-Footprints in the Sand-

-Footprints in the Sand-

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets offootprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really troubled him and he questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Hardest Part is Leaving

I have officially finished my duties here in Mexico as a teacher to young children.  Am I sad?  More than anything.  Am I ready to leave?  Not really.  Will I come back someday?  Absolutely!  I have grown to love this culture, and everything I have experienced for the past four months I have been here.  Don't get me wrong, some of the things I would have never gotten used to, and I am glad that I will not have to deal with things like that anymore.  Most of the things that I experienced was good, just plain ole' good.  I have enjoyed everything that I was faced with including the happy, the sad, the hard, and the terrible.  I know those experiences have made me a stronger person, and I finally feel like I can carry my own being.  I don't need to rely on others anymore.  I have become more independent, smart, and patient.  I would also love to think that I have become more selfless, although I have improved, I still have a ways to go!

Looking back to where I have been, I can see improvement in myself.  Let's take a flashback through Sophia's life shall we?  Age 15.  Middle school.  Kinda OCD.  I was terrified of people as a child.  That sounds super weird, but it is the truth.  I never liked being in a crowd, and when I was, I was looking at the fastest way to escape it.  Who would have known that I would end up in Mexico?  Living with strangers, not being able to understand, or speak their countries language.   Getting lost for 5 hours in the Mexico City airport, and being able to stay calm because I knew with a certainty unfeigned that that was where I was supposed to be in life.  Me, who was afraid to walk into Wal Mart by myself because I was afraid something bad would happen.  Me, who always wanted to travel, but never thinking I could because I was too afraid of the world. 

I checked my luggage for the first time in my life by myself.   I went through customs for the first time in my life all by myself.  I lived in Mexico, and I still live to tell the tale.  One's capacity, and overall growth is something that can never be underestimated.  Don't get me wrong, you don't grow by doing things by yourself, because the people I have met have been a huge part of that change that has happened inside me.

I once was talking about going on an 18 month mission for my church with a woman who I whom I will call my older sister.  During our conversation, I said something along the lines of, "If I go on a mission, I know that it will help me become a better person."  Her response.  "Ya know, I don't think that you are seeing yourself clearly.  I think that you will help lots of other people become better by going on a mission."  Honestly, I never understood her response until now.  I now can make some sense of it, now that I have been in service to others.  The whole time I was focused on what a mission could do for me personally, and not about my abilities in actually helping others.  That's the whole point of service, yeah?  You go for others, and you magically find yourself while doing so.  Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  I totally believe it.

I never thought that I would end up here, but I am beyond blessed to have done so.  Service is the ultimate act of Christ's love for us.  It doesn't mean that you have to leave your country to do so.  The amazing thing about service is that it is universal.  No matter where you are, there is always someone that needs a smile, a hug, or kind words of affection.  Service in small doses can yield huge effects. 

As my story here comes to a close, I can say that my time here has been well spent.  My life has changed from, "some day I think" to "one day I will."  Life is but an adventure, and I am ready to go wherever Heavenly Father sends me next.  My footprints have officially left Mexican soil.  Welcome back America. 
                           "Celebrate endings -- for they precede new."  -Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hi, My Name is Walter

Today has been so full of different emotions, I don't know what my body wants me to feel right now.  I printed off the last alphabet worksheets ever.  Here.  In Mexico.  For some reason I feel like it went by too fast, but when I think about it; I feel like I have done so much, and feels like I have been here years.  It either went by fast, or slow right?   But my mind is telling me that both have happened all at the same time, and I have a hard time grasping the concept of everything right now.  I will be home in 10 days.  Panic mode is just starting.

Today I feel like I did so much, and am exhausted by all of it.  It actually started at 4 o'clock this morning when I was awoken by horrible dreams.  One had to do with old women in their underwear...on a bridge.  Not a regular bridge, but one of those wooden, swingy bridges that lets you go from one side of a mountain to another.  I don't know why my mind chooses crazy, super random things to dream of at night, but sometimes I wish that it would just rest in peace.  Half naked, elderly women was not how I wanted to start my day!

After I finally got a few hours of shut eye, I went to the school to clean.  I cleaned the kitchen cabinets, and disinfected the cupboards.  By the time I finished I had to go to the grocery store to get things for my lesson.  I made yogurt parfaits with the children, and they liked them!  I am loving this whole, "teaching English while cooking," tidbit.  I don't like it, I LOVE it! (as the kids would say :)

I took a break from the cleaning to check my e-mail, and I got an message from Argentina.  (Probably the highlight of every Monday)  But he told me a story of how he saw an elderly woman get trapped by a bus door, and how she was hitting the bus with her cane to get the bus to stop.  Poor woman.  I may have chuckled at my mental image, not gonna lie, but she did survive, no worries.  :)  Not sure what it is with old women today, but they sure are making an appearance!

Before I knew it, it was time to teach, and I was ready!  Except for the fact that parents could come in and watch today...uh oh.  This was kinda stressful, won't lie about that either.  It all worked out in the midst of craziness between moving from this room to that one, and forgetting my charts, and my token bag...but we all survived!!

In my BR class (no parents watching this class) we went over the letter W, and I had the kids name off some words they knew that started with that letter.  Well as I was going around the room, I get to Marco (definitely one of the brightest children I have met) and he says, "Hello, teacher Sophia Banuelos my name is Walter."  I burst out laughing, and before you know it, the whole class is laughing.  :P  I called him Walter throughout the remaining class time, and he just giggled, and giggled every time I did.  I will miss those children's laughter that is for sure!

In my last class of the day, as mentioned I forgot my token chart in another room, and I was kinda panicky because the parents were watching this time.  Well, I had to go get it, I kinda had no choice so I said, "I am going to go get the token chart, I will be back in 5 seconds!"  Then they started counting as I ran out of the room, and grabbed my chart.  When I came back they were like, "Teacher, you took 17 seconds!"  :P

My conclusions for the day:  My crazy, super random, clean, hilarious, laughter filled life is good, and boy will I miss it when I leave...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Part 2: You Know You are in Mexico When:

 You know you are in Mexico when:

43-  The cockroaches look like walking Twinkies...If only hostess didn't go out of business.
44-  You hear people say, "Tamale, tamale, tamale," on speakers riding their bicycles (with pots full of tamales in the front basket.)  Honestly, it just cracks me up.  :P
45-  Guys go, "Ch, ch, ch," at you all the time.  Do I look like a dog?
46-  Carpet doesn't exist.  It's either tile, or concrete.
47- Women carry like 3 basket full of tortillas around all day.  Some even have children cradled on the front...that is what you call hard labor.
48- You see mice running around outside of the school.  They are super small, and cute.  I could only imagine how annoying they are though. 
49-  The garbage trucks say, "Mama! Saca la basura!!"  Bahahaha!
50- There are AMAZING bread shops on every corner.  I am obsessed.
51-  The tacos put American one's to shame.  You don't know a taco til you've been to Mexico.
52-  Milk comes in a box, not a jug.
53- You trip on all the broken sidewalks, and almost break your face.
54-  You can take siestas on the grass outside, and get tan from the sun...in December.

Oh Mexico....I'm glad I got to know you.


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