Friday, June 26, 2009

The cat performance

This is it... I did it...I performed as a cat in Spanish!

As part of the celebrations of Day of the Child at Miriam's school, a group of mothers (and one father) performed a play about a cat and some mice, and I was the cat. I learnt all my lines in Spanish (and it was not just miow!), but was not looking forward to wearing a huge foam and fur mascot costume (complete with enormous foam head, gloves and foam feet) in 35+ degrees.

And just to make things even more difficult, the head only had a tiny opening for the cats mouth for me to see, hear and speak through. This meant, I couldn't see very much, I could barely hear the other dialogue, and for anyone to hear me, I had to shout. But wait there's more: the mice actors were in the room - their mouse house - with the audience, but the cat stays outside. So the difficulties that I faced were trying to work out where the other actors were up to without being able to see or hear them properly, trying to manouver my enormous cat body in a small space to look into the mouse house, and delivering lines in Spanish, correctly pronounced at shouting volume, all while sweating copiously and smelling everybodies sweat who'd worn the costume before me!

However, moments before the opening curtain, someone had the brilliant idea that I could act, but somebody else could say my lines so that they could be heard! I breathed a sigh of relief (amidst the stink of the cat head) and the show went on.

The kids loved it, the cat was their favorite, the teachers and parents were very sympathetic with my sweaty state, and full of admiration of my performance and that I got involved when it was so difficult, and I had a great time. I'd forgotten how much I love to perform, and it was fun to be involved and work with the other mums.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

The end of the school year

Tomorrow marks the end of the 08/09 school year here in Mexico. There are various class parties etc on, although with 2 days to go K and L are still getting homework to do! School starts again some time in late August (although we're not exactly sure of the date), so the girls have about 2 months off school. We're going away for 2 weeks, and then we'll be at home, getting stuck into language learning. K and L will have 4 x 1hr lessons per week, S will have 3 x 2hr lessons per week and I'm going to intensive mode for August, 4hrs/day x 5 days per week for a month!

Hopefully this will be a big step up in ability for all of us.

On the 'work' front it looks like I'll be going to a large island south of Florida for a week to visit with the Creation to New Creation course in September. There is a seminary there that wants to take on the courses for their students, and I am going to go over and share with the students and faculty the details of the first course. It is a great opportunity. The biggest challenge will be that the whole thing will be in Spanish - so I really have to get cracking. I will have a translator with me but it is much better if I can try and do things myself.

This week's picture comes from my trip to Mexico City last month. It's the main cathedral in the Zócalo (the main plaza) in Mexico City. Construction of the cathedral began in 1573 with the Spanish making a point by building it right on top of an Aztec temple!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

God prepares good works

I had one of those moments when God very clearly showed me that he is the one who prepares our good works in advance (Ephesians 2:10).

I was sitting in Bible study feeling very grumpy, and like I didn't want to be there. I'd had the token greeting with the people beside me, and then sat uncomfortably in silence. The conversation went on around me, but it was too fast and I had no hope of understanding, let alone joining in.

But as the group went on, I remembered that at times I'd had similar feelings about my Spanish Bible study group in Melbourne. And that was one of the most valuable groups I've been part of. So I worked hard at humbling my attitude, and prayed that I'd be patient, and kept listening out for the occasional word that I understand.

At the end of the group I helped to serve dinner, then sat with a lady away from the rest of the group. She is the mother of the host and I'd spoken with her once before. In an attempt to make conversation, I asked her (in English) what she thought of the course that we had just finished. She was full of admiration for all that she'd been hearing about and the transformation of her son since he'd become a Christian. Then she said, "But I am a catholic. I am too old to change". I desperately wanted her to know Jesus, and I wanted to respectful to this kind, older lady. So as the conversation went on, I shared with her a conversation that I'd had with Miriam a few days earlier.

