Fall leaves, cider, pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters, hayrides, and pumpkins, those are all memories that both Pete and I have of the month of October. Both being from Wisconsin, and now living here in Mexico, we miss the dramatic changes in seasons and the senses and experiences that come with each one. Seasons are one of those things that God created just for our enjoyment and experience, and for His glory to be revealed and I think that is incredibly cool!
Since we don’t have fall colors here in Las Moras, or pumpkin spice lattes, I figured I would give you a little glimpse into some of the “fall” adventures that we have had in the last few weeks. October in Las Moras brings the end to the rainy season. Our last rain was Friday, Sept. 28th, and every day since then we’ve had clear skies , hot days, and pleasantly cool nights. Our surroundings have gone from a beautiful shade of green, to a quickening brown as the weather has turned dry.
The fall also brings the corn-harvest. Almost every Nahuatl family has at least one field where they plant corn every year to harvest, clean, soak, and dry to make the corn tortillas that they will eat for the year. While it is mainly the responsibility of the men of the household to clean, plant, weed, spray with pesticide and protect the corn fields from crop eating animals, sometimes the women help as well. And when it is time to harvest, and bring the corn back from the field to their homes, it is common for the entire family to go and help. For the last two months Pete has had a few opportunities to hike with different Nahuatl men to their fields and help them clean, or weed them by cutting the tall grass down with machetes. However, just recently he was able to go with one of his language helpers, Felipe, to his family’s field and bring back some of the first of this years’ corn harvest.
Along with Pete and Felipe, were Felipe’s two brothers, one sister-in-law, and an older aunt. The women rode burros to the field, and the men walked. It took about 2.25 hours to reach the field on foot. Along the way there were some incredible views, and the group even did some picking of wild squash. Pete brought home two, and they were delicious roasted with some of the buttercup squash from our garden.
Once arriving at the field the group cut several ears of corn, and then the older Aunt took it off into the woods and “blessed it” is what Felipe told Pete. He said they needed to bless the years harvest before cutting all of it. Felipe said that his aunt had come because she was one of the people who knew how to bless the corn, and who knew how to talk to God. As, we have been talking to different families around the village about the corn blessing process, it seems like there are very few people that “know how” to talk to God anymore, mostly just older people.
After blessing the corn they built a fire and roasted several ears to eat as their lunch. The family had also packed some tortillas, and cheese to share. I sent Pete with a few muffins, and those were passed around as well. After lunch and a little rest, they began to cut corn and filled a large bag called a costal with ears of corn, and the guys each put some in their personal tribal bags as well. After the 2.25 hour hike back out to the village Pete arrived at home with several ears of corn that the family had given him. We shared them with the doctors who were working at the clinic that week, and they were enjoyed by all. The corn is definitely not Wisconsin sweet corn, but tasty none the less.
Every month the Nahuatl have a community meeting which is held in the ceremonial center down the valley about a 2.5 hour hike from Las Moras. Each family from Las Moras, and the surround annex villages are required to have one member in attendance at the meeting. This month, one of the items they were discussing was the well that we would like to drill here in Las Moras. So, Pete hiked down with several of the guys from here. The papers were signed and sealed, so now we have all the paperwork we need to drill. Please keep praying for the well. Now we are waiting for confirmation from the group that has agreed to drill the well so we can set a date for the drilling. We are hoping we can drill in January 2013!
Pete enjoyed visiting the ceremonial center and I think it was fun for all the people to have a white guy down there. Some of our friends from Las Moras asked me later if Pete came back sun burned. He was a bit…they reported that he had been playing volleyball without a shirt on. They said, “If I was that white, I wouldn’t be playing without a shirt.”
So, much has happened since my last post that it is hard to update on everything, but as each day passes we are given opportunities not only to learn language, but to show Christ through our lives to our friends here in Las Moras. Sometimes that entails helping a friend with finishing our brick grill that her husband built and chatting with her in Nahuatl while we work.
Or exercising patience every Saturday morning when three girls ages 6, 8, and 11 come to help me clean our house.
We were also very excited to be able to share things with our Nahuatl friends from our own garden! That is a huge part of the culture here, and people are so appreciative of the things that you give them. We were able to give away several squashes, cucumbers, zucchinis, green beans, and watermelons.
This has gotten long, and even though I feel like there is so much more I could share, I hope this update gives you all an idea of what we have been up to here in Las Moras.
Tomorrow we will re-unite with our co-workers, the Elkins, and spend some time with them out here in the village. Then we will all be traveling north for team meetings. We covet your prayers for wisdom, safety, and rest during this time. We are ready for a break in schedule, and are looking forward to being together as a team for a time. Then it will be back to full time language learning in November.
Hope you enjoyed some of our latest adventures, and we plan to update as we travel during the next couple of weeks.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Please check out our prayer requests page for the latest updated requests. You are not far from our minds as we experience all these new things in Las Moras. You are all such a huge part of this work, and we have a hard time finding the words to let you know how much we appreciate you all, but we really do. So thank you, and happy fall!