Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Beggar In My House

Whenever one of us eats in the livingroom chair (pepperoni pizza in this case), our little friend Nacho likes to come and try to sample whatever is on the menu. Her favorite is when we eat either chicken or tuna, in which case we usually give her a few bites of it on a napkin on the kitchen floor. When she's done, she takes her paw and rubs it on the floor in the direction of her napkin, like she's looking for extra scraps. Does anyone else's cat do that?

Monday, January 29, 2007

One of the Many Reasons I Love My Wife

Every day I teach class at noon until 12:50pm. Under normal circumstances, that would be my lunchtime. Carolina is usually finishing her lunch in the cafeteria around the time I get out of class. I always go and wait by her office door so that I can see her before I leave campus. And the cool part?

She knows that I'll be waiting to see her. So every day she goes to the dessert line and picks out whatever looks best. Then she brings it to me, since she knows that I'm probably hungry. She does all this completely on her own initiative. I just think it's really nice of her to think of me, and I appreciate it. For the record, I'm really glad I married my wife; she's great.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bed-Making Etiquette For Visitors

Living in Searcy, we have extremely frequent visitors. A regular part of having visitors is washing the sheets on the guest bed. When I was younger, I was bad about spending the night at people's houses, then not making the bed the next day. I've made a real effort to do that more regularly, but even as I do it, I wonder if it's a waste of time since they're just going to unmake it and wash the sheets anyways.

This last weekend, a dear friend of ours stayed one night with us, then left without making the bed. I noticed, but wasn't bothered. He sent me an e-mail and said, "Thanks for letting me stay. By the way, I know that you always wash the sheets, so I didn't make the bed in order to make your life easier." And actually, it did.

The best experience I've ever had with visitors was with our friends, the Dills. They stayed for about 3 nights when Bryan was holding a Gospel meeting, and they made the bed every day. Then, on the last day, we arrived home to find the bed made with a note: "Thanks for letting us stay with you guys! Just so you know, we took the sheets off the guest bed, washed them, dried them, then put them back on so you don't have to worry about it." That was awesome.

So how about you, O Reader? Is it better to go ahead and make the bed? Should you get the sheets off and put them in the laundry room for the host? What is your preference?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pictures from our First Spanish Service

Here are some pictures from our first Spanish worship service at the Rose Bud Church of Christ.

This first one is a group shot of everyone who was present.

After worship was over, Carlos Hernandez, our Spanish preacher, and Isaiah, another student at the Alpha and Omega Bible Institute, did a Bible study with a man who's been visiting with us. We're very hopeful that he will be converted, and through him, many others. It was a positive experience, but what matters most is that we persevere.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Humorous Things in Mexico #4

I've come to the conclusion that many troubling things in life can either be viewed as tragedy or as humor. The same things we cry at in a drama are a lot of the things we laugh at in a comedy. It's all about context. I've gotten to where I try to find humor in things that might otherwise bother me. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago in Mexico.

Carolina's dad thinks I am completely incompetent. This visit was the first time he's ever allowed me to help wash the dishes. He normally insists on doing it, not because he wants to, but because he thinks I'll break them. I have had some bad luck down there, because the one other time I tried to help, I did break a dish. And the first time I went down there, I sat on Carolina's bed, and it broke. I pulled the chain to operate her ceiling fan, and it hasn't worked since. I also break off the towel rack in the bathroom every time I use it. They had finally replaced it this year.

So perhaps he has some good reasons to think I'm incompetent, or at least clutsy. Again, that could be irritating, but I choose to find it funny. This last visit, we were in Wal-Mart, and I needed to go to the bathroom, so I told Carolina where I was heading. When I got in there and went in, Carolina's dad was just finishing up washing his hands. I said hello and went about my business. When I came out, Carolina's dad was waiting on me just outside the door. I thought nothing of it, though I noticed that he said something to Carolina when we walked back to where she was. He looked kind of stern. I asked her later what he had said...

"Why did you let him go by himself?!"

Monday, January 15, 2007

T ogether E veryone A chieves M ore

Yesterday was a very important day for us at church. We began our first Spanish worship service at 2:00pm. We had one Hispanic man from the community show up. It would have been nice to have more, but you've got to start somewhere! On the bright side, he was very genuinely interested. Carlos Hernandez, our Hispanic minister, visited with him for about 45 minutes after church was over. If I were a prophet, or the son of a prophet, I would predict he'll probably be our first convert.

But he wasn't the only one there. I was there with my wife, both of my elders were there with their families, along with another couple at church who is very involved in our mission efforts.

Also there was David Riley from the Mars Hill Church of Christ in Vilonia. I love the fact that my congregation is not just wishing to do good, or intending to reach out; we're actually doing it. And if you're thinking of stepping out on your faith to try and reach lost people, I'll tell you first hand: Yes, it is scary. Yes, there is a real possibility of failure. Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will encounter unexpected problems and complications. But YES, it is totally worth it. Even if this effort flops and we don't save a single soul, it will have been worth every ounce of effort and expense. We'll be able to stand before God and say, "We really gave it our best shot and we grew through the experience."

Incidentally, I don't believe it will fail. I really think this is going to work, and that it will be a wonderful thing for our church and our community. We're trying to provide a home for these sojourners, and I know from talking to them that many of them long for something like this.

I think what I love most about what we're doing is the teamwork going on between congregations. It is very trendy to label conservative churches as close-minded, unchangeable, uncooperative, blood-sucking legalists. Out in Rose Bud and the surrounding areas, traditional churches are all there are, and I don't think any of those labels applies to what we've been doing. I grew up at a huge church in Nashville, and I don't think we ever cooperated with our sister congregations on almost anything.

