Pastor Leonel sharing at the youth conference on Saturday.
Over the weekend this past Saturday, we had the privilege of going to a youth conference that happens every three months in different locations throughout the state of Jalisco. This conference took place here in Autlán at a local park. The ones in charge of this time asked Jessie if she would lead worship. If you haven’t checked our photo page we have now starting posting videos from YouTube. There is one of Jessie leading worship with some others as well. Check it out. The leaders also asked me to share in one of the workshops. All together there was probably close to 100 kids who attend. In my workshop, to clarify were about 20. I shared from the passage of scripture that Jesus says “If anyone wants to be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”. It was a little tough getting these kids to answer any questions I asked them. After the workshop, we played games. On my team was one kid who had come from a town over who was in my workshop. I found out that he was Catholic and that he never really goes to church. He was invited by another young guy. It was clear to me, just how important these events are for doing evangelism. We were singing worship songs and listening to a message from a different pastor in the park that all these kids come to. This kid may never set foot in a Christian church, but here he was listening to a gospel message where he may never have heard before. Another aspect that is really beneficial for these events is just the friendships that these kids get to have. We live in a catholic country, in a majority catholic family and friends. There is less than one percent Christian in this town. So the amount of Christian friend these kids have is very few. They get to see for a moment that they are not alone. There others who have given the lives to Christ. Oh, how much these youth need friends in a society that has no problems with underage drinking. I have even seen picture on facebook of the youth in this city who have posted pictures with beer and tequila all over the place with no problem at all. It is such a norm. We need more youth who will follow Jesus instead of follow the way of the world.
I have posted some photos on our photo page. I took this one while walking down the street. I thought you get a kick out of it. I have seen people try to protect their car getting stolen but never actually seen a chain used before. I believe this is an old Datson probably from the late 70's or early 80's.
Carnitas (pork) meat on the bottom, and fried tacos on top.
When we arrived here in Mexico, we realized that every part of Mexico has different things that are unique for their regions. For instance, here in the state of Jalisco, what you are served at a wedding reception or party is often times called Birria (which is a stew made from goat meat which is quite delicious by the way). In Aguascalientes, you are served some type of mole which is a sauce made from chocolate served over some type of meat like chicken. One of the other differences is how they serve carnitas (Fried pork). If you have ever been to a Chipotle restaurant and had their carnitas meat, it is very good. Here in Autlan though, carnitas is served at breakfast. You can't find it at lunch time anywhere. There are maybe one or two restaurants that sell carnitas. Mostly what you find is what Jessie is doing here. In front of the tienda(small corner store) they will have a glass case full of the fried pork often still with hair connected to it as it is cooked with its skin. We will have them in tacos or in our eggs for breakfast. Very good meat if you like pork. Another regional food is the torta hojogado. It is a sandwich served with some type of meat and serve completely drenched in a tomato based soap. Just one of the few things that we enjoy from time to time. (The carnitas is pretty fatting so we don't eat it very often.)
When you can't remember what day it is, it shows you how busy life has become. We made it through the holidays after having both Lilly and Aletta coming down with a fever at different times. We are all on the mend after dealing with colds as well. We are now feeling the days come back to some what normal routine. The girls are now doing school again and the amount of extra events are become less and less.
To give you a brief update on our Vacation Bible school we are going to have ended up getting canceled due to rain. After months of no rain the week we plan to have an event which parts of it would have been outside we had to make the tough call and cancel until Easter break. We will be prepared for the next time we start it as we are already set with our curriculum, crafts, and games. Now we need to pray that God would hold back the rain for that week as well. Just to give you an idea of some of the reasons, we canceled because of rain. If you have ever lived somewhere where it doesn't snow, what happens when it snows? Everything get shut down. The whole way of life get thrown out of whack. If it is raining here, and you have an event, no one will come. People are weary of getting cold and wet in fear of getting sick, which after living here for 5 years now, I believe them. There are a lot of people around us who have sore throats and coughing. I guess it doesn't really matter that the temperature only moves about 20 degrees from the morning the middle of the day.
I (Andy) am starting a men's bible study on Thursday evenings with another church. There is a possibility of 10 guys coming together. Now if that happens we shall see tonight. We are going to be going through a study on the book of Romans. It is important to have some biblical grounding to the these men. I would say that besides me and the other pastor, the longest any of these guys has been a Christian is less than two years. I am looking forward to getting to know these guys. My prayer is that they will be open and receptive of what God wants to teach us through His word.
If you haven't checked our photo page in a while, I have loaded a few family youtube videos. I will be adding more photos in the coming days.