Saturday, May 5, 2012

Piel de Gallina

When something here is really moving, or surprising, or scary, people say, “Tengo piel de gallina.”  Piel means Skin, and Gallina is Hen or Chicken, so the phrase "Tengo piel de gallina" literally means, "I have chicken skin".

If you’ve ever cut up a whole chicken, you know the raw skin is pretty pimply or bumpy.  Are you getting it?  Piel de gallina is the same thing as our Goose Bumps!  Having never seen a goose up close and personal, but having spent a fair bit of time in chicken plants, I actually prefer the Spanish!

Yesterday was a day of Piel de Gallina.  I was alone in El Callejon as Daisy had to go to the capital for some personal business.  I remembered back to my first day alone… it seems like so long ago, although in reality, it’s only been seven months. 

In the morning, I met with Joemny and Kathy, two of our young women.  They are both relatively new believers, and are hungry to learn more about the Bible.  We started simply, talking about how they read the Bible and spend time with God. 
I also shared our desire that as they grow in Christ, they will be able to help us lead.  Watching their faces light up as we talked… Piel de gallina! 
Over lunch, Lorianny, Jenifer and Erika stopped by to color.  Then Johana, LaLa and Noelia came in.  Then Franklin, Tule, and Jamie.  I loved hearing them say Por favor, and reminding each other that Kinverli doesn’t like the word Feo (ugly). 

Even more, I loved hearing them exclaim Que bonita! (how pretty!) to each other as they colored.  There were a few tiffs, but for the most part, they worked side-by-side.  Nine precious children of God, sitting around the table with me… Piel de gallina!
In the afternoon, I had our Pre-teens (ages 11-12).  We were reading the story of Jesus walking on the water.  In Spanish, it says that the disciples thought Jesus was ‘un fantasma’.  Claribel asked me if I believed in ghosts, because there was this movie and this man and his family were killed and the ghost made the lights go out… She pointed to her arms – Piel de gallina! 

Suddenly, all the girls were chiming in with movies they’d seen, or people who’d told them similar stories.  I couldn’t catch all of it, but tried to help them understand that allowing our minds to be filled with that type of stuff is not pleasing to God. 
I asked them how much time they spend each day watching TV and movies.  The average was around two hours.  How much time do you read your Bible and pray?  Some said each day, others once a week, others didn’t respond. 
Our truth comes from God, and from His word.  I know it’s fun to watch TV and movies, but we need to always remember where the truth is. 
I also tried to encourage them to talk with their parents, with Daisy or me, with another adult, if things they saw made them scared or upset. 
I’m not sure I got through to them, but rejoiced that they were willing to ask me questions, and that I was able to understand a significant part of what they said.  Just seven months ago, I could barely catch their names!  Piel de gallina.
On my way home for the week, I stopped at our new site.  (Jump over to our Social Work site blog for the latest pictures!).  As I walked around the large, lovely space, you guessed it… Piel de gallina.  Right now, it’s empty, but so full of promise! 
When I think about El Callejon, I know that it, too, is filled with promise.  Some days, we just want to quit and move to Switzerland where everything is tidy and orderly. 
(My friend Brian lived there, and told me they had a guy whose job it was to clean up the black scuff marks at the train station.  I think he was trying to show me how overly rigid they were.  To me, it sounded heavenly!!) 
But, God is at work in El Callejon.  He is at work in big ways, like our new building.  He’s at work in ‘small’ ways, like the excitement of sharing a Bible verse, and hearing a little one learn to say Por Favor. 

The girls’ memory verse for yesterday is Philippians 4:13:  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  All the things He calls us to do, we can do.  In His way, in His perfect timing, in His strength.  Just allowing these words to penetrate my heart… Piel de gallina!!

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