One block away we have a neighbor named Yolanda; Yoli for short. She turned 80 years old this past spring and she lives alone; she’s never been married. The first time we met her, Kylah and I were playing outside, and she called us over and beckoned us to walk with her for a bit. Well, she ended up inviting us into her home and gave us a grand tour. Her home was the first Mexican home I had been invited into. It is decorated with home made tablecloths, curtains, pillows, very traditional furniture, and lots of saints. Yoli has a tiny kitchen with pink tiles decorating the walls and in her laundry room she still uses a hand-cranked washing board. That first visit with Yoli opened the door for many more. She typically walks past our house on her way to the neighborhood tienda each afternoon, and if she notices we are home, she will stop by to visit us. We have had many wonderful conversations about God, Jesus, and what it means to be at peace. One of Yoli’s favorite things to do is to teach my girls Spanish. She is delighted by the girls and likes to sneak them treats when I’m not looking. I don’t think she has stopped by our home without bringing some sort of chocolate candy or vegetable soup for me or crackers to share.
Yesterday, the girls and I decided to drop by Yoli’s house to say hi. We had been gone for 2 weeks, and I wanted to let her know that we were back. Seconds after calling out her name, she started telling us, “Me voy, me voy.” (I’m coming.) She was overjoyed to see the girls, invited us right in, and we sat down at her tiny kitchen table while she pulled out a toy tea set and began playing tea with the girls. She poured water in the tiniest tea pot, gave each of them a little cup (that held about one swallow of water), and opened up a brand new package of chocolate chip cookies she had bought just for our next visit. It was the sweetest time, and while I wish I had a camera, it was one of thost moments that would have been ruined with a picture. A moment I didn’t want to stop because it was such a gift. A moment that reminds me why we are in Mexico…to love people, to share our lives with them, and to testify to the full life of peace and joy that Jesus offers to those who believe in His name.