Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Staff Reunited

God loves me. I know this because he brought my kindred spirits from last year back down to Mexico for the weekend. Monique and Jason were on staff with me last year and I know that they are friends I will have for the rest of life (here and in Heaven fo-eva!). 
We had our adventures in Ensenada searching for and buying new couches for Ventana and then trying to fit them in our van with Doug’s bike, two kids, and six Ventana staff. Mexi-styling it!

We also experienced the “slide of death” at a park in Ensenada where comes the playground equipment that is banned from the parks in the States because of safety issues. Yolo! (you only live once) I was so freaked out by the time I climbed up the giant ladder that I held on to the top for a good 15 seconds as my body slowly went down the slide without my arms. But make it down I did and can now say I survived the sketchy, rusty metal “slide of death.”
I was definitely sad to see Mo and Jason go at the end of the long weekend but God did a few things in my heart as they did. He showed me that I am never alone in my journey because of friends like them. He reminded me that I am loved and cared for just the way I am. And He gave me a renewed desire to be that for other people. I missed them the second they drove away but I am so so grateful for the time we did have!


A few weeks ago I had to opportunity to travel to Southern California and be a tourist. It was quite a treat for someone who has lived in Porvenir for three months. But in all seriousness, we went to San Diego and I felt like I was visiting it for the first time and it was wonderful! We began our day by praying Taylor off on a new chapter of her journey at home in one of the original train stations of California:
We then continued onto lunch at county offices of San Diego. It was indeed as random as it sounds but let me tell you, it rocked! At the very top of this old building is a cafe for the county workers that is government subsidized and super reasonably priced. Take advantage of your taxes! Eat here if you are ever in the area and try the pesto sandwich... and the salad and the bread pudding and the smoothies... We were all pleasantly surprised with the food and the amazing view of the entire harbor.
After we stuffed our faces on American food we then went to Balboa Park to walk it all off in the botanical gardens. Everything about the park is beautiful...

...the plants...
...the buildings...
...the free art museum...
...the people...
...and the wildlife.
(can you see the turtle?)

Not to mention the people I got to spend the day with. We all bonded as women so much throughout the day as we wandered around and discovered little treasures in San Diego. And Doug was a great tour guide and stand-in dad for the day. It was so refreshing! It is hard for me to explain but I felt like I got a breath of fresh air that has filled my ever since lungs that day. Praise God for fun days that involve being a tourist in your own state! 
He thought he was taking a picture of us when he snapped this one. =)
We finished the day off with pumpkin and eggnog treats at Starbucks before we crossed the border back home. Have I mentioned Mexicans don’t believe in Pumpkin or Eggnog as flavors? It makes the times we get it so exciting. I cherished that eggnog chai when I finally got it. =)

Soy Mexicana

I want so badly to be a true mexican that I claim I am one, when with the locals. They usually laugh and smile at my joke as they look at my white (even for a gringa) skin. So, when our pastor asks for volunteers to make tortillas for an outreach, I give a good college try at proving them wrong. I raise my hand in church with all of the other ladies who can make tortillas in their sleep. It is mere seconds before our pastor exclaims in the microphone, “Stephanie?! Puedes hacer tortillas?!” In a small (because I am now in the entire church’s spotlight), but stubborn voice (because I want to be mexican enough to not be singled out) I respond, “Si! Yo puedo!” He smiles at me with an incredulous and surprised expression and continues with the announcements.

Fast forward a few days and I am in my kitchen up to my forearms in flour and sticky dough. I make little balls and start rolling out the dough into thin circular(ish) sheets. When my first tortilla is more of a chip than the warm, floppy creation I was hoping for, I start to panic. “I can never be a mexican!” But I forge ahead, determined to not contribute to the outreach by buying tortillas down the street. “I am helping by making these myself, gosh darn it!” My second one rolls out easier and cooks soft. I breath a sigh of relief and finish making all my little balls into sheets. All the while, eating about five of them and making everyone try a piece because I am so excited that they worked. 

Fast forward again to that evening when I arrive at the church to deliver my two-kilos-of-flour-made-quesadilla-supplies. I continue to make everyone there try my tortillas to get a true mexican’s opinion of them. They were all shocked. They thought that when I had raised my hand in church I was going to take my pesos to the store and buy tortillas. But when I show up with fresh, still-warm tortillas (that taste like a real Mexican’s) I attain true Mexican status. And for once, when I claim “soy mexicana,” they agree.

Soccer Medals

After many bruises, missed passes, and sprints down the court to retrieve the balls that were stolen from me, we finished the season in third place. And we were awarded medals that are actually really amazing.
 The hard part of the whole thing was how embarrassed I was to go to the ceremony. All of our friends were there cheering in the stands and watching us as we walked out on the court to receive our medals and I wanted to crawl in a hole. Why you ask? Well let me explain how we got to third place. It was not because of the skills of our team or the death of another team. No, it was because there are a grand total of three girls teams in town to match the ten or so that the boys have. So we got third by default. And I was mortified that we were awarded for that. That is, until I thought more about it and the ceremony was over. I realized that instead of being embarrassed I should be proud that so many of us got out there and played. I should be excited for the relationships we have formed with the local girls. And I should be grateful for the bonding experience of going to the ceremony as a “team.” Especially since I love my medal now that I have it hanging in my room.

I also would like to mention that from playing soccer with the locals I have taken away something else... a gnarly battle wound that will not go away. It looked like this and got worse as the blood moved to my foot and ankle and the bruise turned more colors.

But after a month and a half I still have a huge knot in my muscle that makes my foot hurt all the time. Any suggestions from you doctor folk would be much appreciated! This is one medal I would not like to keep!

Find my Parent

When my mom sent me this picture a few weeks ago I decided to see if people could look at my face and find my parent in the picture. The majority, my local friends included, got it right on the first shot. Do you know which person in this picture is my parent?

Answer: My dad, rocking the plaid and a stripped tie, is the guy on the right. =)