Friday, October 29, 2010

A week of firsts...

I've been here a while, but this week did some things that I've never done before. It's a long story, and I can't go into details here, but we are seeking a number of permissions to buy and build in order to advance the kingdom here in this part of the world. These plans led us to a personal meeting with the diputado, or representative, for this area of Mexico. We drove into Mexico City to the Cámera de Diputados and met with this man personally, in his office, across from his power desk. By "we" I mean Samuel, Tiffany, Tiffany's neighbor Claudia (or contact with this particular political party) and myself.

It was a good meeting. The representative assured us that he was very much in favor of the type of community service/outreach that we have been and continue to be involved with here. I never expected to have such a high-level meeting with such a politician, and it makes me smile to think of how under-budgeted and informal we are in many ways, yet how the Lord has given us some remarkable opportunities.

One huge advantage in Mexico for us is that volunteer organizations hardly exist here. Part of that could be economics, part corruption, part just a lack of a culture of volunteerism. The end result is that there are huge holes in the society, holes that the church can and should fill; ways that we can be creative in outreach that simply do not exist in a more developed country like the U.S.

Ok, another first. Changing a clutch in our little red car. Of course, I didn't change the clutch, that was Mardonio's job...and he did a great job at that! My first shock was the price of a clutch for a Hyundai Attitude (not sure what they would be called, if they exist in the U.S.). Pretty sure it's comparable to an Accent. Anyway...the clutch cost $265. Ouch. And we were actually going to finish this month off in the black. Now, that was just the price of the parts. Actually I wasn't sure that the clutch was right at first, because it was for a 2005 Verna model, but after taking it back once, I was assured (and Mardonio convinced) that this clutch would in fact work.

To install the clutch, Mardonio had to basically take apart the whole motor, take off the wheel and part of the suspension, and drop the whole motor block. There were screws and bolts and pieces everywhere. I asked Mardonio what he does if there are bolts left over, and he said (in jest I hope) that he just drops them in the oil cap. One weird thing...he found a ton of dead flies in my used transmission oil. Why? No clue.

Anyway, after all of that, two days later the car was good as new, better than before. How much for your labor? I asked him. He told me the cost...$65! He said that it was a joy for him to fix it, and that God would bless him for it. This is not a Christian man. I gave him $120. Crazy mechanics don't charge me enough! Could you ever say that in the U.S.? Here's some pictures.

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