Saturday, April 2, 2016

Fiona Aids My Missionarying Efforts

When the painter showed up on Monday, he couldn't find the paint for Emma's bathroom.  So I went out to the garage with him to see if we could locate it there.

As we were sorting through the collection of paint cans, he talked to me in Spanish, and I talked to him in English.  In between we smiled at each other, as neither one of us knew what the other one was saying.

I decided to open the garage door nearest to the paint cans so we could have more light.  My friend, Alfredo, looked at me and said, "La vaca?"

I laughed.  I do know the Spanish word for cow.

Apparently he had heard the story from Fernando, the other painter, about Fiona getting in the garage to enjoy a luncheon inside a 25-lb dog food bag, and he was concerned.

"Yes,  I told him.  I'll close it as soon as we're done."

He replied with a sentence that included "la vaca," "ocho," "rancho," and "Monterrey," complete with hand motions that depicted milking a cow.

"You milk eight cows at your ranch in Monterrey?" I asked.  "He nodded enthusiastically, smiling hugely.

"Wow!  I said.  Thinking to myself, "that's a lot of milk" and remembering the Spanish word for cheese, I asked him, "Queso?"

This provoked a long and enthusiastic response with more smiling.  I have no idea what he said, other than it was a positive response to making cheese with all that milk.

We found the right paint.  I closed the garage door, and we went back in the house.  I decided to show him my butter molds.  He was very happy to see them.  I have three wooden ones and one set of silicone molds for roses and leaves.  He told me the Spanish words for rose and leaves--rosa, la hojas--and had me repeat them three times.  It was great fun!  I got some butter out of the refrigerator and told him, "butter."

He repeated it.

Then he went away smiling to his work.

Soon the tile man, Mario, arrived.  He is the one who picked up the Cristero picture a few weeks ago. I found out that he is from Honduras.  He speaks pretty fair English, so I asked him whether Alfredo is Catholic.  Mario asked him.

He translated.  "He is Catholic, but he is not very religious.  He doesn't like to go to Mass very much."

"Tell him I want him to come to my church.  We have the Mass of the Cristeros!  The same one they were willing to die for, not the new one that is feminized."

Mario complied, and Alfredo smiled at me.  I ran and got a chapel veil.  I put it on and showed Alfredo.  "We wear mantillas," I told him, because I thought that idea might help convey the reverence to be found in the old Latin Mass.

His expression changed to one of emotion.

"Si?" I asked him.

He nodded and said something to Mario.

"He says he will come," Mario told me.  I grabbed an index card from my desk and wrote down the address for St. Jude's and gave him my phone number.  I asked Mario to tell him that he could text me when he got to the church, and I would introduce him to a Spanish speaker.

Later I thought with remorse what a weak plan that is, but I am entrusting this deficiency to the care of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The contractor, Alex, arrived about 4 that afternoon, and he and Mario and Alfredo worked until at least 6.  I knew they were tired and had a long drive ahead of them.  Emma had just baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies, so I offered them coffee and cookies.

They readily accepted, and I invited them to sit at the kitchen table.  I served them their coffee and cookies, and we had such a nice visit.  Afterward, as they were preparing to leave, they spotted our wooden tortilla maker on the counter.  This provoked a stir of excitement among the men.

Alex asked, "You make tortillas?" somewhat incredulously.

"Yes," I replied.

"Do you use corn or flour?" he asked.

"We used to use flour," Emma told him.  "But since I am allergic to corn and wheat gluten, now we use cassava flour."

This segued into a lengthy conversation about the book, My Heart Lies South: The Story of My Mexican Marriage, by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino.  (My favorite edition is the 1972 with epilogue.  The epilogue is well worth the hunt for this out of print edition.)  Mario said that he would like to read it.  I quickly wrote down the title and author for him.  The book is a fabulous accounting of Catholic family life and culture in 1930s Mexico.  I just ordered two more copies, that way I can give him one if he doesn't order it before I see him next.  And I've got four copies of the Cristero movie, For Greater Glory, Spanish edition, on the way from a third party seller on Amazon.  I am especially hopeful that the movie and the book will help Mario, as when I asked him, "Are you Catholic?" he told me that he goes "to the Christian church, Lakewood."

"Joel Osteen's church?" I asked him, disheartened, as this place is otherwise known by me as the headquarters of "Prosperity Gospel, Inc."

He nodded in the affirmative.

"The Catholic Church is the only one established by Jesus Christ," I told him.  Then I smiled at him and dropped it.  I figured less is more in this case.  I know that one bit of information was of utmost importance to my conversion.

So far my missionarying from home efforts seem to be going well.  It is truly enjoyable work and gives me much food for thought when I consider how it has expanded my understanding of the Catholic term, "domestic church."  I'm really grateful for this opportunity I have been given to share my faith in a way that melds so perfectly with my state in life.  Deo gratias! 

Thanks in advance for any prayers you can lend for these dear souls.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face, pray for us!

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