Mexico Day 4 – WOW!

Thursday – Day 4
(shopping, trash dump, Monticiello, Caprobi, gang area)

Today for my run I went solo and I jammed out to Toby Mac’s old Momentum cd – one of my all time favorites and I hadn’t heard it in forever so it was a pretty rockin’ run 🙂

I wasn’t feeling breakfast but hung out with the youth group and finished making arrangements for staying another week. wow – unbeleivable that I’m going to get to stay a whole-nother week!!! Because seriously, I cannot even imagine going home tomorrow!

I pulled another girl stunt today – pretty soon you guys will want to kick me out of the girls club 🙂
We go downtown for some shopping and Haylie and I head to the ATM to get me some cash. ugh…
I put my credit/debit card in (mind you it’s my oNLY one – we don’t keep credit cards so this is IT) and ask for $150 thinking that’s what I’ll get,
well it turns out this ATM is going to go ahead and exchange the money to Mexican – I get $15 bucks! not $150 – which would be fine except I DON’T GET MY STINKN CARD BACK!!
Yeah – evidently here, after you get you receipt you’re not done at the ATM – you then have to tell it you are finished to get your card back. Of course, Haylie and I are chatting away and I guess I just assume when I got my receipt that I also got my card – but nnnnnnnnnNO. geez looweez. I was really ready to shop too! and I did a little, but I’ll definitely be needing to go back!

By the way – downtown Jerez is BEEEEEEEEEEAUTIFUL!!! I guess I just heart ALL downtowns 😉

so far the most depressing thing I’ve seen here.
All of the villages we go to are thick with poverty, but this was like nothing I’ve ever seen. You’ll get a better idea when I get my pics up – but let me just say – it was sad… so very sad.
The trash dump is a place where not only trash is dumped – but people – families – also live there. We get there to take the people candy and water and we see people in groups all over just working together sifting through the trash and getting out the recyclable stuff to measure for sale, separating different types of trash into piles and then I notice a couch and as I look around I’m seeing these make-shift houses. These people have made their homes out of trash and they just spend their days there – waiting for dump trucks to come and never taking showers or brushing their teeth. The children are filthy and there is no water, air conditioning, or ANY of the convenient comforts we have and take advantage of every day. We’re taking water around to the people and I’m asking them “con permiso – photo?” – may I take a picture of your home, etc… they are so kind – smiling and offering other things to take pictures of. They are so proud of their homes… it’s all they have.
Then a dump truck comes and all the people just stop what they’re doing and cease the trash-gathering to watch the truck and see where it is going to park and dump. Once the truck driver settles on a place – from all directions, the mexican trash dump residents start dashing – and just running to get to the truck so they can be close when the trash is released. Each runner has a bag and a stick for sifting. I’m holding up my fancy little iphone taking a pic of the truck when this filthy Mexican man runs as hard and fast as he can right by me with his stick and bag – and I feel the wind as he flies by me – and the tears just come. I get this rush and immediately think those words in my head – “except for God’s grace”. There is no reason and nothing that I have done to be so ridiculously blessed. I could have easily been raised in that trash dump instead of with a pool in my back yard and except for the grace of God I could be that filthy Mexican man running to get to the best trash first and he could be the one with the iphone. It was overwhelming to think how unworthy I am of al I have – to even get to brush my teeth this morning and have a glass of water any time I want it.
Also, Haylie gave up her flip flops to a little girl that was barefoot while we were there… and she had just been complaining to Nathan earlier how she wanted some new ones – and here was this little girl who had nothing whatsoever on her feet. We were all definitely moved and I for one am grateful to have seen first hand what these people do without. My heart was filled both with gratitude for the abundance of grace and blessing that God has poured out on me as well as grief and unbearable sympathy for these people who call the trash dump their home… it definitely hit me, but I’m not sure it will ever sink in fully… nor will I ever forget this day.

