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Saturday 17 Sep
Guanajuato Mexico, Mexico

Soap and Beans...and Carmelo

Saturday.

Highlight? Everything. I couldn't sleep very well, but could care less about my comforts after a day and afternoon "such as this." I went to bed with conviction and arose with a heart immersed and determined for action. I got up, took a shower, and went to the roof of our hostel overlooking this colorful captivating city of Guanajuato. There Lisa and I had the conversation I was longing to have the night before. We spoke of the acknowledgement our hearts had found for the poor on the streets of Guanajuato. We spoke of the Spirit and the will given to us to act but how many times we choose to consume ourselves in our own little worlds asking for His will and provision when in reality it lies in the eyes of the people that surround us. After reading from Ephesians Chapter 3 and praying for His grace, we came to an agreement or a plan of how to spend our day. Instead of buying more things that we truly do not need we decided to spend some of our money on crackers and juice to hand-out to people in need. I can't even describe my gratitude that Lisa would want to do this with me inspite of the "vacation time" we had but I smile as I write this knowing we both could find greater joy in serving His children than doing anything else. Having Lisa with me kept things in check. Instead of buying mass amounts of crackers and juice at the Oxxo (like I probably would have lol) we bought enough for 7 people at a time and ended up returing one more time. Oh the people and conversations we had... We first met a woman and her two sons Antonio and Jose. Antonio was a 4th grader, and Jose was 4 years old, and Maria her daughter also showed up a few moments later. We gave them the comida and began the conversation. Now Lisa doesn't speak much Spanish so most of the time I was the only one talking. Our goal was for each encounter to be more than a hand-out but a sincere encounter demonstrating genuine love through time and open ears and hearts that wanted to hear a story and not just give out of pity, but compassion. The first talk with this family we didn't get to pray but we talked about their life and Lisa and I prayed together afterwards. Jose the 4 year old asked me, "Tienes novio?" I chuckled and said, "No, tienes novia?" He laughed and said, "dos!" Haha. The mom comes to the city every week to sell gum for money to buy food for her children. They all come on the weekend to sit and walk the streets in hopes of earning a sliver of what they need to sustain themselves. Our encounter made me wonder if they saw us as different, if they saw the love in our hearts that we had for them or if it mattered. We kept walking for a long time away from the centro but decided to head back there weren't as many people. Lisa spotted the next person god wanted us to love. Guadalupe. She was sitting at the base of a staircase in an alleyway that headed to one of the many tunnel roads through the city. She was selling gum too. We sat beside her on the steps and talked for about a half hour. She has 4 children. One in 6th grade, one in 4th grade, one that is 4 years old, and one that is 3 years old. Her husband has a tumor in his stomach that has left him unable to work for 5 years. They live on a ranch (campo) about an hour away from the city. When her children are in school during the week she comes to the city to sell gum. It costs about 17 pesos to buy and she sells it for 30 pesos-- the money gained she said is used to buy "todo"--"jabones, frijoles, todo que necesitamos" (soap, beans, everything that we need). Soap and Beans. And I complain of my food choices sometimes. Or if I don't shower every day. Soap and beans. To make make matters even more difficult she bears much pain in her back that prevents her from reaping what she could on her ranch. We told her what we did and where and why and asked if she believes in God. She said she was Catholic. We asked if we could pray with her. She accepted. Lisa prayed in Ingles y yo en Espanol (or at least I attempted to) I couldn't help but notice her watery eyes as I told her we would continue to pray for her as we left.  The next person was Juana, a 30 year old woman with three boys in the same situation but with no husband. We prayed with her too. Then we came across a little girl. She was SUPER quiet I could hardly understand her. She kept saying what I thought was "pez-cito" or "little fish", so as you can imagine I was confused. We offered the crackers and juice and she took it, but kept looking at us like we were the strangest things she ever saw as we communicated with her in Spanish. lol. I guess I need more practice or maybe I am a little crazy. Later I realized she was saying "pescito" which means "a little money". Whoops. haha. We caught up with other from our group after trying to buy some "molletes" (cinnamon sugar covered bread) but they weren't really what we expected. TIM. This is Mexico. haha I'm starting a new saying. It was still good though. The others hadn't eaten so we went to a cafe and had a frappe that was about half the size of a melon. haha. Afterwards Lisa and I wanted to look for a few Christmas presents and also give out our last juice and crackers. After getting a few things we found our man, Carmelo, a 57 year old man without any legs, sitting on a skateboard right outside the teanguis (our version of a mall here--it's like a train station with stores on the second piso and little food venders in the middle main floor). This was probably my favorite conversation of the day. He was so funny. He joked about Lisa and her Spanish abilities of talking and said she looked 15. haha. But beyond the jokes he told us about living in Texas for a while and the difficulties of his life now. No family but a sister. He showed us the calusses on his hands from moving himself along the streets in his worn down white gray gloves. When we gave him the juice and crackers (which he pretty much inhaled), he kept asking for a coke! hehe. As our conversation continued Andres and Katie and Anna and Himan saw us and Andres and Katie joined us for the rest of the convo. Carmelo asked for a picture so Andres took it but he didn't know it wasn't automatic. :( aww. Katie bought him the coke though. :) Before we left we asked to pray for him and he said yes. We joined hands, mine clenched tightly around his rough dried fingers and he said, "Estamos como familia". We are like family. I attempted to pray again in Spanish and luckily Andres finished the prayer with most definitely less choppier words than mine, but I coud see the gratitude in his eyes that someone took the time to hear the struggle and sit beside him if only for a moment.

1 Comment for this Travel blog entry

Ranee Says:

2 October

Chels!!!!!!!!!!! So proud of you sweet girl! Praying God's love will continue to shine through you to a world of hurting people. Keep telling the story Chels...one heart at a time. Love you!!

cparks Replies:

6 November

Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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