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The Virgin of Guadalupe

Yesterday, Mexicans celebrated the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. They say that millions of people made the pilgrimage to the Basilica where she first appeared to the indian Juan Diego. Here is the CNN story about it. Jim Cottrill has a good historical article about it on his blog.

It is a lot different when you live it and see it. We have visited the Basilica once, and it is a huge place. I couldn’t imagine being there when millions of people are there. When we visited, and we saw a few people crawling on their knees, but nothing, I’m sure, like the sight yesterday of 4 million people worshipping. There are shrines everywhere you go. Every taxi has a picture of her in it. We saw hundreds of people lined up to ride their bikes to the Basilica on Sunday. We heard the canons and fireworks on Sunday night. I wonder what Jesus thinks about it.

When you read stories like this one, you can’t help but think that it is a worship of someone other than Jesus. For many Mexicans, the Virgin is God. She is the one they worship more than Jesus. She is part of the trinity. In a culture that is very adoring of their mothers, one could expect to see some of this. I cannot help but wonder how all of this came about. Where does this devotion come from? It is definitely an interesting cultural phenomenon. It is a big challenge for evangelicals here in Mexico. Please pray for us as we try to minister in this culture.

Traffic

Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Mexico. It is not a day out of school. It is not a day off of work. The day after Thanksgiving is nothing special for Mexicans.

So, we decided it would be a gret day to go to Six Flags, which is located about 15 miles from our house. So, the Torbert family, Sori (a secretary at the mission office), and Janell, Nathan, and I piled into the Torbert’s van and went to Six Flags. We had a great time there. It was Nathan’s first trip to an amusement park, and he was really good (as usual).

Northwest team get-togethers 028We finally got into the van to go home around 5:30 pm. It was Friday evening rush hour, and almost 4 hours later, we arrived at home. It was the worst traffic I have ever seen or been in. There was no accelerating for hours. We were stuck. We tried our best to make the most of it, but we were wiped out by the time we got home. Unbelievable! That’s life in one of the largest cities in the world.

Tula

We went with some of the young people of the church today to a mission church in Tula. We led the entire service. I preached. We at tacos. Then, we visited the ruins that are there.

On the way, a lady hit us while we were driving. I stopped at a speed bump. She didn’t see me, and she hit us. I got out to check it out, and everything was fine. there wasn’t even a scratch on the car, even though she hit us pretty hard (squealing tires, loud bang, and everything).

Then, we had 14 young people at our youth meeting tonight. We are planning a Christmas party for the 11th of December. They are really excited about it. Overall, it was a very good day. I’m exhausted, though.

Halloween in Mexico: observations

Halloween is becoming increasingly popular in this part of Mexico. Many things that are popular in the US are immitated here. It seems that halloween has been imported into Mexico City, and in our neighborhood, we have noted more decorations for halloween than for the more traditional “Day of the Dead.” Here are some observations on hallween in Mexico City:

  • They don’t say “Trick or Treat”, they say, “Queremos halloween” (We want halloween). There is also a song that is sung that has something to do with our “little skull” being hungry and asking if there is candy around here.
  • The kids do not really go to individual houses to trick or treat, they just walk up the street saying “We want halloween.” If a house shows interest, they go to that house and usually sing the song.
  • Costumes are optional
  • Most costumes are witches or evil related. There aren’t many Power Rangers or other kid related costumes
  • Houses get decorated a lot with pumpkins and ghosts.
  • Trick or Treating really picks up after 9 pm.
  • Mostly, the kids are really pretty polite and say thank you.
  • After halloween, Christmas begins (probably because they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving)
  • The Christian church and Christians in general are adamantly opposed to Halloween here in Mexico.

The wedding

Iz and LupWell, the wedding was interesting. We arrived at 2:30, which was when they told everyone to get there, even though we didn’t plan on starting until 3 (That’s the way it works in Mexico). We helped set up the sound system and then ran around looking for people that needed to be informed about things in the ceremony. Then it started raining. The reception was going to be outside under a big tent. Three o’clock rolled around, and the bride’s dad still wasn’t there. We waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. We waited until 4:15 at least to start the wedding without him. The groom and I stood under a bus stop waiting for him in the rain. So, we started without the father of the bride. The ceremony was fine. It wasn’t too difficult. There are always things that don’t go according to plan, but it was okay.

CakeThen came the reception. It was raining, so the people couldn’t get to the tent without getting wet. They had to sweep the water off of the basketball court where all the tables were. Then we waited again. The food took a long time to get there. We didn’t eat until at least 6:30. Janell and I had to go home to get more clothes for Nathan because by this time it was freezing outside. So, we came back, and the food was there. We had carnitas, rice, and some spicy chiles. Then, we were drinking this red soda. Janell had Nathan on her lap, and he decided to grab her cup, spilling the soda on her and him. It was all over him. Luckily, it wasn’t cold because there was no ice (They don’t use ice much here). Whew! We survived, and it ended up being a fun day.

A wedding ceremony

Today, I will perform my first wedding ceremony. One of the students from the seminary is getting married, and they asked me to do it. I’m nervous, of course. I have never been to a Mexican wedding, but I am going to officiate one. It should be interesting. I am sure it will be like nothing I have ever been to. I’ll write here again after the wedding to let you know how it went.

Big bug

Today, I was in the bathroom, and I saw the biggest bug I’ve ever seen. It was disgusting. So, Janell handed me some spray to kill it with. I took a picture of the crime scene. It was disgusting. I have never seen a bug so gross. Most of you already know how much of a girly man I am when it comes to bugs, so this one about made me crazy. Well…we killed it. Hopefully, we don’t see any more like that one again.

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