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Valley Presbyterian Church
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Tekax Memories 2010

We are One Body

  by Alice Chiang , April 2010

Two years ago, April 2008, I opened the Presbyterian Today magazine and an article, about a project to install water purification systems in parts of the world that lacked access to clean water, caught my eye.  Water is such a crucial part of my life,  as I carry my water bottle with me everywhere I go, that the thought of being able to bring this life-giving essence to others who don't have it,  inspired me and motiviated me to look into it further.   Fast forward twenty-two months later,  February 2010,  sixteen of us from Valley Presbyterian Church,  returning from our one-week trip to Tekax, Mexico, tired but glowing. We had just installed a Living Waters for the World water purification system for our beloved sister church Monte de Sion.  We had brought the gift of clean water to our dear hermanos and hermanas, with whom we had built a trusting and loving relationship over the last 20 years.

Wow!  I marvel at what has transpired in those months, how a spark became Living Waters.   I marvel at how it all happened:   the  exploring, surveying, fundraising, training, recruiting, preparing, teaming, travelling, installing, educating, laughing, bonding, celebrating.   Whew!   It happened through the work of many hearts and hands.    It happened through the support of a caring church  community.  It happened through the Grace of the Spirit. 

Each of the sixteen individuals on the trip was meant to be part of this journey.  Each contributed his/her own talents and gifts, to make this a grace-filled experience for all.  Once again the warmth and generous spirit of the Mont de Sion community worked its magic on us.  We let down our guards and embraced the love that surrounded us. 

We were young and old, male and female, first-timers and many-timers to Tekax, engineers and artists, introverts and extroverts, Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish speaking. 

·      Gian, Ted, Mark and Adam made up the heroic installation team, who labored endlessly each day to build a complex system until clean water flowed from the spigot.

·      Cathy, Ashley and Alice led the lively teach-the-teachers team -  Joan, Brenda, Robin, John, Carl, Natalie, Joye, Samantha -  in training the Monte de Sion teachers  about the use and care of clean water through stories, songs, and hygiene lessons.   We were amply rewarded as sounds of singing and laughter filled the classrooms of Monte de Sion men, women, youth and children.  

·      Joye, Ashley and Adam touched the hearts of all with their beautiful soulful music, echoing the heart-felt songs of our Tekax brethren. 

·      Carl was our calm and effective translator for technical education matters and negotiation sessions,  while Robin, Gian and Natalie, helped us get by with our everyday Spanish phrases.     

·      In the evenings,  Mark and Joan gathered us quietly for reflections and processing of where we felt the presence of God each day.  On the last day of Celebration, Mark made good use of the first drops of clean water from the system as he blessed the congregation and gave an awesome sermon about the deep roots that tied the tree of life of our two churches.        

·      Samantha, Natalie, Ashley and Adam were our essential liason to the Tekax youth and future generations.  

·      Anita kept us on track with business plans and project plans, ensuring a sustainable operation for Mont de Sion.  

·      And last but not least, Brenda, our reluctant first timer became our best spokesperson after we returned with a moving recount of our trip to Valley's congregation.

We were individuals each with his/her own contributions, but we were one body, part of the same Spirit !   We embodied Paul's saying:

' The body is not a single part, but many.  There are many parts, yet one Body. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit.   To each individual, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.' 

For seven days, we were blessed with time together: traveling in planes and buses, working beside each other, sharing three meals each day at the same table,  sharing our thoughts with one another,  hanging out, singing songs, playing games, laughing and crying, experiencing the belonging of being one family, one community, being accepted, appreciated and supported by the loving spirit of the others.  

After seven days,  the water system was installed, the lessons were taught and our hearts were full.   As is often the case, we received more than we gave.  The gift of water to others became also the gift of love to ourselves.

 

Adam Wegener

Tekax Reflection

May 2010

They were always together: that’s what struck me about our brothers and sisters in Tekax.  There was no sense of busyness that we have in Silicon Valley.  They cooked together, played together, sang together, worshiped together, learned together and laughed together.  Men, women, elderly and kids all sat together in one room the night the mariachi band played.  They sang their hearts out, together.  Most of them don’t have anything close to the “things” we have, yet I found myself envious of what they had: community. 

I believe God made us to be in community, and sadly, our American lifestyle doesn’t seem to cooperate.  We live far away from each other, we have places to be, and we pack as much activity as possible into our little lives.  I believe God made me to be deeply connected, and I felt that when I went to Tekax, with our team and with the members of Mont de Zion.  I want to experience more of that, and now I have a good model. 

Since I’ve gotten back, I’ve been doing a lot more “withnessing.”  No, it’s not a spelling mistake; it’s my own word for what Jesus called us to do: be together with Him and those around us.  It’s really simple, but we usually don’t do it; I’m making an effort.  Maybe someday my new term, “withnessing”, inspired by this trip, will catch on.

