Smell Like the Sheep – Days 2, 3 & 4

Well, the last three days have been a bit crazy!  Friday we knew we needed to get the kids out of the house for a while, especially since the weather was a lot cooler and they wouldn’t be able to be playing outside.  So after community breakfast and prayer, Erik and John-Paul went to round up some maestros to start working on the house and by 1pm we were all loaded in our van going to Saltillo for a little outing. (Sheila stayed back because she was feeling really sick and kept her daughter Mara with her.)

We took them to the food court of the mall for cheese pizza and let the kids play on the little playground right in the middle of the food court.  We then took them to Soriana (kind of a Mexican version of Walmart) to find some little crocs for the kids.  We were able to buy a couple nice blouses and pants for our friend who shyly accepted them, saying she felt bad that we were buying them all these things.  The guys also found a gas stovetop to surprise her with when they move back into the house on Tuesday.  Right now they only cook over fire.

The kids did really well and overall it was a less chaotic day.  We had a fancy Friday meal of fishsticks and peas and PB and J for dinner.  Our friend Martina showed up for a cup of coffee right in time for dinner. She and the kids all helped with dishes after dinner and then they headed to their room for bed.

Day three was full of unexpected surprises.  We had community breakfast and then started round two of bathing and de-licing the family.  Erik ran around making sure all the work materials and maestros were where they needed to be.  Sheila and I dove into the immense task of washing all of their clothes. The guys took the kids to the big cement slides in town for a while while our friend diligently bathed each kid and picked back through their hair for more eggs.  A lady came to the door selling tamales in the morning and we happily bought enough for all of us to have lunch.  Praise God, we could keep working and wouldn’t have to stop to buy groceries or cook anything!  Martina showed up right before lunch asking for a taco so we invited her to sit down and eat with us.  Right before lunch we found a live bug in the baby’s hair, so we decided to buzz his hair even shorter and change all the sheets and blankets in their room again.
s-laundryThings were moving along and Sheila and I were about half way done with the laundry by about 3:15 when we get a knock at the door.  It was a band asking where they should set up their equipment.  What?  We had all completely forgotten that our friends Juan and Linda had asked us a week ago if we could host a couples “Baby Shower”.  It would just be some of the couples from their prayer group and they would be praying over the pregnant mamas.  (Linda is due to have their fourth child the week before me.)  It would be small and would only last about an hour, and then maybe we would have a little snack together after.  The shower was supposed to start at 4, but they were there early to get set up.  Talk about a change of gears!  The guys helped get the house in order.  Praise God, all the kids were done bathing and being checked for lice eggs.  Sheila and I got to a stopping point with the laundry, but 4pm came and went with no one but the band in our patio.  About 4:30 Juan and Linda showed up and were just as shocked as we were about the Praise and Worship band coming.  Apparently a friend of theirs from the prayer group wanted to surprise them!   5pm arrived and only one or two people from the prayer group were there.  And at 6pm, the friend who had arranged for the band finally showed up along with several other people from the group so we could get started.

roof praiseIt was unlike any baby shower I’ve ever experienced!  We had praise and worship, several people presented the expecting parents with different baby items and offered prayers of blessing for us and the new babies, and the husbands all offered prayers of blessing over their wives and babies.  The short little baby shower that was supposed to start at 4 finally wrapped up about 8pm and then everyone stayed to eat until about 8:45pm.  It was right about then, that the husband/dad shows up to see his family.  However, when the guys went to the door to talk to him, he started to leave.  They had to chase him down to get him to come back to the house to sit down and talk with us.  From 9 to 10pm we sat at the kitchen table with our friend and her husband and explained to him what our hopes were for he and his family and why we have them staying with us right now.

We shared with him some things that we felt like were non-negotiables and explained some of the things that we felt like needed to change for them to have a better life.  He was very quiet and non-responsive most of the time.  Our friend was very much on board with what we were saying and shared her hopes for them as well.  I have been so amazed by her strength this week.  She really desires a better life for her family.  As we talk with her and share with her we can see it really making sense to her and she has more hope and confidence.  She has prayed with us…really prayed, and she is not giving up.

I have to keep reminding myself that their life may never look the way that I really hope for it to look, but God can make a difference in their lives…a real difference.  Even if they don’t take every piece of advice that we give them, that doesn’t mean there is no progress.  We just have to continue to try to show them their dignity and help them in any way that we can. Their clean new clothes are going to get stained and dirty just like their other ones.  The kids behavior isn’t going to change overnight.  The husband may not find steady work right away.  But even baby steps toward a cleaner, healthier, holier lifestyle is progress and they need help to do it.

Today, Day 4, the husband showed up at 9:30 just as we were finishing our breakfast.  He brought some treats for the kids and tortillas to contribute to the meal.  We all went to Mass together and they sat behind us as a family.  After Mass, he agreed to shave his hair off in order to help in the de-licing.  He has always had long hair so this in itself was a huge deal.  After lunch the guys took the family to pick out paint for the inside of their house.  Sheila and I went back at the washing of clothes and then the task of combing through our friend’s hair to get any eggs that she had.  The guys went to their house to paint with the husband.  We ate a late dinner at 8pm again, put our kids to bed, finished up the last couple loads of laundry for the day, John-Paul taught the kids how to brush their teeth (which they loved), and I finally got to take a hot shower!  Praise the Lord, it was such a gift!

laundry

This weekend has been hard and we aren’t done yet.  We hope to have the house ready for them to move in by Tuesday afternoon.  But even though it has been stressful at times and hard to constantly be correcting and teaching kids new behaviors, it has been really blessed.  I am more appreciative of my friend and her perseverance.  I have been able to put myself in her shoes a little more and have a lot more compassion for her, and she is beautiful.  She has never been so clean, she is wearing bright colors instead of dark, dingy sweatshirts, and she used to have a twitch in her face every time she would talk to me, but this week the twitch is gone.  She is much more at peace than I have ever seen her.  I pray for her sake that this really will make a difference for her.  And I pray for her husband to really see her beauty and her desire for something better for them and their children and have the strength to really start trying to live into his role as husband and father.   I also pray for the kids to respect and appreciate their mom more and that they too can start living into their dignity as children of God.  Please join me in praying for these things for them!

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~ by martinsonmission on March 2, 2015.

One Response to “Smell Like the Sheep – Days 2, 3 & 4”

  1. You have my prayers! My heart is so moved by all this. I am praying especially for the husband. Praising Him for Shelia’s and your witness to her and your husbands’ witness to him.

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