The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Playing Safety

I told Faith a couple weeks ago that lately I feel like we are playing a safety defense here. This is a basketball analogy, which is odd because I’ve never been a big sports fan and, ever since it mattered, have really stunk at basketball. But here it is. Rather than a man-on-man defense, where we have a specific ministry here in Madera that we are helping out with day after day, there are times when we seem like we are here and we just help out with whatever ministry groups seem to need our help for the week. Here are our newest game highlights:

We’ve in the past month begun paying for some local help for the children’s home in the form of a laundry person. When we lived here a year and a half ago, one thing we did was to pay – via donations from our church – for a cook and a laundry person 2 or 3 days a week. There are not nearly so many kids here now, but it is still a load of work to run a home like this, and one thing that the directors did mention to us that would help them out was to have someone come in and do laundry a couple times a week. At this point we are paying for this out of our own budget; besides helping the directors at the home out and also providing a little much-needed employment, we feel the increased relations between the home and the local people and different churches here in Madera will have some long-lasting benefits.

About 3 weeks ago, one of the directors was out of town for about a week and it was back to taking kids to and from school, picking up tortillas, hanging out playing basketball and generally being around.

Last week a couple of guys, Mike and Jack, were down from Grace Place church in Colorado. Almost three years ago when we’d been here for about 6 weeks and were wondering if we’d ever hear English again, we suddenly we came upon a group of gringos in town. They were here working w/ the church that we now call home. Amazingly enough, we’ve been able to stay in some contact and this last week were able to return their favor of English conversation, coffee, and a jar of dill pickles with translating Spanish for them. They came down to work with the local Red Cross here in Madera (the local ambulance service here) but speak ni siquiera una palabra of Spanish. We spent a bit of time with them while they were here, translating between them and the Red Cross guys (who speak ni siquiera una palabra of English) and also our pastor here. Alan was here for some of the time and helped w/ several things but then he had to go to Huapoca and I got left holding the bag. There was a personal high for me (Faith) in speaking w/ another person at our door for about 10 minutes before she asked the question “De donde son?” (which translates ‘where are you from’ ) and my answer was of course, WA. She immediately asked me in ENGLISH, “Then why are we speaking in spanish???” She said she couldn’t tell I was a gringa – sigh – a miracle. I was so tickled! But then pride goeth before a fall so says our favorite book and promptly the next day Jack came by and said they were going to need a translator - for a MEDICAL meeting they were having between the Red Cross, the PRESIDENT of the Red Cross, a local doctor, and Mike. O MIO…..I spent the rest of the afternoon repenting of my prideful moment and asking God to send the rapture so I wouldn’t have to translate. I DON’T feel confident in my Spanish speaking abilities especially in a professional situation. Yikes…the rapture didn’t happen and somehow we got through. My pastor was there too and later told Alan that I did a great job. I retorted back and said that he didn’t speak any English so he couldn’t tell. We all started laughing and I called my pastor a liar right to his face; I promptly apologized and have been forgiven.

Also, last week was Semana Santa – holy week in the Catholic world – when everyone here goes on vacation, and Wednesday through Sunday of last week I (Alan) spent in Huapoca helping out with campers there. Friday and Saturday evenings the camp holds a tent church meeting, showing a film of the Easter story and also presenting a message, and about 30 people made a decision for Christ. Sunday I came home, and then Tuesday we went back out to Huapoca to work with a regional Christian youth camp for local teens. It was awesome to see so many of these local teens spending their vacation learning about living a purposeful, extreme life for Christ. One activity the campers did was rock climbing, which Faith and I oversaw. After explaining the basics of rock climbing and showing how not to damage oneself – all in Spanish – and then belaying 30 teenagers plus pastors and teachers to the top and down again, some of them multiple times, we were ready for a break. We were able to hang out some with them and are blessed by the experience and the fellowship. We returned home yesterday to try and get a blog update done, sort through our taxes and try to make a couple of phone calls before the new week starts.

One final piece of news that we want to share is that Faith and I are planning to take some time this spring and visit her sister in Portugal. We have had plans to visit Europe on the back burner since about 7-1/2 months before Riley was born. Since Faith’s sister moved to Portugal we have wanted to visit her and see her world, and with her time there potentially coming to an end in the not-so-distant future, we have decided to take the opportunity while she’s there and we have a place to stay. It should go without saying, but nowadays perhaps isn’t and ought to be expressly specified, that all money related to this trip is coming out of our personal savings and is in no way related to donated missions money.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Back to normal, as far as it goes here ....

Things have been busy here lately. Living in Madera has it's perks, -- wait, what did I just say?? Most people who have been here would tell you that Madera is quite near the last place you come to before you fall off the edge of the earth. I guess I say this as one who has just moved back to Madera after spending the past six months over the edge. Many would say we are still over the edge, just now not quite as far.

Anyway. Perks. One of them is that we are once again immersed in the Mexican culture and the Spanish language. After spending 4 months in language school, I think we felt like we were forgetting everything we had learned by not speaking Spanish every day. Now we're back into having to remember irregular verb forms in preterite and imperfect tenses, and trying to remember to use the subjunctive voice when needed. Our homework for our sunday school class this week is to read the entire book of John three times, and underline / note all uses of certain words and topics. Reading is still a little slower for me in Spanish than in English, but I'm reading it through in Spanish for the most part. Yeah, I speak Spanish; I just sound like king James when I talk.

We are acustomizing to our life here. Faith is starting to use the wood cook stove that we have here to heat the house to actually cook on sometimes. Which takes us back to that whole 'over the edge' thing again. No, actually it's been good. The kids are learning some things about life with animals and the realities of life that they don't learn at the grocery store. The week started off with a bang on Sunday afternoon when our landlord told Riley he'd kill a chicken for us. He had Riley catch one of the loud-crowing, strutting roosters in the back barnyard, and the two of them went out to the woodshed and lopped its head off. Then Janelle helped pluck it and clean it. Faith was just thrilled with the whole ordeal -- ok, actually she wasn't. But I'm pretty sure we'll laugh about it some day.
After haunting the Telmex office every Thursday morning for the past 4 or 5 weeks, we have a phone and internet connection at home now, gracias a Dios!! What this means is that we have (more or less) full-time skype access again, as well as e-mail and news headlines from the outside world - whoo hoo!!! Obama, Hillary and petroleum prices are all up; the dollar is down. Well, at least the skype and e-mail is a good thing.

I've been working at the children's home here in Madera for about a month now, and am finding myself in the middle of things again. One of the directors is in Juarez this week; this means I am taking the kids to school every morning at 8, and then picking them up after school at 1:30. Along with this, there are various businesses in town that now donate food to the home that needs to be picked up, all on the right days - two tortillarias (where they make tortillas) every day, one chicken place on Thursday and another on Friday, a panaderia (bread store) on Thursday, and vegetables from one of the main grocery stores on Friday. Also running some other odds and ends of errands here and there, paying some bills, buying some things. And in between, trying to replace a few broken windows and fix the front doors that are falling off the hinges to where they will keep out most of the frigid, winter night air. Another big project of late is converting the closets in the bedrooms into lockers, with a lockable section for each child. Along with fitting in an occasional soccer game, some basic carpentry lessons and other life lessons with the kids. I'm hoping to try and start leading a singing and worship time each week there, along with a bible study of some sort for the kids.