Every year, around new year's, Guagueyvo, (and I'm guessing most other villages) hold an endurance race for which the Tarahumara's are famous. Do any internet search on "Raramuri runners" and you will find a pile of interesting cultural information.
|Notice the ball directly in front of the first runner.|
The idea of the race is to kick a wooden ball, along with your team members, 30 or so laps around the mountain. These runners started around noon, and I wish I would have an accurate picture to show you of them still running into the wee hours of the next morning. Pitch pine torches were carried among the large groups of people still running, while fires everywhere dotted the mountain, marking the places where observers were gathered to watch, encourage, and re-light torches.
|Some women also ran along with the teams to encourage them along.|
One thing that struck me was how much effort they put into this. We didn't stay up to watch the finish, but estimates were that they ran 14 hours non-stop. For days afterwards, you would see little boys running along the mountain trails kicking little balls in front of them, dreaming of someday....
|A "refilling" station. :-)|
In watching their whole-hearted effort, it was a challenge to me to faithfully run the race that is set before me. Should I give any less effort in striving for the victory and goals Christ has set before me?
Victor was a half crazy boy who lived just over the hill from where I was. His mother had died in child-birth, and due to complications during the deliver, he is severely retarded. At 10 years old, most of his communication is guttural grunts, and though his grandparents care for him somewhat, for the most part, he is left to fend for himself. This results in behavior that is often much more animal-like than human....
Despite these obstacles, the Byler family has taken him under their wing, and he was frequently at their home for 1-2 meals a day. It was a blessing for me to see them firmly, yet kindly deal with his struggles, smell, and lack of manners. Due to them, he has come a long way, and it blessed me to see him pound his heart every time the name of "Jesus" was mentioned.
|Getting a haircut from Elisha.|
One thing I kept quite busy with was the family's baking. As soon as they found out that I had worked at a bakery for awhile, and love it, they graciously allowed me to bake the week's bread, granola, and whatever sweet things I could figure out with the kitchen's limited supplies. :-)
Meal prep was also something I helped with some. Though most of the time we ate very simply, once in awhile, particularly when we had visitors who brought in fresh ingredients, we would make something exotic like the completely homemade tacos below. :-)
One day I was feeling particularly energetic, and the children and I took an outing to a nearby creek.
Though I was not there during the rainy season, the couple rains that did occur gave me a taste of the horrendously sticky mud the clay-based soil turns into after moisture hits it. The results were rather interesting....
One particularly big highlight for me involved my transportation out of Guagueyvo. I never dreamed I would get to ride in the mission's bush plane, but the Lord worked out details in an amazing way. I loved it! It sure beat the 3-4 hour bone jolting ride in a vehicle! :-)
Samachique was the little plane's destination, and it was there I met up with dear friends from NC to finish out my time in MX. The fellowship was incredibly sweet for me after being so isolated for two months, and I thoroughly enjoyed the memories made and shared there together. The main goal there was to build a house for a family and host a missions conference for the missionaries working in that area of Mexico. Mixed in though, were some fun times too... :-)
|A great big dorm was traded for my little one. Lots of close company|
was shared here as there was 19 girls living here at one point!
|A nice big kitchen, and some awfully talented cooks to boot! :-)|
|An evening of "The Island People."|
|Would you believe a week before this there was just a cement foundation?|
|Every made homemade pizza for 35+ people? :-) It was an adventure for sure,|
but one that ended quite tastefully. :-)
|As much as I enjoy Mexican food, this American pizza|
And so ended my time in Chihuahua. 5 days of travel up to NC was ahead, a friend's wedding, more memories made with other dear friend's, and a bittersweet flight home the 15th of February. I left with many lessons, memories, new friends, and absolutely no regrets.
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.