Later we head to MONTICIELLO – a rancho that has a simple playground that the ministry built for them last summer. It was neat to actually see the playground after hearing Haylie talk about it last summer 🙂 I loved this rancho! We had so much fun with the kids. I played cut the cake with all the girls for a while, then played on the slide with a beautiful little boy named Manuel and another lad whose name I can’t recall. I got some great pics and we just had so much fun just loving on the kids so mucho! The kids got so excited when we got the Nemo pinata out and they go to take some wacks at it – and you can imagine they attacked when the candy started falling! Oh they were so fun… again I hated to leave…

Then we headed to CAPROBI – another rancho and that is where I met Renaldo. He and his buddies loved to take pictures and then have me show them on my camera – they just laugh and laugh! He was such a sweety – he even showed me how to play this marble game that I think he called the Latino? – Anyway, I was pretty horrible at it but I did get a little better after some practice. There was lots of soccer playing by the boys, but the girls mostly sat in the shade together and chatted 🙂 We gave them all lots of candy and I snuck some extra candy to Renaldo right before we left 🙂

Tonight we had a great time of sharing and one of those little God things happened 🙂 Mindy was sharing some great stuff and she started crying and said how God led her to this verse that talks about forgetting the past…and I start thinking hmmm – wouldn’t that be weird if it was the same verse I talked to Haylie about yesterday… so she goes on and says it’s in Isaiah and I’m like no way – it definitely is!
See there’s this verse that my sister Micah put in a bulletin about a year ago. I read it and LOVED it but was in a hurry so I just copied onto a desktop sticky note for later. Since then, God has put it in my heart three times to pass on to others (college Sunday School group, dance team, and Kairos prision ministry). Each time I have just seen Him comfort and strengthen people with this verse. It is always so applicable when God brings it back up and just such a blessing. So about this time, Mindy is saying she’s not sure where the verse is found and Haylie and I are looking at each other like deers in headlights because I was JUST telling her that God is brought that verse back to my heart and that I thought I should give it to Mike as an encouragement in his ministry efforts. .. and I open my bible and read the verse to Mindy and she’s like yeah that’s it, well then Merlyn says she just read that verse too and before long it is speaking to all of our hearts and a couple girls from the youth are crying and sharing how it applies to them, and so on and so on…. wow 🙂

After devotion, it was getting later and time to go to the late night crowd – – we loaded up some corn that was shucked earlier and headed down to the gang area to give them a little blessing. It’s like a delicacy for them to eat cooked corn smeared with mayonnaise – weird, huh? It’s so neat how when we pulled up – (this has happened a couple times) and they see the vehicles and start telling each other “greengos, greengos!!” Like hey the white people are here! 🙂 and the come rushing over to get fed and to see their smiles is just more than I can express to you. Not only the gang guys but also women and children start coming out from all over. We are surrounding the trailer and pulling the corn out of the hot hot hot water, pulling the silk off, and slapping the mayonnaise on – but we can hardly do it all fast enough because they are just going through it like crazy. Needless to say we only made two stops in the gang area and ran out! They were LOVING the corn! The pics are good of the children eating and smiling 🙂 David – Mike’s right hand guy – used to be a leader of one of the gangs down there and it was neat to see him hollaring at the other guys and I wondered what they thought about him now – how he is so totally changed and works for the greengos that love Jesus – and how he doesn’t do that gang thing anymore but now brings them corn 🙂

I spent the end of the day downloading pics from 3 other girls’ cameras and then KRRRRRASHED!!!

Today was such a full day – so much to take in, so many lessons and experiences… I need time to fully receive it all – just overwhelming 🙂

LYRICS on my mind today:

Heaven by Birds of Pray

I’ll believe it when I see it for myself…
I don’t need noone
to tell me about heaven,
I look at my daughter … and I believe
I don’t need no proof
when it comes to God and truth
I can see the sun set… and I perceive.

ISAIAH 43:18-19
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

(soooooooooooooooooooo good – just refreshes me to even think about it )

running in Mexico and blaring “Momentum”!!
hanging out in downtown & getting a cute purse & bracelet
The trash dump – and grace in general
realizing Mindy was talking about the Isaiah verse that Haylie and I had just talked about 🙂
the ranchos & the corn stops – so amazing today – just so many smiles I saw today 🙂

seeing people run to a dump truck like it’s all they had to look forward to all day.

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