David Riley from Mars Hill has been so wonderful. He's been driving up to help us with door-knocking, and bringing some of the Hispanic preaching students along. The other congregations around are letting us present to them what we're trying to do, and they are doing their best to help support our outreach. There is no competition. No one else has complained that we'll be getting members but they won't. No one is trying to start a separate effort to out do ours. We're all cooperating to reach lost people with the understanding that we aren't trying to glorify a particular congregation. We just want to see people come to Christ. To me, this is the kind of unity that Christ envisioned in John 17. Not that we all have to meet in one building, but that even when there are distances between us, we can still be one in love and in purpose.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Something that freaked me out...

I was just browsing through some of the things people were searching for who came across my blog. Today, someone came here by looking for "Adams dead in Mexico". Yeah. Uncomfortable.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I like this quote from St. Augustine:

"Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshipped."

Food In Mexico #1 - Las Pampas

So you've never eaten at a Brazilian Steak House? I can quite honestly say it doesn't get much better than this. There is a restaurant in Durango, Mexico called Las Pampas. Here's what you do:
First, you go to the salad bar and get a plate full of side items, like those in the picture.
Next, these guys come around with swords and offer you different kinds of meat that they carry on these swords. It's all fantastic. There are 18 different kinds of meat that they serve total. It includes beef, pork, chicken, and veal cooked in several varieties. The first time I ate here, I managed to sample 16 kinds of meat. It's all you can eat buffet. Amazing.
They finish it off by serving grilled pineapple that is thickly coated with cinnamon. It is out of this world. This is my personal favorite restaurant of the many excellent places there are to eat in Durango.
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Humorous Things In Mexico #3

I think this may have actually been an American vehicle, but it's pretty funny for a Mexican to be driving it. We would see "P'up" as an abbreviation for "Pickup". The Mexican driving this car would pronounce it the "Isuzu Poop".

Travelling Pictures II

This last picture was taken from the Mexico side of the Rio Grande, looking over to Laredo, Texas. It was kind of an emotional moment.

Travelling Pictures

I tried to post this twice, and it keeps not showing the pictures. I think maybe I can't put more than 3 pictures at a time, so here are some pictures related to my previous post. I really love the terrain. It's dry, with lots of cactus plants. But even thought it's fairly flat, there are huge rocky mountains jutting up here and there.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Humorous Things In Mexico #2 - Delicious Bald Hair

How would you like to eat some candy called "Delicious Bald Hair"? That's what "Pelon (bald) Pelo (hair) Rico (tasty)" means. I am afraid to eat these, but Carolina thinks these are really good. It's got this flavored gummy stuff you push up through holes in the top of a round surface, like playdough. Then you eat it.
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I'm Home From Mexico

Carolina and I are now home from Mexico. I have all kinds of things I want to blog about related to my trip. I went down last Monday, January 1st, and we drove back starting Sunday the 8th until about 8:30 Monday evening. The total drive time from Durango, Mexico to Searcy, Arkansas was about 24 hours.

One of the most striking things to me about Mexico's terrain is the fantastic mountains. They generally aren't that big compared to the large mountain chains in the USA, but they are very sharp, as if these huge rocks were just thrust up through the surface.

This last picture was an important moment. It's a view from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico across the Rio Grande to Laredo, Texas on the other side. We sat in line for what seemed like forever, but we finally made it across.

About Mexican Culture #1 - Dia de los Reyes

If you didn't wake up on January 6th rushing to your shoes to look for goodies, then you probably are not familiar with Dia de los Reyes. Dia de Reyes (Day of Kings) is something celebrated in Mexico in honor of the wise men visiting Jesus when he was born. There are a couple of elements involved in celebrating it.

First, the children leave their shoes under the Christmas tree on January 5th, and when they wake up in the morning, they find presents--money, candy, toys, etc.--in your shoes! Further down in Mexico, such as in Mexico City, the Kings take the place of Santa Claus. Santa just brings clothes. It's the Kings who bring you toys! When we first got married, Carolina informed me on January the 5th that she was leaving her shoes under the tree for los Reyes, and she expected something to be in them in the morning. I wished her good luck.
The next part of this tradition is that everyone buys and eats a cake called "Rosca de Reyes" (Bundt Cake of Kings). It's kind of a sweet pastry. It has less sugary stuff than sweet roles, but it has bits of fruit and sugar baked into it, and decorating the top of it. Pictured here is myself cutting the cake, Carolina's dad, and our friend Rocio. The rosca goes very well with hot chocolate. There is a great deal of importance to this cake, however, as fruit is not the only thing that is baked into it.

They also bake a little plastic baby Jesus into it that they call "Niño Jesus" (pronounced ninyo haysoos). Everyone eats a piece of the cake, hoping that they don't get the niño Jesus. If you get this plastic baby Jesus (in the picture below), it means that you are in charge of throwing a party and providing tamales for everyone on February 2nd. After eating one of these, you could quite literally say "I found Jesus in a piece of cake". (note: humor attempted here)

As much as I love my American heritage, I've come to a point in my life where I must admit that Mexicans are much better at enjoying holidays than we are.
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Humorous Things In Mexico #1

I love the total lack of concern with things like copyright in Mexico. I have a few different examples of this, but this one is one of my favorites. You all have heard of "Kentucy Fried Chicken". But have you ever tried "Koky Fray Chicken"? I decided it was probably wiser not to.
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