Day Six (Friday)

Today was our final day with our brothers and sisters on this trip. We spent the day sightseeing in downtown Merida and had the opportunity to see some of the places we had not seen yet. Although it rained heavily, the cool streets and clean air were a welcome relief to the oppressive heat. We shared many laughs, prayers and hugs with our church family here. Tonight we shared with the children three pinatas and it was a joy watching them enjoy them. After our final meal together we shared many hugs and joyous “see you laters”. The people of Merida are so gracious and wonderful hosts it is hard to leave. We know our mutual journey has moved to a new place and being able to do some life together has forever changed both giver and receiver. Many thanks to our James Island Presbyterian Church family for helping make this life-changing trip possible with your prayers and financial support. Our brothers and sisters in Christ here send their love and prayers to you.

Tomorrow morning, Saturday, we will rise at 5 AM for a scheduled 6 AM departure to the airport. Our flight leaves at 8:30 AM and we should be back in James Island around 4 PM. Please continue to pray our return trip would be safe and we would have opportunity our varied experiences with each of you.

With much grace and peace, we remain,

Your James Island Presbyterian Church Merida Team

 

 

Day Five (Wednesday)

Today was a sightseeing day and began with a trip to a cenote in the town of Nohmozon. (A quick google search will take you there!) Cenote is a Mayan word meaning “the well.” Perhaps the connection is a well and water being the center of life. Without life-giving water daily activities would be impossible. The cenote was about 60 feet deep and the crystal clear water itself anywhere from 15 to 40 meters. Our morning dive and swim session was most refreshing. We had a picnic lunch on the return side of a roughly six mile cumulative hike. Three miles in and three miles out. We took a tour of the Mayan ruins in the city of Mayapan. I wonder what those ancient minds would do with today’s technology? We had supper after our sightseeing in a local restaurant with samplings of several local dishes. The food was absolutely delicious. After returning home, the youth met some friends at a local park and invited them back to Corpus Christi. It is amazing to see the common bond of relationship in Christ—as it presented in futbol– binding our youth together through communication challenges. Peer counseling—free from inhibition and fear– in its purest form. Each teaching the other their native language punctuated with laughter and love. What a joy to watch our youth interact with our Meridan brothers and sisters! So much to learn from these future Deacons and Elders. Our night concluded with great conversation and moving responses to the summary question of each day—“where did you see Jesus today?” Jesus knows just how to communicate with each of our hearts.

Today, we travel back to Mount Horeb to begin pouring their new concrete roof. Please pray for us as we work with our brothers and sisters in Merida. Forecast for today is sunny and hot!

Looking forward to sharing our experiences with you, we remain,

Your James Island Presbyterian Church Merida Team

Day Three (Tuesday)

Following our morning devotion and robust singing we boarded the bus and headed for Mount Horeb. Our pick-axes, shovels and iron entryway awaited our energies. The ladies all but finished the first coat of primer and paint for the front of the church. It is now ready for the custom glass that will be beautiful. The men completed the portion of roof deconstruction assigned us and the masons are ready to measure and begin pouring concrete which will begin on Thursday. Our VBS celebration last night was wonderful. We made flowers, painted faces, crafted bracelets and shared the Word in a skit. Immeasurable is the love that is shared as we come together in rich fellowship. So much Christ within the people we have come to serve and love in such a short period of time. Our day concluded with an evening trip to downtown Merida for a look at some of the buildings and their history. The sun had gone to bed for the day and the darkness, with its cool breeze, was a welcome relief and beautiful backdrop to our sightseeing. Sorbets of many flavors were an appropriate night cap. Gracious are our hosts! Wednesday brings a break from the work as we will experience a hike to a cenote for a swim and fellowship. Each day comes to an end as we gather in a circle and share our answers to the question—“where did you see Jesus today?”

Please keep us in your prayers as we live into the theme of the day which is attitude.

Much grace and peace,

Your James Island Presbyterian Church Merida Team

 

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Day two (Monday)

Sunday worship went well and it was wonderful to experience Christ in worship with our Merida brothers and sisters. Lively music from their worship team, prayers and message made us feel right at home. Sam preached about entering the Promised Land together with the “Shema” being our true North. Our amazing youth presented a bell choir piece “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and without a hitch. No practice, no excuses, they just nailed it. How blessed we were/are to have these youth helping lead our worship! We had a good night’s sleep, delicious breakfast, and got to the work site around 8:30. We divided into two teams and continued with painting and roof deconstruction. We find our brothers and sisters to be welcoming, extremely friendly and genuinely excited we are here to share some life and work alongside them. After lunch on the grounds—empanadas—we returned to Corpus Christi for showers and a siesta. Siesta time is spent talking, planning and napping as each person seeks respite from the great heat. Tonight, we look forward to facilitating our first VBS with about 25 children. Each night, as word gets out we are here, we look for larger numbers of youth to join us. Please keep us in your prayers as compassion was our devotion theme for the day.

Your James Island Presbyterian Church Merida Team

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Day One (Sunday)

Saturday morning we met in the church parking lot with our luggage, high hopes and genuine excitement. We left for the airport at five am and arrived without a hitch. Although our Newark to Houston leg was held up, none-the-less we arrived to Houston on time to make the final departure to Merida. As the sun was setting we crossed the Gulf and arrived safely in Merida. We were met by our ground crew, Pastor Ricardo in the joyous lead. Bags were packed, our team was loaded in a van and we made our way to Mount Horeb Church where we enjoyed a delicious meal and great fellowship. We met the staff, shared a blessing of the meal, and dug in. Nothing like delicious food and warm fellowship to help transition from a first day arrival into welcomed guests. After supper we made our way to Corpus Christi Church where we hung our hammocks and ourselves into them for a good night’s sleep. Today we begin work at Mount Horeb and conclude the night in worship at Corpus Christi. Sam will have the opportunity to preach and we are all excited to be a part of the Spirit moving in our midst as we worship with our brothers and sisters in a different place. It is a blessing to know that although we are miles apart we are one body in Christ and as we worship our church family at JIPC is worshipping as well. Please keep us in your prayers as service was our devotion theme for the day.

Grace and peace,

Your James Island Presbyterian Church Merida Team

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