Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back from a week in Guadalajara

Hi everyone,

Happy Easter (it's still Easter here). We've just returned from a 2100km round trip to Guadalajara. Here's a few pictures, some thoughts, and some prayer points.

The front of the main cathedral in Zacatecas

Yes - there were lots of cactuses (ii?)

It wasn't all hard work.

Jan Kennington (grey hair) at the MOCLAM stall.

We went to Guadalajara for VIVE09, a missions conference run by COMPA, the Mexican IFES affiliated group. It was kindof like MYC with a missions twist (if MYC means anything to you!) with about 700 people there.

Each day there were talks, seminars, meals, fun and lots of singing - which was good for us because it really helps us in our Spanish learning. There were a number of speakers, speaking on a range of topics from themes in John's Gospel to Being Christian in the professional workplace.

All sorts of things struck me, but one particular one was that there was a great emphasis in being a Christian within your profession, God has led you into that profession - make the most of it as a 'mission field'. It was interesting to hear that, whereas in Sydney we often hear the call to leave the profession you are in and become a 'professional' minister. I don't think I heard that issue raised once.

The conference was held at a hotel owned by the University of Guadalajara, situated about 30km from the city - so it was quite nice. As you'll see from a couple of photos, it wasn't all hard work.

We came back through the colonial mining town of Zacatecas (8,600ft) which was a great insight into some Mexican history.

Today is Easter Day, so we thought before we went to our own church we might go into the Catholic Cathedral in town and have a look at how Mexican Catholics 'do' Easter. And what did we find? Well, nothing really. There were lots of crowd barriers and extra seats seat up - but it was all for Friday - 'Black Friday' as it is called here. Their emphasis on Easter is on the death of Jesus - its almost as if the resurrection doesn't rate a mention. But while we thought about it, thats exactly what we see in all the religious art here - Jesus is either a baby (usually in the arms of Mary), dying or dead (often in the arms of Mary). He is practically never portrayed as risen or glorious - I'm sure there are lots of theological themes to chase through there.

Anyway - its been a big week. I (Pete) have been quite unwell along the way (heavy flu, then side effects from antibiotics) but am getting better now.

Here's a few prayer points.

- for a smooth trip and a safe time on the roads
- for a good opportunity to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones
- for a great insight into COMPA, how and where they are operating
- for the safe arrival of our boxes from Australia while we were away

- for a good week as a family this week - the girls are off school for another week
- for progress in Spanish, and for good decision making in terms of what language learning option to use next.
- that we'd be gracious and gentle as we seek to proclaim the news of the risen Jesus.

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