I played a song while in Tekax which I’d written before we left, “Catch Me Smilin”.  The song came alive in the sanctuary of Mont de Zion, and it felt as though I’d written the song specifically about our trip.  The lyrics are attached, so give them a look.

Also, on the way to Tekax, I was reading through this binder and I felt really moved by the stories I read.  Some lyrics with a melody came into my head.  That song turned into “Simple Gift of You,” which talks about what I saw in Tekax.  This is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve written, and the lyrics seem to resonate deep within the soul.  I think it’s because the song captures something that feels right, because it’s something God is trying to communicate to us.  The lyrics to this song are also attached.  Enjoy!

 

Emmanuel,

Adam


Catch Me Smilin'

Adam Wegener

 

There’s a millon things I should probably do

But I’m not

Cause I’ve learned it’s important to be by you

Cause you’re all I’ve got

 

Time spent with you I consider well spent

We didn’t say much, but I knew what you meant

You’re not here with me now, but I know where you went

And this tells me one thing: love, I’ve learned, is not efficient

 

If you catch me smilin’

No need to wonder what’s on my mind

If you catch me smilin’

You can be sure I’m thinking about you

You can be sure I’m thinking about…

 

All the million things I should probably do

But I’m not

Cause I’ve learned it’s important to be by you

Cause you’re my God

 

And time spent with you I consider well spent

We didn’t say much but I knew what you meant

You’re here with me now and the places I went

And this tells me one thing: love, I’ve learned, is not efficient

 

If you catch me smilin’

No need to wonder what’s on my mind

If you catch me smilin’

You can be sure I’m thinking about you

You can be sure I’m thinking about…

 

All the things that I chase after

Thinking they’re the things that matter

But when I reflect upon the latter

You’re left in my mind

I want to hold onto the one

That can’t be taken away from me

 

So if you catch me smilin’

No need to wonder what’s on my mind

If you catch me smilin’

You can be sure I’m thinking about you

You can be sure I’m thinking about you

Atrapame sonriendo

Adam Wegener

 

Hay un millón de cosas que probablemente debo hacer

Pero no las hago

Porque aprendí que es importante estar a tu lado

Porque eres todo lo que tengo

 

Tiempo pasado contigo lo considero tiempo bien pasado

No dijimos mucho pero supe lo que queriás decir

No estas conmigo ahora, pero sé adonde fuiste

Y esto me dice una cosa: aprendí que el amor es eficiente

 

Si me atrapas sonriendo

No hay porque preguntarse lo que pienso

Si me atrapas sonriendo

Puedes estar seguro de que estoy pensando en ti

Puedes asegurar que estoy pensando en

 

Todo el millón de cosas que probablemente debo hacer

Pero no las hago

Porque aprendí que es importante estar a tu lado

Porque eres mi Dios

 

Tiempo pasado con tigo considero tiempo bien pasado

No hablamos mucho pero supe lo que queriás decir

Estas aquí conmigo ahora y los lugares que fui

Y esto me dice una cosa: aprendí que el amor no es eficiente


Si me atrapas sonriendo

No hay porque preguntarse lo que pienso

Si me atrapas sonriendo

Puedes estar seguro de que estoy pensando en ti

Puedes estar seguro de que asegurar que estoy pensando en...

 

Todas las cosas a las que persigo

Pensando que son las cosas que importan

Pero cuando reflexiono sobre eso

Te quedas en mi mente

Quiero agarrar a el

Que no me lo pueden sacar

 

Entonces si me atrapas sonriendo

No hay porque preguntarse de que pienso

Si me atrapas sonriendo

Puedes estar seguro de que estoy pensando en ti

Puedes estar seguro de que estoy pensando en ti

 


Simple Gift of You

Adam Wegener

February/March 2010

I often thank God

For all the blessings I’ve received

Like my house and my car

These are things most people will never see

And I was waiting, wondering

When this would feel like enough

While I was waiting you took my hand

And I feel it, it’s your love

And I cry tears of joy, tears of joy

You’re with me and I with you

You know me and I know you

And I’ll have years of joy, years of joy

And I can say that I’ve been blessed

Cause God gave me the simple gift of you

I envisioned a day when my life would be easy

I’d sit back and just enjoy the ride

But as I’ve grown older, the storms just get colder

And I don’t know if they’ll ever subside

So I sit waiting, wondering

How I’ll ever make it out alive

But I can make it through anything

If I’ve got you by my side

So I cry tears of joy, tears of joy…

Take away my house, take away my car, take away my job

I’d still have what I need, cause I’d still have you

And we’d have our God

And you know what’s more, I consider everything a loss

Compared to the greatness of

Being wrapped up in your love

That’s why I’m crying…

Tears of joy, tears of joy

You’re with me and I with you

You know me and I know you

And I’ll have years of joy, endless years of joy

And I can say that I’ve been blessed

Yes I can say that I’ve been blessed

Cause God gave me the simple gift of you

 

 

Tekax2010Group

 

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