by Felina Martens
Hi Sunset family! I am writing this two days after my dad, Jacob’s entry. Its amazing how eventful this week has been, and it’s only Monday. This trip has been really thought-provoking. Being my first time out of the country, I had the idea that Mexico would be like a whole new planet. A lot of things are different, as supposed, but it is amazing how similar some things are. People are still people. Buildings still buildings. And yet so very different. In comparison to Seattle, Puebla is an artist’s palette. Driving down the street, we see buildings in such a variety of colors – tangerine, lime green, magenta, scarlet, and a variety of other exotic shades found in craZ-art crayon boxes. Bright graffiti and murals splay across the concrete walls of the tiny shops and houses. On the tourism days, we stopped by a street called the Barrio de Artista. Shop after shop of beautiful oil paintings. People seem to appreciate a different sort of beauty here- less about looking up-to-date and modern, and more about things that matter. But beyond the artwork and color of the buildings, the people themselves are the true life and beauty of the city. It is a very bold and creative culture. Rachel and I talked with a kid on the football field named Angel who created a beautiful flower out of sports cones. People are far more friendly and outgoing. It feels like a family here, yet many people we met only yesterday.
On Sunday we had a breakfast of papaya, watermelon, and cantaloupe, as well as a dish called chilaquiles, which is basically tortilla chips soaked in warm salsa and covered with cheese and chicken. Afterwards we headed to the Glessner’s church, a rented twenty-six by twenty-six foot square on the upper level of a shopping center. As people slowly trickled in, we helped set up and talked to people in a combination of both English and Spanish. Worship is amazing no matter what the language. Many of the songs we sang sounded familiar- the Spanish translation of what we might sing at Sunset on any given day. Following worship, a newly-married couple spoke in front of the church to say farewell because their jobs were forcing them to move away from their church family. Afterwards, we had a long time of prayer. I don’t really have a word to describe it, but it was glorious. We prayed first by ourselves, then in pairs or groups, and ended with a man named Vincent from Puebla de Esperanza praying for our church in Spanish and Pastor Tyler praying for their church and city in English. Members of the church then read passages from Luke 4 and 19. The sermon that followed basically mapped out Luke. (Comienzos/Beginning 1:1-2:52, Galilea/Galilee 3:1-9:51, Viajando Con una Mission/Traveling with a Mission 9:52-19:44, en Jerusalen/ Jerusalem 19:45-21:38, and La Pasion/the Passion 22:1-24:53.) Though we couldn’t catch all of the sermon, Its amazing how much the word of God crosses language barriers and our group managed to hear and understand. We finished with communion, which was surprisingly similar to at Sunset. I never put much thought to the fact that believers across the world were doing the same thing. Afterwards we moved the chairs into a circle and talked with people for a while, much like our church’s dinner-in-the-parks. Some of the ladies of the church served lunch plates for everyone, inviting kids to go first, then women, by age, and then men. After lunch and a very quick cleanup we began final preparations for the crafts and decoration for the VBS. While cutting out verses, we all practiced English and Spanish. At one point I was actually asked why I wasn’t talking. That just shows how different this culture is. I’m usually a quiet person, but it was awesome to be told to talk more.
Just to give you an idea of the sort of time adjustment/ difference, our day Monday ran from around 4 o clock AM to roughly 9 o clock PM in Washington time, although some people aren’t sleeping as well as others. Monday was the first day of VBS. The theme was sort of international, so the kids had “passaportes” as name tags/souvenirs/ways to keep track of who has been where. Andrew dressed up as a captain of a boat, and Tuesday, Kelley is a Pirate who is attempting to attack Captain Andrew. There were about 25 kids today because tropical storm Earl has finally reached us, manifesting as a typical Pacific Northwest-style downpour. They don’t like sending their kids out in the rain. However, the kids we had were astonishingly well behaved. It is amazing how well even the little ones sat in their seats. No one was begging for anything, and everyone was happy with a snack of jicama with chili powder and lime, a granola bar, and water. All the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves and reacting to the lessons. The Spanish ladies leading this camp obviously are invested, so enthusiastic and show a heart for the children. They are quite inspiring.
Tomorrow being a new day, we ask for your prayers that attendance would raise despite whatever weather, that we would continue to be bold despite whatever language barriers may arise, that the kids would hear and understand the message and believe, and the little church would grow and spread the Good News. Pray that we would be renewed in energy. Thank you all for your support, prayer is just as vital to the mission field as being there.