|Eating Texas-shaped waffles at our hotel in northern Texas.|
Here in “the valley” flexibility is the rule of life. Very little is certain here, except that your plans will certainly be interrupted and changed. That was the case for me as soon as I arrived. I thought I would have a few days to settle in and begin ministry on Monday. Well, I had to be flexible and start right away. Because the valley is by nature bilingual, there is a patience among the people. No one rushes me when I struggle to communicate or find the right word to use. No one brushes me off as being incompetent because I do not know Spanish well. And everyone has welcomed me with open arms.
Just one night’s rest after arriving in Weslaco, I accompanied Sr. Constance to teach English. This was new territory. I was afraid of not knowing enough Spanish. I was afraid of not being able to teach well. But the women welcomed me with open arms and big smiles. As we learned language about family (mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister), I realized that I have something in common with the people of the valley. We have all left our families behind to pursue a life. The “winter Texans” (like snowbirds, but in Texas) leave families behind for a warm retirement. The immigrants of the valley left family behind, sometimes not seeing them for years, to pursue a better life for their children. And I left my family behind to follow God’s call for me.