When we were living in the United States, we found most days to be homeostatic. The alarm went off, the coffee pot turned on and our daily routines ensued – Eric off to work at the gym and I worked busily selling books or teaching Zumba. It was a reliable life, one where we could go to the store knowing that there would be milk in the refrigerators and avocados on the shelves. When we were told something in business, we could be 90% certain it was going to happen. When we asked someone for directions, we could be assured that if they responded they would actually know the place we wanted to go and how to get there. (In the Mexican culture, people don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they won’t ever tell you something you don’t want to hear, including that they don’t know the place you are asking directions for.)
Living in Cozumel , life is like a carnival. There are moments that our days and our hearts are so full we glow like the sequins on an acrobat’s costume. And then there are those times when the spot lights turn off, everything goes dark and all that we have planned and worked for comes to an abrupt halt and we wonder what to do next. Our days are either very high or very low, there is really no “in-between”.
So much has happened over this past month and a half, that there is simply too much to tell in just one blog, so I am going to divide the blog into two parts: Holiday Happenings and January 15th to present.
Christmas in Cozumel
Celebrating Christmas, New Years and, a new holiday for us, Dia de los Reyes Magos (3-Kings Day) in Cozumel was an incredible blessing. The holidays revolve around family and fiestas. On any given day or night in December, one could go to the square and take in the spirit of Christmas with children dancing and singing on stage, families playing round the Christmas tree, and fire dancers and puppet shows entertaining the crowds. This season brought about abundant blessings. And, as I write now, I see that God’s gift to us this Christmas was the opening of more doors for His ministry.
We had the opportunity to serve in Las Fincas with some incredible people including Ken Homann, founder of His Life Ministries, Mexico and Kathy McGinn one of the members of It’s All About The Kids Cozumel. We also found ourselves back with the children at the orphanage, Ciudad de Los Angeles, planting corn, tomatoes, peppers and more with our new friend David Rapp.
On December 26, 19 Texans and 20 or so gringos (Mexican term for white people) drove by caravan on a dirt and deeply rutted road to the swampy park in Las Fincas – chairs, speakers, coolers, games, food, and presents for 500 children in tow. After setting up roughly 300 chairs, a few Spanish speaking volunteers clamored inside a VW Bug, replete with speakers the size of Manhattan tied to its roof, and drove down each dirt inlet to invite everyone to a pasada in the park. Abuelos, padres and ninos (grandparents, parents and children) all stopped whatever they were doing and walked from their houses to the park. They came in droves walking through puddles, not mystified in the least, to partake in the festivities; gunny sac races, hoops contests, break dancing, making salvation bracelets, and a lunch of tamales, soda, and cake for dessert. It was really quite an amazing feat, and only one of several events that His Life Ministries put on during the week. What struck me most was, when I was leaving a grandmother stopped me and hugged me in the middle of the festivities. She wanted to thank me for the bibles that she and her husband received that day. I asked her if I could take her picture, and with pride she held her Bible to her heart and told her husband to display his too.
Dia de los Reyes Magos – 3 Kings Day
Dia de los Reyes Magos is a grand holiday in Cozumel. This holiday commemorates the 3 Magi when they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn baby Jesus. In celebration, children traditionally leave their shoes outside, sometimes stuffed with hay, then go to sleep hoping for a visit from the 3 Kings. In the morning, evidence of their visit may be left on the lawn in the form of a mound of blue dung from the one king who rides the elephant. The hay that the children left in their shoes has been “eaten” and in its place toys and gifts abound.
The families in Las Fincas are in no way financially able to purchase gifts for their children, so this amazing group of volunteers, It’s All About The Kids Cozumel, founded by Susan Bonnett, rallies together each year by asking for donations for toys and money to provide the children with presents, and their parents with food on Three Kings Day. After hearing about a crazy bald gringo who is building a community garden in Las Fincas, aka Eric, member, Katy McGinn, decided she needed to have us on her team. So, on January 4 we once again caravanned out onto the dirt roads of Las Fincas. It was quite a sight. The first two vehicles were overflowing with soccer balls. The next six cars were loaded with over 400 children’s gifts and the last two were filled with 200 bags of rice, tomato puree, tuna, and 400 oranges plus gifts for moms and babies. We parked side by side, opened our trunks full of presents and were blessed by the beautiful smiles from the children and parents.
Eric and I want to thank you all for your financial support and prayers. If you donate would like to donate towards 7 Day Hero Mexico please click on the link below.
John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” We certainly feel your love and are thankful we can pass on this love in the name of Jesus.
Check in next week for Part II of La Vida Es Un Carnival to hear what we are doing at the orphanage, Las Fincas Community Gardens, our second church and our move.