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Is this a slip of the English language or a new theology?

The English language is much in demand here in the Yucatán, especially with the tourism that places like Chichén Itzá attract, so we often run into students who want to practice what they’ve learned with us as we go about the city. Businesses as well like to get into the act, capitalizing on the popularity that English enjoys, and billboard and signs in English are common. Unfortunately, some businesses such as the one above use English but don’t quite understand it.

This sign in the picture says: “Super 32 Thanks God is Monday” I’m trying to decide if it’s a Monday morning encouragement or a new theology. So far we’ve not had the chance to ask the owner about it. In the meantime, what do you think? Do you have any ideas as to what they might be trying to say? Leave us a comment if you’d like to take a stab at the interpretation.

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What is Dave doing?

We missionaries have a serious job, but it’s important as well that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Kelly snapped this picture during the prayer time at Monte de Sion Church in Sacalum, Yucatán. As she showed it to me this morning, she asked, “What were you doing?” Well, I thought I would open this up to the opinions of our readers. What do you think it looks like I’m doing? Write a comment and we’ll highlight the most creative interpretation.

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Blog Readability

I was reading the blogs of some other missionaries, specifically an interesting series of posts on “God’s call to the fools,” when I came across a little tool that measures the level of education that it takes to read and understand a certain website. Some that I tried required an elementary level education, others a high school education and so on. Imagine my surprise however, when I found what it took to read and understand disciplemexico.org. That’s right, the blog readability test said that it takes a genius to understand the things that I say.

This leads me to two conclusions:

  1. I have a very intelligent reader base. Congratulations then to those who have subscribed and regularly struggled to understand what this rambling missionary writes.
  2. Perhaps I need to be a bit more accessible in the future. What do you think? Do you read disciplemexico.org with a dictionary.com window open? Let me know.

Oh, and if you want to check out how your blog rates, head over to the blog readability test and find out for yourself.

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Erie Merida ConnectionI’m prefacing this post by saying that I’m not one of those people who routinely says “The Lord said to me…” In fact, even when I feel that God is impressing something on me I like to start with the words, “I feel that the Lord is moving me in this direction..,” or “I feel that the Lord would have us…” It is something that Edgar Lee taught us in seminary as a way to offer up our words for the biblically mandated scrutiny of the church, or as the case may be, my wife. So when we experience “coincidences,” I like to offer it up for the opinions of others, in other words, I’m fishing for a few comments.

We had little choice in where we would end up in Mexico. We are first-termers and AGWM, our missions organization has taken to the practice of mentoring all new missionaries. This involves pairing the missionary with another veteran in order to assist them in the transition and the development of their ministry on the field. Because education was to be part of our portfolio, we were paired with Paul and Sandy Kazim.

Paul an educator with 10 years experience in Latin America, was stationed at the time in Villahermosa, Tabasco, but was looking to relocate when he started his new term. There were several options available. Butch Frey, our Area Director had mentioned Veracruz, while Paul and Sandy were looking as well at Mexico City and Mérida, where we are currently.

Paul had discounted Veracruz from the beginning. He didn’t feel that the city was where they needed to be. However, Mexico City was, for him, a viable option. The city was easily accessible by plane, and his travel plans for his upcoming term made this a desirable feature. Of course, there was the problem of what to do once you’re off of the plane. Two hour cars trips as a regularity didn’t excite either Paul or me. On top of this concern was Joseph’s tendency toward asthmatic symptoms which made Mexico City’s famous smog look indeed like a gray cloud on our horizon. Still, we were determined to see God’s direction in our location.

Then Kelly talked to me about a premonition that she had had. It wasn’t a dream or a vision per say, more like a feeling. She told me that she saw us working with indigenous people. Those whom we in the US popularly refer to as Indians. Mérida, one of the famous ancient centers of the Maya civilization, was filled with such people. I filed this in the back of the mind, but I also mentioned that we would have to reach an agreement with the Kazim’s when it came to the place that we would select.

Still, an opportunity came to talk about this premonition that Kelly had. Over the phone with the Kazim’s, Paul resonated with what Kelly was saying, and, adding this to items we were considering, the scale tipped decidedly in Mérida’s favor.

Now, three years later, we find ourselves here in the White City of Mérida, but the surprises didn’t end there. As I was researching information for a response to an email asking for the history of the city, I happened upon a bit of information.

Many cities select sisters cities in other countries, these are connections that are established in order to foster cultural and economic exchanges. For some time, we were aware that our home town of Erie, Pennsylvania had such a relation with Lublin, Poland, as we would hear several reports of student and governmental trips between the cities. However, I was extremely surprised to find that, listed alongside Lublin, was the White City of Mérida.

What are the chances? Sister Cities International the organizer of such relationships reports on their website that there are over 800 communities internationally participating in this program. Assuming that the selection was done completely at random, it would appear that the odds would be about 17 billion to one. Granted, such selection isn’t done at random. but think about the implications of such a number.

