Sorry it has been awhile! As you are about to read, we have been very busy!
Matthew 18:21-35 hit me hard yesterday at a bible study so from that I got this blogs start:
GIVE ME A CHANCE
After an eventful first day in SA, we got to sleep in a little bit and then went to the church to meet a former YAV who is still going to Divine Redeemer (DR) and she gave us a tour of the church. Then she took us to a place across the street from the church that is called Time Dollar. Time Dollar is an agency that believes everyone's time is equal, you can go in and trade and hour of your work for an hour of someone elses. For example.... if a person knows how to fix ACs they can trade an hour of AC work for an hour of someone elses work. It is really a very unique and amazing agency! AND they helped us get a new AC unit for our living room! In the back of Time Dollar is a garden that is a community garden and they also offer gardening classes! Andrew runs the garden and the programming there and also runs House of Teens which is where I'm working. He gave us a tour and some seeds and some literature on gardening and is going to come to our house and help us garden!! It is a goal to grow at lease one edible vegetable this year! Whish us luck! After our tour we went out to eat with our pastor, Rob, and some other staff people from DR. They took us to this awesome hole in the wall and ordered a bunch of different foods for us to try and experience.
Thursday we had a walking scavenger hunt around the Westside. We found out some interesting local drama at our first stop. They have changed the name of a very important street! Which explains why it took us so long to find the high school!! We had to find out what the mascot of Lanier was. Next stop was a a program form Catholic Charities called the Guadalupe Cammunity Center. We spoke the supervisor and she told us all sorts of things about the Westside and their programming. As a side note Catholic Charities has huge programming in this city! Two of my housemates work them. One is at the Refugee and the other at Guadalupe Home. (http://www.ccaosa.org/services.html) Our next stop was a historical marker about some crazy battle that didn't make any since at all! Then we went to the Natatorium and the receptionist told us all aobut cool things on the Westside! As we walked to our next stop we passed some of the first public housing community buildings. Rent there is still based on 30% of the tenants' monthly-adjusted income. We went to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and learned about the rich history it has and all of the amazing things they do arts wise for this part of the city! Art is very important here for expression. Poverty leads to beautiful art might I add! Our next stop was Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. It was so beautiful! There was a shop next door selling holy water and rosaries and such and we went in and tried to talk to the cute little Hipanic lady, but between her no English and our hodge podge of Spanish all we managed to say was "We are missionaries and we are exploring the Westside." Next stop was a local high school hang out and local place called The Galleria... it was a tiny hole in the wall with quite possibly the best buger ever! My housemates had never even heard of a frito pie or Big Red!! So they tried them and lets just say not everyone is a fan! Then we got to go home!! After about 5 mins of enjoying AC again our site leader picked us up and we went to a local coffee shop and talked about goals/expectations for the year. That evening we met the D.O.O.R. board memebers and had dinner at La Casa which is what their office is called. Then we quickly rushed to church for choir practice!
Friday the assistant director of DOOR took us on a city tour and we saw one of the missions and had lunch at an amazing place on the northside called Chris Madrids. That night was First Friday which is an artisan festival and we decided to ride the bus to get there. This was our first experience with the San Antonio bus! Lets just say it was interesting and leave it at that. We met a nice, but sort of creepy guy who decided to litrally take us there even though it was out of his way. We met up with my old roommate from college who lives here and we saw lots of cool art and lots of good people watching!! Fortunately Ginny (my old roomie) gave us a ride back in her car!
Saturday people from the DWELL committe at DR took us to the Riverwalk and we went on a boat tour and then had authentic German food, because at some point SA was very German. That night we had dinner with the DWELL support committe and we got to meet some very cute babies! Two sets of twins!!
Sunday was our first day of church at DR. It is a bilingual service so I was very nervous. Turns out the pastor Rob is incredible!! God flows through him in such a powerful way! The mix of Spanish and English was a really cool way to do a church service! Sunday night we went to play sand volleyball with the DR Young Adult group and the young adult group from First Pres. SA.
