Friday, August 26, 2005

En el Aeropuerto

En el Aeropuerto
Originally uploaded by juanjsarmiento.
Pilar, Maricela, Andres y Juan

In Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos II
Originally uploaded by juanjsarmiento.

A trip to Remember...

There are events in everyone’s life that leave a special taste in our mouth. The couple of weeks Maricela and I spent in Cancun was one of those...
Last minute changes in our flight itinerary gave us the opportunity to visit Atlanta for the first time together. MARTA (local train system) took us to some of the city’s landmarks in an only three hours!
Pilar (Juan’s mother) and Andres (brother-in-law) were waiting for us upon our arrival at Cancun International Airport. It had been five years since we had seen them last. After felt hugs and kisses we transited through the picturesque streets of Cancun on board the family car, listening to the tunes of U2’s “How to Disarm an Atomic Bomb”. Arriving at the Zambrano’s home was indeed disarming: Last time we had spent time with them (including Thania -Juan’s sister- and Mayela - niece-) was in Margarita Island in the Venezuelan Caribbean. And now, here they were, settled and prospering in a whole different country !
Cancun is a unique place. Its beaches with turquoise waters and white sand. The majestic natural beauties of the Riviera Maya with its cenotes, (sink-holes) thick tropical jungles side by side, the incredible coral reefs where schools of multi-color fish allowed us to dance with them. The quiet spirit of the local Mayan people. The awe-inspiring ruins that testify to one of the most sophisticated and long lived civilizations in human history. The glamour of the Zona Hotelera with its fancy malls, restaurants and hotels in Las Vegas style. (Juan had a great chance to reflect on his background in the hotel industry during those days). We had never seen any other place with the tourist infrastructure of the area.
In many ways, Cancun has more of what is commonly perceived as an “American feeling” and less of a “Mexican feeling” than, let’s say, East Los Angeles. We did, however, have the privilege of visiting villages in the Yucatan area that did not look like anything you would find in this country. We also got to savor the rich typical food . By the way, you may know that “burritos” are actually an American creation and not commonly found in typical food restaurants.
What we enjoyed the most was being able to spend time with our family. Although Mayela is now a very beautiful and bright young lady she preserves the sweet personality of the nine-year-old we once met for the fist time. Along with Thania and Andres, she is part of one of the most loving families we have ever seen . We were also impressed by how much all of them (including Pilar that is currently residing in Venezuela) are into health and wholeness. Not only are they in great shape but they talk as fitness and nutrition gurus.
Either watching a gorgeous sunset, enjoying an “Asadito” (Argentinean Barbeque), at a bohemian winery or simply in the Zambrano’s living room (with the loyal company of Sheri, an unforgettably smart Venezuelan poodle?), our conversation was always captivating. We recounted our memories with deeply felt gratitude to the One that made the beauty of those moments possible. Stories of people being transformed by the testimony of Christ through Thania and Pilar gave us a fresh appreciation of the powerful ways the Spirit moves:
• A single mother of two lives in desperate emotional and financial conditions. She puts her trust in Christ and regains emotional and financial stability for the first time in many years.
• A young lady is dying hopelessly in a hospital. Through intercessory prayer she instantaneously recovered in a misterious way.
• A mother that that desperately saw her son drawn into apparently hopeless drug abuse. They both find abundant life.
The gentle of breeze of Cancun… and then, the gentle breeze of the Spirit: We overheard people talking about the Way in stores, restaurants and on the beach. Beautiful praise and worship music could be heard at the “Mercado 28” (A souvenirs’ open market). As we drove in Yucatan we saw how, very often, the largest buildings in the area’s small villages where Presbyterian Churches. Worshipping at First Presbyterian Church of Cancun we learned that they have a big problem: In each of their three Sunday services their 400 seats sanctuary is filled to capacity. Theirs is only one of the seven Presbyterian churches in that town of around 800,000 people!
It’s hard not to get carried away with what God is doing among the nations. As members of a family that is scattered around the globe we are truly excited to have opportunities for witnessing of the all embracing love of the One that has called a people through which “all the families of the earth” will be blessed (Genesis 12:3, NLT)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta

Woodruff Arts Center
Originally uploaded by juanjsarmiento.
En nuestras recientes vacaciones a Cancun nuestro vuelo hizo escala nada mas y nada menos que en Atlanta. Que buena oportunidad de mostrarle a Maricela un poco de los encantos de la ciudad a la que viajo con frecuencia