Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Posada at Villa Union

Every Sunday after our church service in the Golden Zone Barbara & Al and myself head off to villa Union where we have a service in the church that the La Vina planted there a few years ago. The church building is complete with a suite upstairs for the someday Pastor that God is going to send (he seems to be taking his time with that) Every Saturday they feed about 100 kids in the church building and hold a very well attended Sunday School class (on Saturday) for the kids, but on the Sunday afternoon church service there are many empty chairs, which could be why they can’t find a Pastor, no Pastor likes to preach to an empty church, but will the church grow without a full time Pastor? So for now a young couple from the US who came to Pastor at the Dona Chonita church come with us on Sundays ( their heart is in Dona Chonita and they are only filling in until someone else shows up) from what I’ve seen in the 3 times I’ve been there they are doing a great job. This Sunday were planned on having a little Christmas Posada out there.
Here’s a little side story to this story.......A few weeks before Christmas a lot of people from California drive down here to do their Christmas shopping because it is cheaper here and on Sundays is when they are heading home with all their Christmas treasures. The backs of pick-up trucks are loaded, all the roof racks are loaded to the max and some people even are pulling trailers full of stuff. About 90% of traffic heading out of Mazatlan on Sunday have California licence plates, traffic is brutal and it moves at a turtles pace. The highway out of Mazatlan is a 2 lane highway but when people here tend to get impatient is it very common to squeeze in beside the 2 lanes making it a 3 lane highway (happens all the time) Just past the airport turn off the 2 lanes merge into a single lane road and that happens right at a bridge that is only narrow enough for 1 vehicle at a time (even a Mexican cannot squeeze in 2) so when this merge happens traffic gets backed up. Al’s explanation “there are more cars than there is road”.
So....last Sunday being the last day for weekend shoppers to get out of here before Christmas was exceptionally bad, which we had anticipated so we left early but not early enough. Traffic was squeezed in 4 wide (on a 2 lane road) there were times when we didn’t move at all for 15 minutes at a time and then got to pull ahead about 12 feet. As we’re sitting in traffic Al realizes that he has forgotten the keys to the church building....we’re going to show up very very late for service and we will not be able to get into the church building. He calls young Pastor Kyle to see if he is waiting for us at the church, turns out he is 2 miles behind us in traffic and also doesn’t have keys.
3 hours later we show up at the church (this drive usually takes about 20 minutes and that includes making a few stops to pick up 3 very energetic young Mexican Sunday school teachers). Of course it’s dark by now but the moon was incredibly full and bright so we decide to have a moonlight service out side in the street....there are no yards here, so if you’re not in your house you’re on the street. Amazing enough Al drove a different van this time than usual (for no reason) this van had about 20 plastic chairs in it from a previous function, so we set up chairs and pretend that this was all planned. Meanwhile I really need a bathroom so I head to the nearest house, the houses in this neighbourhood are all built with tar paper, scrap metal, scrap wood and held together by rope, wire and God’s grace. I ask the gentleman that comes to the door “tiene Bano” you have a bathroom? He says no. I say “por favour”...Please. He shakes his head and says no again. I know they have a bathroom and he is most likely embarrassed about crude it is, at this point I really don’t care what it looks like. So I beg “por favour...por favour” Please, please. He finally gives in and calls his little daughter Paula to take me through the back of their compound with a flash light and shows me the bathroom, which was the most beautiful bathroom I have even seen or used, I must have said “gracias” about 18 times to the man and his wife. I invited them to our little posada but they declined. I told them that we had “regales para ninos”...presents for kids, but they still declined. So I just said “gracias” another 18 times and went on my way. We had an amazing service under the moonlight; we even had some new people show up for the first time. (As apposed to our regular 6) Kyle played his guitar and led us through worship, of course we gringos couldn’t sing along as we need the overhead projector so we can read the words, but we hummed along. 2 gentlemen walked by and joined us (it’s very hard to get men here to come to church unless there’s a woman dragging them in) so this was wonderful, after the service we had some cookies and handed out some little toys that had been donated, I gathered up a napkin full of cookies and a 2 goodie bags and headed back to the family that had let me use their bathroom and wished them a Merry Christmas as well. (And said “gracias” another 18 times. On the way home I was just overcome with gratefulness to be able to have this amazing opportunity to be here.

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