Monday: Labor DAY!! as in I slept a lot.
Tuesday was my frist day of work! Inman Center was full of cute kids and I got to play and learn how they do things! It is a requirement that I eat breakfast and lunch with the kids... I am not complaining about that one at all!! I was at Inman from 8 am - 2 pm then it was off to House of Teens. Tuesday turned out not to be the best day to start for me because those are they days that DR has teen night untill 9 pm! I got to H.O.T. at 3 pm and hung out with the middle and high school kiddos and we played a game to get to know me! Then we had teen night. By the end of the day I was just exhausted!
Wednesday was Inman Center and HOT again and the quote of the day from an adorable 3 year old... "Excuse me miss. What are those holes in your arms?" I was confused at first, but then she pointed and I realized she was talking about my freckles!!!! hahahahaha such cute kiddos!! I also had an eye opening experience into what kind of backgrounds these kids have. We were riding tricycles and one boy decided to play police man and "pulled me over" and the proceded to "arrest" me and take me to "jail." He put my hands behind my back and made clicking noised like handcuffs. I feel like most 3 year olds wouldn't be this detailed about that. Also when I was released from "jail" I was informed that I was now on probation. This was a hard pill to swallow for me. This little innocent boy has obviously witnessed this process.
Thursday was another day!! The teachers at Inman have decided they are going to teach me how to speak proper Tex-Mex instead of the Spanish I already speak!! In the evening we made our way to the Mennonite Church to have a potluck with all of the other Volunteer Organizations which include: Catholic Worker Corp, Jesuit Volunteers, and Mennonite Volunteer Services and us DWELL/YAV. It was awesome to meet other people our age!! And just like every gathering here... good food!
Friday was our first community day... none of us work so that we can meet with our site leader and do bible studies or trips or in this day's case our Covenant... 4 hours later with a lot of compromising we came to our final covenant and headed home! Oh... we have decided to do coffee shop tours for our comminity days, so each week we will be going to different places. After the very long and frustrating covenant meeting I needed to blow off steam so I went and chopped at a tree!! Our backyard needs some good TLC and that just so happens to be a great way for me to blow off stress! That evening one of our DWELL committe people picked us up and took us to Women's Lectio! Women's Lectio is a women's group that meets once a month and had dinner and then does a Lectio Divino. A prayer practice... you should look it up if you aren't familiar. It is a very powerful process. I'd like to take a second and just mention how amazing the women of DR are! They welcome us with such open arms and hearts. They let us into their lives and take us on like we are just one of their daughters. I now have 20 more moms!!!!
Saturday we had a household Nuts and Bolts meeting. Planned our next weeks food and budget and then headed to the store! We decided to drive this time because we were getting toilet paper and we didn't think it was possible to carry all of the groceries PLUS toilet paper. We then all had alone time to nap/read/talk to people. For dinner we went and tried Bill Millers because everyone here says they have amazing sweet tea! After that we decided to get on the bus and head to the Riverwalk. Mostly because in the Westside of SA white people like us are strange and so we get stared at and called at quite a lot. I didn't realize how much it was wearing on me until someone mentioned that we were always being watched. So we headed to the Riverwalk where all of the tourists are so that we could fit in and blend. After some authentic margaritias we went dancing and then managed to make it home on the bus again!! Successful outing!!
Today was church and Rob certainly hit the nail on the head this morning!! I swear God is speaking to me through him! We had a welcome potluck after service and had some mole and lots of different rices and dishes! Then I headed to the backyard again to continue my little project!! The neighbor saw what I was doing and offered to help! Which was good because we had a dead tree and all I had was a hand saw... he had a machete! Things went much quicker with him helping. I'm going to write him a thank you card or figure out some way to say thank you!
We decided to bake a cake tonight... and it is ready. So I am signing off!! I will try to be a little better about posting more often!!
Peace and Blessings