Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The One Who Serves

Pedro & Kathy soaking up the sun outside of church on Sunday
For nearly twenty years, my husband's parents (Pedro and Kathy) served as church-planting missionaries in south Texas, raising his younger sister Nina and sharing Christ with the Spanish-speaking community there. It was a surprise to us all when soon after becoming "empty nest-ers," God led them from the blistering heat of "The Valley" to the blustering cold of the "Windy City" of Chicago! However, last year God saw fit to redirect them into a season of waiting on His purposes in their life. They returned "home" to Michigan and to the gracious arms of their sending church which faithfully supported them (and now us) for many years.

father and son "bonding" over American football via internet

It was this same church that, when presented with the possibility of sending Pedro's parents to us for three months of encouragement and assistance in ministry, stepped up to the plate to make it happen. So it was that ten days ago, we happily welcomed "Grandpa & Grandma" to Iquique!

Grandma all dressed up for her "domain" - the kitchen

Already, it seems we have been together longer than ten days because of the benefit and blessing of having them here. My mother-in-law is gifted in areas I am not - namely, keeping the kitchen spotless and actually enjoying laundry! She thrives on order so we promptly agreed upon a schedule which so far is working comfortably for both of us. On Monday through Thursday she is in charge of dinner and much to my husband's delight, he is once again experiencing the Mexican meals he has long missed. :)

"big" kids with Grandma at a monument to the "unknown sailor"

We've not had much time for sightseeing yet, as life continues to move at a rapid and blurry pace. Between school schedules and extra-curricular commitments and discipleship times and the myriad expectations of life in ministry, there are days I go to bed and wake up with the same heavy feeling of "there is too much to do!" Yet with the presence of my in-laws, we are relieved of several pressures and for that I am very grateful.

the more, the merrier! our busy dining room at dinnertime (9 of us plus guest)

While Mom/Grandma cooks and washes clothes, Dad/Grandpa cheerfully accepted chauffeur duties. He planned ahead to obtain his international driver's license and is now on the daily pick up schedule for the littlest boys from pre-school, apparently relishing the challenge of driving on Iquique's terms. Or as he wrote on his F*cebook page the other day, "Tomorrow I take my solo run to pick up Alec and Ian from school and what I like about driving her is there is no speed limit!!!!!"

apparently parents find their children entertaining, no matter their age! :)

Dad/Grandpa has also had the chance to accompany Pedro to some ministry events such as visitation and the monthly men's breakfast. In one case, it was Pedro accompanying Dad when our young people asked him to present the gospel at their evangelistic outreach on Friday night. The theme was "circus night" and both Pedros seemed to have no problem getting into the groove of things!

Dad won a prize for his fleet-footed antics in this game

Perhaps one the simplest but most helpful aspects of having Grandma and Grandpa here is that there are here. Our life is such that every Sunday night Pedro and I are in charge of the college and career group which doesn't end until 10 PM; on Friday afternoons my discipleship often runs past Alec's pick up time at school; and twice this week there has been an urgent need to sit down with another couple to handle an issue which required us to leave home for an hour or two in the evening. But we can do that now with much more peace (and without having to scramble for a last-minute babysitter), knowing that the kids are enjoying the marvelous care of their grandparents. In fact, Eva made me chuckle the other day when she happily announced, "Now I'll be just like my classmates! They all live with their grandparents, too!"

pizza night for Grandma and the boys

Of course, there have been moments when Eva (and all of us) have learned that living together requires humility and patience and flexibility - even forgiveness. But these are all important lessons and I can think of no better environment in which to learn them. Like many MK's before them (myself included) our girls are also learning hospitality since their room is on loan to their grandparents for these three months. (Last night as Dad and Mom were resting after a long day of serving their children and grandchildren, we snapped this picture and decided they looked like a modern-day adaptation of Ricky Ricardo and Lucy from the "I Love Lucy" show!)

Grandpa and Grandma (or Ricky and Lucy as we like to call them) relaxing
In Luke chapter 22, Jesus is sharing the Passover meal/Last Supper with His disciples when in verse 24, they begin to dispute who is the greatest among them. Jesus responds to them in verse 27 by asking, "For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves."

a breakfast "double date" to plan our new family schedule

We have been truly blessed and humbled by this same attitude in Dad and Mom Garcia ever since they set foot in our home in Iquique. I wanted to write this post, not only to highlight some memories of our first week together, but also to publicly express appreciation for the ways they are ministering to and loving our family. Thank you, Dad/Mom/Grandpa/Grandma! We love and appreciate you so much.

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