Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting back to 'normal'

After 2 weeks of swine flu lockdown and a week of 'all over the place', we feel like we are slowly getting back to normal. (Just in time for the summer holidays which are rapidly approaching!)

As you can see by the picture a new item has been added to the school uniform, although most of the kids take it off after walking through the front gate. Swine flu is still a big topic of conversation here, and many end of year school events like concerts, presentations and sports finals have been cancelled due to the government restricting gatherings of people.

School has been extended by a week to try and make up for lost ground, and I (Pete) am having extra classes at Uni to make up for the ones that were lost during the lockdown.

At church we have stated the Rick Warren '40 days of purpose' program, which means small groups have been formed for the 6 week period only. Sarah's group is on Monday night, starts at 9pm and finishes with a massive meal! Mine is on Tuesday nights  - and our pastor makes a guest appearance each week via video! Its been interesting to see how they 'do' small groups here in Mexico.

Tomorrow we welcome Grahame and Patty Scarratt to stay with us for a week or so, and we'll also be hosting Rico Tice (of 'Christianity Explored'). The course has been translated into Spanish and there is a conference here this week promoting it, and the Moore College courses. We're really looking forward to having the Scarratts here - it will be great see have some familiar faces around.

We're also getting back to 'normal' in that we're both feeling overwhelmed and inadequate in our language proficiency. Its going to take a long time!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The terror of hospitality

In my Ashbury days, this was a completely foreign concept. What could be terrifying about hospitality? Well now I know.

Inviting someone to do something with me is the scariest thing in my life at the moment. Who will I invite? What will I invite them to? What time should I make it? What food should I serve? What are the right snacks and drinks to get? What will my kids do? What will their kids do? How can I help the kids to play together when their languages barely overlap, let alone knowing each other as friends? Will it be too unpleasantly hot to feel comfortable sitting and chatting? Should I try and speak in Spanish, and have this awkward, frustratingly slow, superficial conversation, or do I try and build the friendship more and use English? And how do I arrange it - am I brave enough to use the phone?

Can you see why I find hospitality terrifying?

Fortunately, God in His kindness has shown me a way through the terror. Notice I said "through", not "around". I still experience the terror, but I can do the hospitality as well. The way through has been in small steps, and to trust that being obedient to God is the right way to go. I know that hospitality, and serving people, and building relationships with people to love them, is what God wants, and so I do it.

Apart from hosting a birthday party for Miriam (which kept me awake at night!), the first thing I initiated was an activity outside my home. Then I invited a school mum to come for the afternoon. This gave me confidence to invite another mum for the afternoon. She and her whole family ended up staying for a spontaneous dinner. This gave me confidence to invite another family for lunch (which ended up being dinner at their brother's place with a pool).

I still feel the terror. I still feel that I get lots of things wrong. But I do it. And I'm learning as I go. And God has never let me down.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Still in lockdown

The school closure has been extended to Monday. The vibe in the home school is getting a little strained and hot nights making it difficult to sleep is not helping.

Pete goes back to his language school tomorrow (Friday) and Sarah is very thankful that her language tutor is brilliant. After two lessons I'm starting to feel like I'm making progress again.

God is kind.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A week on...

We've been in 'lockdown' mode for a week now. Each morning has been school at home for the kids, then various activities in the afternoon - none of which include going and seeing people. Sarah and I both feel like our Spanish is suffering, because we're not seeing anyone.

Today we had family church at home. Each of the girls presented a Sunday school lesson, then we prayed for our fellow missionaries around the world. Good fun - and we even got to do some craft.

We are expecting that in the next 24 hours the government will announce whether we all go back to school and Uni on Wednesday, or whether the lockdown is extended. My hunch is it will be back to work, as the number of cases here is leveling off and I think the economy is suffering as well! Its all very well for the government to say 'everyone just stay at home for 5 days', but in a country where a lot of people are on the breadline, that's a tough ask.

Its also been a tough few days because its starting to get really hot. Over 40C every day now, and the nights don't cool down much. We do have a/c in the house, but only in the bedrooms, and electricity here is pretty expensive so we can't run them on and on. We're drinking heaps of water - about 20L between us every two days. We know that because we have to go to the shop and keep buying it. Fortunately, water is cheap - about $2.50 for 20 litres.

So now we wait - to see what the government will say.