"Mummy do good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell?"
I replied, "Do you think you're good or bad?"
"I don't know."
"Do you think you're good enough for God?"
"Is there anyone who's good enough for God"
"Jesus is."
"That's right. That's why when Jesus died, his death was good enough to pay for my punishment."
"So how does anyone go to heaven?, I asked Miriam.
"By trusting Jesus", says Miriam with a smile. "So does that mean that if a bad person trusts Jesus they can go to heaven?"
"That's exactly right!" "What about if a good person doesn't trust Jesus?" I asked her.
"They go to hell."
"Yep", was all I needed to say.

I think it's easier to say hard things clearly out of the mouth of a 5 year old.

But the lesson that I learnt (again) is how much God prepares our good works for us. I was feeling like it was a complete waste of time being in the group. But God has his plans, and I just need to be patient to see how he will use me.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday school camp and Moore College news

As graduates of Moore Theological College, Sarah and I were both really encouraged to read the latest 'Moore Matters'. There is a particularly good spread on where Moore graduates are serving around the world.

If you haven't read it yet, can I encourage you to do so.

On the home front, we have two weeks of school left before the long Summer holidays. I (Pete) finish my current Spanish course at Universidad Autonomos de Nuevo Leon this week, with a final exam. I'm still working out what my next step in language learning will be. Hopefully an intensive during the Summer period then another Uni class.

Last weekend the we joined 50 or s0 4-12 year olds on our Sunday school camp. It was 40+C and exhausting! We camped at the 'weekend house' of a family - and as you can see, they had a pool. I became the lifeguard as most of the kids overestimated their swimming ability and there wasn't much supervision. As you can see from the picture though, the big danger was not drowning, but being squashed!

It was a real cultural experience for us. The first kid's talk started at 11:45pm on Friday night, and we charged around all day on Saturday - in Spanish of course. We were absolutely exhausted , but it meant that the girls were able to connect a bit with some of the kids in their Sunday school classes.

Oh, and by the way, did we tell you that we are expecting?? The latest additions to our family should arrive in the next week or so, as the hummingbird that has taken up residence in our tree hatches her eggs. We think it will be twins! Very exciting.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My first 'work trip'

I (Pete) have just come back from my first 'work trip'. Once I start doing more MOCLAM work I'll be doing quite a few of these, so it was a good taste of what is to come.

I went to Mexico City (called D.F. by Mexicans) for a 2 day conference promoting the 'Christianity Explored' course. The course author, Rico Tice has been travelling around Latin America for 5 weeks with Grahame and Patty Scarratt promoting the course and encouraging people to evangelise their friends using Mark's gospel.

Last week the roadshow came to Monterrey and I then joined in on the trip to D.F. 

It was a great couple of days for quite a few reasons.

1. I got to hear some really encouraging talks in English (Rico spoke in English and was translated). It was refreshing to be fed in my own language!

2. I had a great couple of days of fellowship with Rico as we compared notes and enjoyed a massive steak at an Argentinian steak house.

3. I had a great time staying with fellow CMS missos Charlie and Kathryn Fletcher. Charlie works with COMPA, the Mexican IFES group. It was encouraging and refreshing to spend time with them, hear what is happening in COMPA and be a sounding board for some exciting developments concerning their long-term staffworker training. 

4. Perhaps most of all, it was great to meet a whole lot of Mexican people who were keen to take God's word seriously and put in the hard yards of teaching it to others. I was able to discuss ways in which the Moore College courses could be used in various scenarios - including as the base syllabus for a new seminary which is being planned for Mexico. This was a long conversation and would never have happened via email or phone. It was one of those classic cases where you have to hang around with people for a while, and the conversations arise.

The only down side to the whole thing was that I came home to find everyone sick with runny noses. It seems to be an affliction which is hitting many people in Monterrey at the moment (no - its not the swine flu, just a common cold) so I am awaiting my turn.

By the way, many of you will know that we are here because CMS is supporting us. I hope you can see that even though it costs them a fair bit of money, trips like this and the positives that come of it are well worth it. Of course CMS needs supporters so they can look after us, so can I remind you of the current CMS appeal