Memories of Mexico: Day 3, Potrero Nuevo and Casitas

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A Little Background

A few years ago, a wonderful lady named Maribel and her daughter, Amanda, attended our church.  Our emotions were mixed when Maribel married Marcello Fernandez, a pastor in New York City: happy for her and her new husband and sad that we would no longer be seeing them on a regular basis.  After a while of service in New York City, they volunteered to move to his native Mexico and pastor a church there.  She extended to us an invitation at that time to come and see them there.  After about 2 years we finally took her up on it.

This is the third installment in a series about that trip.

You may read the first two posts by clicking on Day 1 and Day 2.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

After a breakfast of eggs and fruit, coffee and coke

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we went out to our faithful SUV.  The night before, though, we had gotten in too late and all the paved spots were taken, so we had to park in the dirt lot.  They had an interesting alternative to lines and instead used beautiful plants.


As Steven was wading through the jungle, I looked around and realized it made more sense to back the car in.


The SUV was great for what we needed, but it was a little different from what we usually see here in The States.

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After picking up Maribel, Marcello, and Amanda, we travelled to the little town of Potrero Nuevo.

They usually have service in this home, belonging to some of the church members.


However, since they were expecting a larger-than-normal crowd, they had prepared for us across the street in an outdoor auto-body shop.

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The owner of the shop is in the righthand picture in the blue shop.  He was a very nice man.  He showed us some pictures of the work he’s done on trucks, and it was  quite impressive.  He was in the process of repainting and replacing the bottom of the refrigerator shown in the picture.  It wasn’t your typical church building, but it worked quite well for our purposes.

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The 24 attendees (plus our 5) would have been hard pressed (excuse the pun) to fit in the blue house.


Marcello opened the service.


I played the keyboard for worship service.  I am not sure I was adding much positive to the experience at this point, but I was starting to get the feel of the songs.  Marcello held the mic next to the keyboard speaker so I could be heard.

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I also played violin, this time making sure to tune immediately before I played, so it stayed in tune all the way through.  I used a soundtrack for accompaniment, using a flash drive plugged in to a little pink speaker that Amanda loaned us.  Steven held a mic next to it to increase the volume.  It wasn’t fancy, but it worked.


Steven preached with Maribel interpreting.


Several people came forward for the altar call.


Following the service, they served us a lunch of baked chicken, red spaghetti, green spaghetti, tortillas, potato salad, and spanish rice: more food than I could eat in several meals.  The red spaghetti was seasoned to taste similar to the Spanish rice.  The green spaghetti tasted like it was seasoned with avacado and green chilis.  The potato salad was much like ours.  They also served a traditional Christmas drink called “ponche” made of boiled fruit.  Click here for the recipe.


The chicken they ate was seasoned with a red sauce which looked very spicy, but Maribel had helped us out by instructing the cooks to make ours mild.  They also let us try some mole (pronounched mole-ay) sauce.


As we left, they offered us some chocolate cake.  Of course I had to eat it: I wouldn’t want to offend.  It had fruit in it and was very moist, almost wet, but was very good.

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These beautiful plants were just outside the auto-body shop.

We had to leave in order to get back to Casitas in time for them to prepare for night service.  On the way out of town we saw this gentleman.


This statue of Don Quixote stands in San Rafael, a town we went through on our way back.   We also stopped at a grocery store and picked up some supplies for that night’s after-service dinner.  While they were shopping I went across the street to the Farmacia (Pharmacy) to get some headache medicine.  I was just going to buy some Advil until I remembered that Mexico has different prescribing laws than exist here in the states.  I asked if they had the prescription drug I use for my headaches (Toradol) and they went in the back and got me some.  This works for any drug that isn’t a controlled substance.  Those require a doctor’s prescription even in Mexico.


For the medicine I needed, though, purchase required no prescription, no doctor authorization, no nothing except for my knowledge of what I needed.  A similar experience happened a few days later when I had a pimple that was getting really infected.  I went into the pharmacy, this time in Casitas, and with the help of Maribel, got a medicine that in the states would require a prescription.  It worked really well and cleared up the infection within a day or two.  People without my nursing experience wouldn’t know what to get or how to administer it.  There is also some debate about the quality of the medications.

Following a short nap at the hotel, we dressed up and went to church in Casitas.  They had moved the benches onto the porch and had rented tables and chairs because of the meal after church.  It was very nicely done.

We started with Marcello opening the service with a full house and every seat filled.



Then about 25 more people came in.

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When the time came for Steven to preach, the building was packed.  Marcello and I ended up sitting in the doorway on the porch because there was just no room.


The building was too packed to have people come forward for prayer, so everyone prayed in their seats.  2 people were born again of the Spirit just like it happened in The Book of Acts.


After church, the ladies of the church served dinner.  These ladies worked very hard to make sure everybody was fed.

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People were everywhere: at the 4 tables inside and on the benches on the porch.

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I helped, even though my Spanish is VERY limited.  The people were very nice and figured out what I was asking even though I’m sure I said it wrong.  I managed to get everyone some bread, cups, soda, and then dinner.  They used the same menu as earlier in the day, with chicken, green spaghetti, and potato salad.


The only addition was that this time we also had chocolate flan for dessert.  I don’t know why my tongue is sticking out in this picture.

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After dinner, several families wanted pictures with us.


And I wanted a picture of this sweet little lady.

We went back to our hotel that night tired but happy.

By the time we got there the gate was closed and we had to honk the horn for the night watchman to come open the gate.

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