Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Beyond the GPS

Cocoyol (coco - joel'). It isn't on google maps, but it certainly exists.  It took us over 3 hours to get there, which included a few wrong turns.  It was raining during about half of our trip and raining when we arrived. Why did we go?  To be part of a new work going on in Yucatan to start or "plant" new churches in the Mayan language.  We are what you might call the "link" - hooking up those who have a vision to see the message of Jesus brought to people in their own language with a group of believers who have a desire and commitment to start a church, oh, and that speak both Maya and Spanish (that part is important!).

The Maya have been in math & history books, in several tourist guides and even in Hollywood, but I don't think the current culture or people get that much publicity.  In Cocoyol, we saw a snapshot of life for this indigenous people group.
It was a bit like entering any other small town at first glance.  After we found the correct road, we traveled under a canopy of trees, that would have provided shade had it not been raining, and arrived at the "center of town" where the Catholic church and the local school were situated on two joining sides of  a basketball court.  The team had arrived before us, visiting the 100 families that make up this Maya community and letting them know about the event. Upon returning, they got to work setting up a portable screen and projector to show the Jesus film, not in Spanish but in Maya.  "Wait!" you're saying, "aren't you living in Mexico?" Yes, yes we are.  Although Spanish is the national language of Mexico, there are, according to Wikepedia, over 6 million indigenous Maya in 4 countries!  And one of those is Mexico.

While the setup was taking place, I watched, snapped some photos, and spoke with the kids who were gathering.  Fortunately, I didn't need a personal translator since some of the kids were able to communicate in Spanish.  I even got a few questions/words in English since some of the kids' family members most likely have work in tourist areas.  One particular boy acted as a sort of spokesman for the group; he even confiscated my camera and snapped a shot of Rebekah and me.

However, the kids spoke to each other in Maya.  All. the. time. It was like being in another country for me.
I knew that there were several families, even in the city where we live, who continued to speak Maya inside the home or between family members.  There are older ladies in our church who help us with basic phrases to learn something new in their native tongue. But, hearing their everyday conversation being spoken in something other than Spanish was a bit surprising.

This was not the first time that the message of Jesus' love had come to the small town.  One boy told me of another group that had come on a few occasions (with a bigger screen!).  The difference, we hope, is that the team's goal is to come, to stay, and to speak their language. The Maya language.  The team is not from America or Korea, but from a larger town in Mexico, about 30 minutes or so away.  And they don't plan on being a passing memory.
I played a small part, not being on the team and not speaking the language.  Sure, I spoke Spanish and a few answered me in Spanish.  I mainly talked and played with the kids.  My kids and I taught them Simon Says and they taught us "veneno" (poison) which, fortunately, was a harmless game where they spun in different directions holding hands ;-) They practiced some English phrases and I practiced some Maya ones.  They were amazed at the height of our daughter, who is 12 going on 13.  I marveled at their ages being 12 and 17 and still being in the 3rd and 6th grades, respectively, of their elementary school.

It is clear we are very different, but we are loved by the same God.  I am glad my God doesn't speak to me in Mandarin or French or Turkish.  Can you even imagine? . . .
That is the idea behind this team and others that will follow in their footsteps and in the footsteps of Jesus - speaking the language of the people, sharing His beautiful words of life.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

me joseph

Hey its me Joseph I love playing games and at school I work hard and at the same time I have fun

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Ruins in Yucatan

Most states have attractions that draw tourists or field trips or become vacation destinations.  The state of Yucatan is no exception. In fact, it is a fairly well known tourist attraction because of its rich history and the geography of the region.  And when you call a place like this home, you have to make an effort to see it as the cultural jewel that it is and experience it as if for the first time.
This spring we invited our Yucateco friends to Chichén Itzá, one of the modern 7 wonders of the world in our own "backyard." Although they had visited it in the past, they had not in recent years, so for their kids it was like going for the first time.  We chose a crazy, chaotic day to go - the Spring Equinox - when the shadows formed by the sun on the main pyramid, Kukulkan, form the body of a serpent.
We waited for what seemed like forever in the line to pay for our ticket to enter into the ruins.  Mexicans pay a minimal amount to get in, and foreigners like us pay a slightly steeper fee. Students get in at a reduced price. So as we chatted to pass the time during the heat of the day, the kids occupied themselves with various games.

Once on the grounds, you follow a pathway that winds its way past the many structures built by the Maya people.  The main attraction is the pyramid, but there are also a ball court, buildings with columns, and a cenote with an altar built in front of it where it is believed that sacrifices were given to various gods.  Because of the attraction it is, many vendors line the walkways with trinkets and souvenirs, t-shirts and hammocks, all to commemorate your special time in the Yucatan.

One vendor sells wooden figures.
On the far left is the serpent's head,
and the light in between the shadows
forms its body.
Here are some fun shots of our time there:

As you can see, we all had a fun time together enjoying this "modern wonder of the world." 

Saturday, January 01, 2011

First Day of the New Year - 2011

A new morning.  Start of the week. First day of school. January 1st.  All opportunities for a change, a fresh start - today is just that.  I've heard philosophies on resolutions, goal setting, etc.  Some people say not even to make a resolution because you won't complete or follow through with it.  I see their point, but only briefly. Determining to improve your health, exercise more, do good deeds, spend more time in prayer, save money, spend less - all are worthwhile aspirations.  I must admit that although I have not written anything concrete for this New Year I am starting with this blog entry.  Now to work on some more.