Monday, October 22, 2012

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Home Sweet Home
On May 23, two months before we left for Puebla, I posted a prayer request on our Facebook page asking everyone to pray for our housing situation in Puebla.  We knew no one in Puebla, and we had no connections to the city.  The Spanish school I was planning to attend said they could help us, but their price range for apartments near the center was higher than we wanted to spend.

So we prayed, and many of you prayed with us. Fast forward a couple of weeks.  Kris and I were finishing our final week of classes at GIAL and our parents were visiting to help us pack up our belongings...still no leads on places to stay in Puebla!  I had so much on my plate at the time that I tried not to "waste" any stress on worrying about that, but I have to admit that a bit of...concern crept in every now and then.  The next Sunday a couple in our class told us that they had a friend from Puebla and that he was going to come to church with them the next week.  We were excited about the possibility of making a connection.  The following Sunday we met Rubi.  After the introductions he asked, "So, do you have a place to live in Puebla?"  We said no and that we were still looking.  He said, "I feel like God has sent me here to help you with that."  Well, who are we to argue with God!  He told us that his parents still lived in Puebla and that he would call and ask them to start looking for a place for us to stay.  We exchanged email addresses and left it at that.

Over the next couple of weeks, Kris and Rubi exchanged emails.  Less than a month before our departure date, we still did not have a definite address in Puebla.  Again, we asked for prayer from my home church which we were visiting in Florida.  The same day, we received an email from Rubi saying his parents had found a house for us.  All we had was an address, a picture of the outside, a very reasonable price, and a promise that it was in a good area with easy access to downtown.

We arrived in Puebla late in the afternoon of July 24th.  Rubi's family met us (and our LOAD of luggage) at the bus station.  They graciously took us to our new home to drop off our belongings and then took us to their house for a wonderful dinner.  We kept having to remind ourselves that these people didn't know us.  They were so welcoming!

Our kitchen- tight but cozy! 
Our home had some basic furnishings (a couch, chair and two beds), but our kitchen came with only a kitchen sink.  Over the next couple of weeks, our sweet family took us around town so that we could get all the things we needed to make this house our home for the next 6 months.  We've had to make a few adjustments.
Kieran and Elyse's room. 

Elyse, for example, sleeps on an air mattress and I'm learning to cook using only a stove top.  We take our laundry to the "lavandaria" across the street where they wash, dry and fold for only about $1 per kilo.  I don't mind letting someone else do my laundry as long as I remember that it takes about 2 days to get it back (any last minute laundry is washed in the kitchen sink and hung out to dry!).  We can find just about anything we need in Puebla.  Home Depot, Walmart and Costco are just a short bus ride away.  However, we know that we are only going to be here for 6 months and do not want to invest too much time or money into adding the things we now consider luxuries.

Our dining/play/tv room
Our living room
We have a playground across the street where the kids love to play and meet new friends.  About a week ago, Kieran said, "Mommy, after all this unpacking, I finally feel at home."  We are so blessed to have this house and are so grateful for God's provisions.  

"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
Psalms 127:1 (NIV)

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Big Picture

The easiest birthday cake I've ever made!
I'm a detail person.  I like making lists and trying to keep everything in order.  Kris, on the other hand, is a big picture kind of guy.  Details are not so important to him.  He often laughs at my list (in a nice, supportive way, of course).  I think that is why our marriage works for us.  I make sure the details get put in and he makes sure the details don't overwhelm me!  Did you know that our God is both a God of details and a God of the big picture?  He knows the numbers of hairs on our head and yet he created this universe.  When we can't seem to get our little details under control, He is always in control.  Even when tragedy strikes and OUR "big picture" is blown out of the water, HIS big picture is intact.  I have been in awe these past few months as I watch God's hand in our lives.  There is no detail that has gone unnoticed by Him.  I seriously don't know why I worry so much. 

Earlier this week, it was Kieran's birthday.  In my mind, I was thinking about the party that Kieran wasn't going to have with all his friends from back home.  He has really missed those friendships.  But guess what?  God knew.  My details were a part of HIS big picture.  The day before Kieran's birthday, we went to pick him up from school and this precious little boy Carlo stuck his head out of the classroom window and said (in Spanish), "Hey, are you bringing something to school tomorrow for Kieran's birthday party?"  Kris and I just looked at each other with blank expressions.  We hadn't really thought about bringing something to school.  Kieran's teacher is pretty strict and we really didn't think that was an option.  I looked at Kris and said, "maybe we should ask."  So, Kris asked Kieran's teacher who sent us to the school director for permission. After all the proper approvals, Kieran's teacher said, "Great.  I'll tell all the parents not to send lunch tomorrow."  Lunch??  What??  I was thinking some cupcakes or a little snack.  Oh no, parties are serious events here.  So, thanks to the advise of another mother, we decided to bring hotdogs, chips, apple slices, drinks, and ice cream.

Kieran's new friends at school
Kieran's Class
The day of Kieran's birthday, we showed up at school with all the fixings.  Kieran was beaming!  All his classmates had made him cards and many of them brought presents.  The class sang their version of "Happy Birthday" and then the teacher marched him around the room so they could all throw confetti on his head.  Everyone ate and laughed.  One kid said, "This is the best party!"  At one point, Kieran called me over to his desk and said, "Mommy, I love this school because all the kids are so nice!"  Wow, what a break through!  School has been such a challenge this year for Kieran (being new and all in Spanish that is) and everyday was a chore to get him to want to go.  Kieran made a connection with his class and teacher on his birthday that probably wouldn't have happened if little Carlo had not put his head out the window that day. 

Enjoying his birthday lunch at school

While I was sitting around worrying about the details, God was putting together the pieces.  While I was trying to fix the problem, God was turning my problem into His solution.  Thank you, God, for loving our children and for knowing the big picture for their lives.  What a mighty God we serve!

Kieran and his teacher