So, was it coincidence that our hometown of Erie would have such a relationship with the city in which we are currently ministering, or is it a confirmation of a divine plan? Whatever the response, it seems fitting that a relationship set up to foster cultural and economic benefits would be expanded to offer spiritual ones as well.

Joseph and Jonathan.I don’t dedicate much space to plugs on this site, although I could definitely spend some time talking about the great insight that I get reading the thoughts of others all across the net. However, there is one site that I just can’t afford not to mention. Seeing as how it’s run by the woman with whom I just happen to share my life.

Across the way, literally on the other side of our study table, Kelly has been recording the events and happenings of the Godzwa family with a focus on the kids in her blog, “From the Mouth of Babes.” She has healthy dose of pictures, video and even funny sayings peppered with a bit of her own commentary. All worth your time!

So click on this link and stop on by Kelly’s site, and while you’re there you might as well sign up for her newsfeed or email subscription as well. I’m sure you’ll find lots to keep you coming back.

It Lives!

You may have remembered my casualties post, in which I had written about my Pocket PC that met its demise when I fell on it during a practice for the Luis Palau outreach earlier this Spring. Well, it lives again!

Proving that God indeed cares for the details in life, I had thought about purchasing a new screen for the PC after the fall, but the price, nearly $150, the hassle that is involved in shipping anything overseas, and the fact that Kelly philanthropically donated hers to me made me put off the purchase. I put the unit aside and put it out of my mind. On the desk it sat, unusable until our children decided it was time again to explore.

Rebekah, Joseph, and Jonathan are adventurous types. They would rather be anywhere but in their own home. So when Uncle Garritt and Aunt Tara* arrived home, they decided that they need to go upstairs to “see” their apartment, even though they had seen it many times before. The permission granted by the Kenyons allowed the kids to hang out in a different place for awhile, but it also gave the adults a chance to talk.

Garritt likes technology and gadgets abound in his apartment. Blessed with new iPods before coming to the field, he “just happened” to have a Dell Axim x30 that he wasn’t using, not the same exact unit as the one I broke but with the exact same screen. I told him of my situation, and he offered it to us free of charge. So after about 30 minutes of wrestling with both units, I was able to swap the screen of the lesser, functioning model for the screen of my non-functioning unit, and, as the picture shows, the old friend is resurrected!

That a replacement part for my specific Pocket PC could be hand delivered free of charge to Zapote, San José, Costa Rica to our apartment complex is absolutely a miracle. Situations like this remind me that God is truly in control of the big picture and the details as well.

*In A/G Missionary Culture, adults in the missionary family are called Uncles and Aunts by the missionary kids.

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Cinco de Mayo, the holiday celebration that com- memorates the Mexican victory during of the Battle of Puebla, has passed without even the thought of a Mariachi band as pictured in the post. In fact, here in Costa Rica, we had let the day slip until Anthony Scoma, a pastor friend from Texas reminded us. (BTW, Anthony, the Yankees won last night. It wasn’t pretty, but they won!)

Still, we didn’t let the day pass without celebrating. We had the opportunity to celebrate with a Tico (Costa Rican) family who had invited us over for a cafecito. A cafecito is a light meal that takes place as early as 3:00 PM and as late as 5:00 PM, in which there are snacks, sandwiches, and some sweets, and of course, coffee! We had a wonderful time speaking in Spanish for 4 hours as the kids played through the house. Times like these help us realize how far we have come since arriving in Costa Rica back in August of last year.

It is a satisfying thing really. Language school is a transition time, and it is easy to focus on the field so much that we fail to identify with the culture and the people here in Costa Rica. We are glad to have been a part of the lives of so many Ticos, who through their generosity have welcomed us into their lives. The sad thing about it all is that just as we have advanced in our language skills to the point that we the opportunity to form relationships with others, we are looking forward to leaving Costa Rica in 3 short months. Still, we’ll choose to enjoy the time and the relationships that we have.

Update: 5-07-2006 Andy Raatz A/G Missionary to Moldova has some thoughts on transition here

Photo Credits: Java Cafe (2006). Mariachi Dreams. Retrieved 05/06/2006 from http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=93107466&size=m

Feliz Navidad a todos

May this Christmas Season bring the joy of reuniting with family and friends, the wonder and anticipation of a New Year, and the hope that only Christ can give.
With love,
Dave & Kelly
Rebekah, Joseph and Jonathan

How do you get recharged after a long road trip? Well, Joseph illustrates how he gets his energy after several hours in the car: Go to the Power Potty!

When Joseph was three, he incorrectly heard us call Porta-Potties, “Power Potties,” and the name stuck! Joseph is standing in front of the “power potty” at the Conway, MO exit on the way to Mother’s Day services at Park Hills First A/G and at the “Hub of the Universe” in Vulcan, MO.

A special thanks as well to Farmington First A/G for the use of their evangelist quarters on Sunday Night.

Where do Bobby McFerrin, the artist who gave the world “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, and Mexico meet? Apparently in an airport, where the singer lost his luggage while arriving for the beginning of his Mexican tour. Click here to read about this ironic tale…

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