Hey faithful blog-readers! I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to follow my trip and even now 3 weeks after it. I really hope I have the chance to finally catch you completely up on the journey, everything that occurred the last few weeks in Mexico and since. I am going to start with my time in Puebla and continue from there.
As you might remember for a blog from ab out a month ago, I spent 2 week in the BIG city of Puebla. The city has a population of 6 million, and our team ministered and lived in communities of about 10,000 people. The people were concentrated to a group of apartment complexes. Our time there was very different from the MTs. of Oaxaca for the people did not out-write invite us in their homes as they did for us before. It was something to get used to, but be kept going and evangecubes from door-to-door. After a week of evangelism in this way, we decided that we needed to adapt our ministry to fit the community better. Adults were off to work most of the day and children were in and out of school (in July- really!) so we needed to visit people and do our ministry later in the afternoons. This was great! We met with about 20 children and really got to know them. We played a variety of games, sang songs, colored, and taught them Bible stories. I especially enjoyed this time, for children our my passion and my future (in college for teaching in an elementary school). The adjustment to the later time was hard for me at the time, for we didn’t do much ministry in the morning. I felt like I should be doing more, and really I should have realized that time with my team was ministry too. In retrospect I wish I would have focused more on the team and got to know them more during that down time. Leaving Puebla was difficult as was Oaxaca, but I was nearing the point of readiness for returning to home.
Next we traveled 6 hours to a new location near the Gulf Coast. The place was Tabasco, and it was hot and humid! Ha ha, the sauce is named that not because it tastes hot, but because the place (state in Mexico) is hot. I doubt that is true, but we liked to use that phrase as a joke. Of all the locations we were Tabasco was the hottest by far, and the living arrangements were the most difficult too. So to explain our travels so far….we have traveled through the very rural mountains and lived there…then went to the very modern big city…..then to the jungle. Really, the jungle! Our time there was good. Even though tiredness from lack of rest-time and team difficulties, God used our time and we left with a good feeling about the ministry there.
While in Tabasco we continued to do our ministry of home-visits, Jesus Film, and children’s ministry. Our time was somewhat relaxed as we adapted our schedule to what the needs of the community were. One day we traveled to a school and cleaned up the yard. Ha ha I used a machete to cut down the 2 feet tall weeds (remember we were in the jungle – everything grew well there), to be honest I wasn’t awful at using one. Two fo the days there we got to help a family build a house. This was a fun time. We cleaned up the brush, cut down trees, and helped establish the main support for the house. During the cleaning up of the brush we found 3 tarantulas, 2 scorpions, and 3 iguanas! Oh and a praying matis! It was crazy, ha ha but our teammates had fun capturing the creatures and putting them in 2 litter bottles….feeding them to each other . Can you believe that the 1st tarantula eat the next two? Really! Also….so when we so guys were felling a tree (while clearing area for the house, they used the trees for lumber – genius!) we got thirsty so we drank coconut milk. I little later a iguana crawls out of the tree, and feebly tries to escape the 5 men swinging machetes……to say the least, the iguana didn’t escape. If 1 iguana wasn’t enough, the men were able to catch 2 more. Earlier in the summer one of my teammates had eatten iguana soup, and we were told that we would have it for lunch the next day. I had mixed feelings about it, but was excited to try something new. After a ugly butchering (I have some wicked video of this!) and preparation for the ladies, we have cooked and breaded iguana. It was prepared like chicken, but with lime on it. It tasted like chicken, kinda with a fish-like texture. I approve of it! If you ever have the chance you should try it!
From Tabasco we traveled some and had time to relax. We finally were able to make it to Veracruz, the original plan for the trip, and see some of the state. Our time there was wonderful and fun, for we were able to visit it the homes/families of much of our teammates. Some days of tourism and shopping ended our time there. Next we traveled Mexico City. This towm was a crazy place, with so many people, it was unbelievable. Get this….the frist thing we do there is drag all our luggage through the subway system. basically blocking much of the traffic.
From Mexico City we bused ourselves to Morelos where JUNAMEX was. As I have mentioned JUNAMEX is a national camp that only occurs every 4 years (much like NYC). It was such a fun time for us! We got to see many of our friends that we had met over the summer and also make new ones! My favorite part was a conversation that I had with a girl named Wendy. She was learning English and was eager to practice it, I was willing to work on my Spanish, so conversation came naturally. It reminded me why I was in Mexico, to connect with the people and the culture. It was so easy for me to get frustrated by the language barrier during the trip, but that moment was encouraging. After some really hard good-byes we headed to the Mexico City airport to fly back to El Paso. After a day of re-entry camp I headed back to KC……long story short, now I am here, back at my Kansas home in Olathe.
My time back from Mexico has been difficult in some ways, but great in others. The memories, pictures I often look at, and the great God-convos remind me of why I have gone on such a trip in the first place. The whole journey was about discovering myslef andmy role in God’s plan. I used to think I was only searching for His plan in Mexico, but now I know He does have a plan for me here in the US too! Hard to be away from the friends and places, but I sense that God has so much for me here.
I don’t really know what the next step is for me, but I know that God is with me every step of the way Love you guys and I want to thank you for all of the support you have given me! I will soon send out a follow-up letter and some pictures for you! Let me know if you did not receive one and would like to hear more about my trip (add me on facebook – Nathaniel Leibel).
Dios te Bendiga!!!!
[nate] or Natanael (as they would refer to me in Mexico)