Salsa Picante: Hot Sauce of EduVenture Mexico
Fall 2006 (Oct. 1, 2006 Report)
By Tim Trezise
EduVenture Mexico, Site Director
In the middle of September we visited the city of Chihuahua to gain a greater understanding of Mexican culture and its history, as well as attend several classes in missions and community development. A very valuable learning experience for EVM students is to live with a Mexican family for a number of days. Three families took in our eight students for five days. The students ate some of the best of Mexican cuisine, saw the best of the city, and felt welcomed by the hospitality of their host families. The Irigoyens (the family of Liz, our student from Chihuahua) hosted the entire EVM group for an amazing meal of carne asada and all the extras. It was great to see Liz in her glory and get to know her wonderful family – who have adopted EVM with open arms.
As I write this the students are now in their second home-stay experience – with families in the rural mountain village of Madera. They are just staying the weekend to get acquainted and will spend nine days with them later in November. Both home-stay experiences (Chihuahua and Madera) are very different from each other, giving the students the opportunity to see family life in Mexico at different economic levels and sub-cultures.
Each fall we attend with thousands of Mexicans El Grito (The Shout) – a rich cultural experience. This year was the first time for us to do this in the city of Chihuahua. The impression in the U.S. is that Cinco de Mayo is a big festive event for Mexicans – well, it is time to break some stereotypes. National pride blazes here in Mexico everywhere in full colors of green, white and red on the opposite side of the year, Sept. 16 – Independence Day. Late into the night on Sept. 15 thousands of Mexicans sardine together in city and village plazas as if it were a New Year’s party in Times Square to ring in the day of their independence listening to speeches then at 11:00 p.m., all shout together: “VIVA HIDALGO!, VIVA MEXICO! VIVA MEXICO! VIVA MEXICO!” ... followed by patriotic songs and famous folk music. The night air in downtown Chihuahua was electric with a long display of fireworks, including cascades of phosphorus and fire falling from the rooftops of the tall buildings surrounding us. Everyone was singing, shouting, raising their hands, dancing and celebrating life in this great country. It was spectacular; big, loud, and full of emotion (and people). Have I said it was crowded? Personal space – Ha! Nothing like the feeling of slow dancing with half the city! In the sea of humanity was our huddle of EduVenture students and staff. David tried to blend in with his huge sombrero, multi-colored poncho, but his Gringo roots blew his cover as he did variations of the chicken dance. Needless to say, we had a lot of laughs and fun celebrating with our Mexican brothers and sisters a day that is very important to them.
Bonding and Healing
God has been gently molding hearts and minds this past month through all that has been discussed and learned in the spiritual formation, community development classes, chapels, and church services. We have taken three weeks to share our stories and have also heard the stories of those in various ministries. The times have been humbling yet rich as the Lord continues to teach us all that we need each other as we walk with Jesus in learning to overcome the many things and thought patterns that hold us back from His glory and His purpose for us. The EVM staff is very pleased to see the maturity of these eight students this semester and how well they are moving past differences and personality clashes by making good choices and intentionally building relationships. Keep praying – your interceding support is so crucial to the Lord’s work here.
Julian is healing extremely well. (CLICK HERE to see last month's report for details.) There is no doubt that God’s hand is allowing his fracture to heal so quickly and well. The orthopedic was impressed with the results of the second set of X-rays and how far along he has progressed. He is no longer wearing the splint and his range of motion and strength continue to improve well. He is back to doing most everything only after three weeks of having surgery.
Everyone is back to full health. No more colds, coughs or gastrointestinal problems. Gracias a Dios!
On The Road Again
We all will depart Oct. 2 for the village of Creel and will be visiting a YWAM (Youth With a Mission) base. We are all looking forward to interacting with the Mexican students there. On Oct. 3 we drive deeper into the Copper Canyon area to visit Mike Berkeley, an orthopedic surgeon from Colorado, who has moved to the Sierra Madres to provide quality medical service to the indigenous Tarahumara people. These people are very poor, but extremely resilient. They have endured centuries of ill-treatment and have suffered being at the lowest economic level. We will be learning how God is working in both of these ministries. If you would like further information on Mike Berkeley’s ministry go to: http://www.mexicomedical.org
Following our time in the Copper Canyon region, we will be heading a few hours away to CandameÒa Canyon in Basaseachi National Park. We will team up with Cindy Tolle to spend five days of canyoneering, rock climbing and helping with a local community development project of developing tourism to help the struggling economy and people of that area. The park is like a mix of Yosemite and Zion National Park – but is much wilder and less developed. (CLICK HERE to read about canyoneering in Basaseachi.)
From The Other Side Of The Border
By Ruth Gossner, Houghton College
Life continues apace here in La Calandria, our little corner of Rancho Huapoca. As always, the adventures continue, but so does the work. We have chapters to read, papers to write, worksheets to do, classes to attend, as well as Spanish to practice. Just living life here isn’t as easy as it may seem. It’s a good life, though, and the relationships in this little community are amazing. I think most of us students can say we’ve learned as much outside of class as in. Yet there’s something about getting college credit for an eight-hour physical education class that includes an hour hike to the top of a mountain, rappelling, rock climbing, belaying, and burritos for lunch. Some of us still ask, when looking around at the gorgeous scenery we’re walking through, "Am I really getting credit for this?" The answer is always a big smile and "Yeah, I know, isn’t it crazy?!" I must admit that it was hard getting to the top of the mountain, but the view was worth all the sweat. God has made such a wonderful world and He has been gracious enough to put us right in the middle of an absolutely beautiful display.
We are still in need of a person to become our intercultural director. This person will need to be a college graduate (preferably with a Master’s degree), fluent in both languages, love traveling through Mexico to recruit Mexican students, and be part of this crazy team we have down here. There are also other positions EduVenture is also trying to fill: Director of the Fiji Program and Homebase (Tucson) Office Manager/Recruiter.
If you would like to partner with EduVenture and help us with trying to provide an environment for the Holy Spirit to shape the lives of young Americans and Mexicans please “devote yourself to prayer” (Colossians 4:2). Please pray:
for the Lord’s will be done with each of us this semester;
that God would bring the right staff person for us;
that God provides the right mix of students for the upcoming semesters;
for Julian’s continued recovery.
Families and friends of students – please do not send care packages or gifts to the students. Letters (many of them) are welcomed, but the bulk of packages make it difficult for those to fit in everything needed on trips down to Mexico from Tucson. Thanks for your cooperation.
CLICK HERE to see most recent pictures of this semester. (This link will take you outside www.ClimbingForChrist.org)