to witness a horse parade. Travis and the kids felt right at home.
After the parade passed by, we found a little store that sold ice cold Coca-Cola, no Dr. Pepper though, but the Cokes were cold and refreshing. We also found out that most of the vendors sale GIANT bags of cheese puffs! This is definitely the size we need for our homeschool picnics and gatherings.
Later in the afternoon, we gathered back at the Mission House at the sound of the bell to practice our Spanish praise songs and head out to the ranchos again. The rancho we visited this evening was a little bit "nicer" than the one the previous night. I hate to use that word because they were all so amazing, but this one had its own little schoolhouse including a basketball court and outdoor stage.
When we arrived, we found that the chapel was already full. The women of the rancho were there praying a rosary. They had been praying a daily rosary all throughout the month of May in honor of the Blessed Mother. It was so refreshing to see and hear. We once again rang the bell to let the others know we were there, and then we headed out to knock on doors to personally invite the people to join us for prayer. We returned and rang the bell again.
We began by singing some of our Spanish songs which we were getting fairly good at by now. Then one of the missionaries gave a teaching. Then some of the people from our group gave testimonies about how God had worked in their lives. We were very fortunate to have some of the Mexican missionaries from General Cepeda with us. They gave their testimony about how they had been helping FMC for many years and had just been trained to become full-time missionaries. It was really awesome to hear their story of how God had used missionaries to touch their hearts.
After the sharing, we prayed over those wanting prayers and then began to lay out the things that we had brought for them. As the ladies sorted through the clothes, the girls were able to pass out some of the scapulars and rosaries that we had brought with us to the children that were there. This little girl stole our hearts with her smile.
We hugged and kissed all the people good-bye. It was so hard to leave these people even though we could not communicate with them with words, each one was able to touch our heart and soul. We were so blessed by the faith of these people and the deep sense of love and gratitude we witnessed in their eyes.
When we got back to the Mission House, we had some free time before dinner. We decided to head out to the Famous Cement Slide. Yes, cement---very smooth and sealed cement. The kids had a blast. This instantly became the free time hangout of all the kids---big and small!
|Sidney, Luis, and Dana (3 amazing FMC missionaries) and some of the kiddos|
That night after dinner and prayer, I crawled into bed exhausted, dirty, and smelly (guy's shower day), but I didn't even think twice about it. I slept so peacefully thinking about all the wonderful people I had been blessed to meet that day. God is awesome!