Beautiful Creation – Shawna MacKenzie

I’m sitting on the rooftop of our host home in San Pablito watching the sun rising over the mountains while I reflect on the past few days. It would be quiet except for a cacophony of roosters crowing, dogs barking, a symphony of birds singing, and our neighbor’s pig grunting. Today, on our last day in San Pablito, I am overwhelmed and grateful for this trip. I have learned so much about this place, these people, and their stories. Yet, I’ve also learned so much about my own story.

The crafter in me was hoping so much before we left to be able to see the amate paper making process that I’ve read so much about. Not only did I see it and learn about it this week, but I got to experience it for myself. I see my own story mirrored in the process. Before the paper can become a canvas for art, it must be harvested as bark from a tree. It is soaked and boiled for many hours, then manipulated into skeins that can be pulled apart to create strands for the paper. Next, the strands are placed in a grid and the artist must repeatedly pound the fibres with a rectangular volcanic rock shaped for the process. More bits are added and pounded until the fibers blend together creating a canvas for the artist to create his or her masterpiece. So it is with my spiritual journey. I started out as simple bark on a tree, selected, moulded (sometimes pounded) into something that is beautiful, not because of who I am, but because God the artist has made me so. I can no more turn myself into a finished piece of art than the bark on the tree can turn itself into paper. It is a process, not something to be rushed, but something to be added to bit by bit – fibre by fibre – until I am prepared to grow. The beauty can be seen only after it has been prepared by the Creator. The result is a beautiful story – joy and pain woven together to bring glory to God, my Creator.

Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

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July 7 – Nic Peters

We got together for breakfast and then headed out for our first and only event today: repainting a preschool. In Mexico, school is supposed ot be free but due to corruption they don’t get any money for kindergarten. So we got together, bought the materials and turned a boring old tan building with the minions and a few other figures painted on the front to actually quite bright and beautiful building. We even got an artist (the guy we were staying with) to paint several things on the walls and let me tell you, it’s awesome. And at the end we all got together and threw a ton of big bricks onto their roof, so they could build a teachers room on top of the main room. We didn’t just throw them though, we formed a chain and passed the bricks from person to person. Then we headed home after about 8 hours of work, had supper and went to bed. 

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July 6 – Nic Peters

It has been somewhat difficult to sleep as there has been roosters screaming at 2 or 3 in the morning, so I used my earplugs and it helped a bit.

Breakfast was nice, its awesome to have Kellogg’s cereal and milk since milk is my favourite comfort food. Then we went to an artisan’s house and they served is a second breakfast of delicious bean “soup” and some lemon grass tea which tasted great, but since I’m already full, it was a bit of a problem. The family also offered us all giant cooked ants after I shared my testimony with them. I also told them I really liked the food here. The ants tasted like slightly burnt popcorn but the mental steps I had to take were big. This family made their own special amate paper lamps, a beautiful work of art that no one else makes. 

Next, our group went to make our own amate paper. It’s interesting seeing the process and seeing examples of the steps from turning tree bark into paper. After that, we headed back for lunch with a fruit/veggie salad, oil fried beef, and what some described as a combination of coleslaw and potato salad. After lunch we visited 2 more artisans. First was an amate paper artist who completely out classes us and then a bead artist. Both were amazing and I got some gifts for my family.

We headed back to our respective host houses for a guys/girls night. The guys invited over a few other guys from the community. A father and son from North Carolina came were in San Pablito, so it was nice to speak English to them. It should also be stated at this point the Mexican meal times, lunch is at 2pm and supper is between 8pm and 10pm, is its currently 8pm and we haven’t had supper yet but we were drinking cup after cup of a bunch of different coffees. Sadly I don’t like coffee and I feel its too late to be having caffeinated drinks. Turns out this is supper, coffee and sweat bread.

Pastor Tyler used the opportunity to encourage everyone to use their skills and abilities to serve their community and love their neighbours.
   

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