This is Community

Categories: Intercultural Studies Blog, Student Stories, Uncategorized

Allison Schneck is a 3rd year Intercultural Studies student who recently started her cross-cultural internship in Guadalajara, Mexico with the Evangelical Mennonite Conference (Ascend program).  Allison is working alongside long-term missionaries in Guadalajara and is currently focused on language and culture learning.

allison

It was 9:00pm. I had just come back from a busy day of meeting new people and straining my mind trying to decipher a language I didn’t know. Tere, my Spanish teacher, and also my host, told me that she, her family and some of her sister’s friends were going to go play sports at a park and I was invited. Sometimes, after a long day of sitting and listening to a language you don’t understand, all you need is the familiarity of sports. The language of sports is pretty universal: Make teams, have fun, try to win. So all nine of us piled into a five person vehicle and headed over to the field. Someone in the vehicle was eating some food and offered it to everyone. “This is community” Tere said, “we ask people if they want.”

I think sometimes we get distracted by the boundaries we put around community. We want to put it in a box and fabricate it instead of simply participating in it. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t like everyone else in the car. I was in the car and therefore I was in community. That was it. Simple.
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This past month has been an incredible learning curve. There are new sights and sounds and smells and language and culture to take in. There’s been a lot of learning. Each week I attend Bible studies and am welcomed with open arms by everyone there. I’ve met lots of people in their homes, at birthday parties and gatherings. Everyone has been so open and kind. I have felt the presence of God among the community of  believers here so evidently.  I’ve made some good connections with people in various Bible studies and can’t wait to see how those relationships will develop. Pray for me that I will be a servant in every way, also asking what small things I can do to live more like Jesus.
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I have started language classes and they are going well. One of the missionaries told me that 90% of language learning is culture learning. Language is so much 005more than the words we speak. It’s also the actions that we take. It has been tiresome not understanding people and not being able to communicate with them. Learning takes time and I am sure that soon I will be able to hold at least a decent conversation! My Spanish teacher is an amazing person and I am so blessed to be able to live with her and her family. Being constantly immersed in the language and culture will speed up the learning process and it is such a privilege to be able to be a part of their world for this month.
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Also, can we talk about how good the food is here!?!?! Did you know that there is more than one kind of taco? Did you know that if you put this chocolate based spicy sauce (it’s called mole) on your tortilla it’s delicious? Tamales exist. Pretty sure we could achieve world peace and end hunger with tamales. There is food and it is good. There is food at every thing. There is food on every street. Buen provecho!
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I would love your continued prayers for me. Please pray that:
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-I would be patient with the learning process.
-I would be a servant.
-God would continue to work powerfully and that he would unite believers across the city.
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