This post was accidentally deleted while I was exploring features of the blogger app. It is from 8/1/14, our last full day at the ranch.
Our last full day was one of the most entertaining, and provided an opportunity to explore the city and to shop! And shop we did! As we drive back and compare our purchases, look over the week's pictures and reflect, we have very mixed feelings. Our experiences over these last ten days have been so diverse and stretching, and our bonds with each other, the Acosta family, and the Ranchito children are so significant that it is hard to leave. On the other hand, we can't wait to get into our own beds, take showers where we can leave the water run while we soap up, and no longer wait in line for the bathroom. We do miss our families also, and can't wait to share the details of what the Lord has taught us about ministry, hard work, Mexican culture, and relating with others. We have much to process together with our church family. I am very grateful to Mai Khanh, Joe and Brianna for planning this trip and all the plethora of details that go into organizing such a significant endeavor for 16 of us.
Now for some details about the day - We started out a little earlier for breakfast and were on the road by 9:30. The drive into Guadalajara was about an hour and we stopped first in Bugambilias where we got our money exchanged for pesos and tried to get oriented to each dollar equaling 12.5 pesos. To make things more confusing, their prices use a dollar sign like we are used to, but with the amount of pesos. "$25" thus equals about $2 in US currency. From there we went into the market area of Guadalajara and after being prepped about how to keep together and avoid getting pick pocketed, we set off to find our treasures. We also met up with Sofia Ramirez-Gonzalez who made connections with those on the previous trip. We went off in groups with some Spanish speakers in each group to help us navigate the vendors and to work the deals. The market is so colorful and animated, with so many hand made gifts and musicians AND PEOPLE! We went from the outdoor courtyard into the three level indoor market, sure to send any claustrophobic straight into a panic. After bargaining and securing amazing deals, an excited group of Americans found each other and set off for an upscale Mexican restaurant called El Patio, where we were serenaded by Mariachi singers, who also know one American song - "Happy Birthday" which was sung to Mrs. Sallard! There were Spanish dancers and musicians entertaining us throughout the whole meal, which was delicious!! As if that weren't enough, there was a potter there with a potter's wheel making a large array of ceramic items upon request for keepsakes. He made our group everything from minions to elephants to turtles, guitars, tennis balls and hummingbirds. From there we had several hours to walk the promenade and shop in the more posh stores. The wares were all so tempting, and the whole area was a feast for the eyes. It is safe to say we shopped till we dropped, and were happy to head back to the "ranch". Some inviting soup and sandwiches awaited us and then a wrap up meeting with Chuy, and the challenge of getting all of our clothes and gifts back into our suitcases. Should be interesting.
It has been a great honor to be here and observe the powerful work that is being done at Ranchito and to be a teeny part of it. We would likely all agree that we have been the greater blessed in this endeavor. Now to the last challenge of the week. That packing.