Monday, May 23, 2016

Good-Byes Are Hard to Do

Some of the folks of "Amigos en Cristo" church recently held a luncheon to welcome Pastor Walter and family and to say an early good-bye to our family.

Here Maru and Fanny are checking the guinea pigs.

The weather was beautiful on that Sunday afternoon.

Enjoying the food together with the other children.

And adults too!

Joel, Beate and Daniela

Volleyball here is played by teams of three persons, which involves hustling, and they used a soccer ball to play.  Ouch!

Then the next day was a good-bye celebration for Andy, Donata and family (who already left for their furlough in Germany), Kimberly (an MK who graduated from high school back to the States to study), Eli (who was here helping Kevin and Kathy for the year), Lauren (our niece) and us.  Also a time to welcome new pastor Walter, wife Pamela and daughter Neus to the Liebenzell Mission of Ecuador.

We started off with a few songs.

Then the games.  We had to say a tongue twister in Spanish.  I WON!

Putting cotton balls on our nose with cream to put snow on the volcanoes.  It was a very fun game.  Here are contestants Walter and Pamela.

The Farnsworths also competed.  I think we won!

Then Lauren played the trompo (Ecuadorian top) game.  Joel took close-ups of Lauren and "missed" the tops.

For the kids there was a game to stomp on the plastic insects to "kill" them and then pick them up with a clothes pin and carry them to a bucket.

Elias enjoyed this game so much that we needed to buy some plastic insects to play at home!

Kevin shared a devotional with us.

Followed by a prayer time for all of us who are leaving.

The Impact team shared a beautiful song in German.

Then some of the kids and adults hit the hot tub.

The following week we invited the Impacts over for dinner.

We enjoyed our fellowship with them and looked at Farnsworth family photos together.

The soup kitchen staff surprised me one day with a good-bye celebration one morning after breakfast.  It has been a blessing to work with them over the past year.  They moved their center into our church in May 2015.

At the same time the group also welcomed new pastor Walter to Cotacachi.

Saying good-bye is hard for me and for us as a family.  I am sure that some more of these times will continue in the weeks to come.  A month from today we will be traveling to USA (PA) for one year.  Please pray with us that we can get everything done.  Thanks.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo on May 7. Is That Novel or What?

 Today we celebrated Cinco de Mayo, two days late, in grand style with Mexican chilaquiles, which is a tortilla-based dish with red sauce, chicken sour cream, feta cheese, and cilantro.  We all enjoyed it very much.  You can read about Cinco de Mayo below.  And no, it is NOT Mexican Independence Day!

Cinco de Mayo (pronounced: [ˈsiŋko ðe ˈmaʝo]; Spanish for "Fifth of May" or "May 5th") is a celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. In the U.S. the date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. In Mexico, the commemoration of the the battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, such as through military parades.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken to be Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16.


Events leading to the Battle of Puebla

Cinco de Mayo has its roots in the French occupation of Mexico, which took place in the aftermath of the Mexican–American War of 1846–48 and the 1858–61 Reform War. The Reform War was a civil war which pitted Liberals (who believed in separation of church and state and freedom of religion) against the Conservatives (who favored a tight bond between the Roman Catholic Church and the Mexican State).These wars left the Mexican Treasury nearly bankrupt. On July 17, 1861, Mexican President Benito Juárez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for two years.  In response, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, at the time ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use the opportunity to establish a Latin empire in Mexico that would favor French interests, the Second Mexican Empire.

French invasion

Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat.  Moving on from Veracruz towards Mexico City, the French army encountered heavy resistance from the Mexicans close to Puebla, at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. The 6,000-strong French army attacked the much smaller and poorly equipped Mexican army of 2,000.  Yet, on May 5, 1862, the Mexicans managed to decisively crush the French army, then considered "the premier army in the world".

Mexican victory

The victory represented a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and the Mexican people at large. In the description of The History Channel, "Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza's success at Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement."  As Time magazine remarked, "The Puebla victory came to symbolize unity and pride for what seemed like a Mexican David defeating a French Goliath.It helped establish a much-needed sense of national unity and patriotism.

Events after the battle

The Mexican victory, however, was short-lived. A year later, with 30,000 troops, the French were able to defeat the Mexican army, capture Mexico City, and install Emperor Maximilian I as ruler of Mexico.  The French victory was itself short-lived, lasting only three years, from 1864 to 1867 By 1865, "with the American Civil War now over, the U.S. began to provide more political and military assistance to Mexico to expel the French".  Upon the conclusion of the American Civil War, Napoleon III, facing a persistent Mexican guerilla resistance, the threat of war with Prussia, and "the prospect of a serious scrap with the United States", retreated from Mexico starting in 1866.  The Mexicans recaptured Mexico City, and Maximilian I was apprehended and executed, along with his Mexican generals Miguel Miramón and Tomás Mejía Camacho in Cerro de las Campanas, Querétaro. "On June 5, 1867, Benito Juarez finally entered Mexico City where he installed a legitimate government and reorganized his administration."


The Battle of Puebla was important for at least two reasons. First, although considerably outnumbered, the Mexicans defeated a much-better-equipped French army. "This battle was significant in that the 4,000 Mexican soldiers were greatly outnumbered by the well-equipped French army of 8,000 that had not been defeated for almost 50 years." Second, since the Battle of Puebla, no country in the Americas has subsequently been invaded by any other European military force.

(Article "borrowed" from Wikipedia.  Just don't tell my seminary students, please!)