Sunday, November 25, 2007


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Brian and I had fun even though we missed being with our families. One of the players on Brian´s team hosted a Thanksgiving lunch at a local restaurant here in Culiacan. It was complete with turkey, the mexican version of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and ham. We also had a few untraditional dishes like shrimp, scallops, octopus, and chips and salsa! Only in Mexico :)

Brian was the starting pitcher on Thanksgiving Day and did a great job! He pitched almost 6 innings, struck out 3, and only allowed one run. The Tomateros ended up winnig the game 4 to 2. However, as soon as Brian came out of the game, team officials informed him that they were releasing him due to the fact that they just signed/added some major league players to the roster. One or more of these major league players are foreign and since you can only have so many foreigners on the team, Brian had to go. Brian said they felt really bad about releasing him. We, however, are totally ok with it. We know that God is in complete control, and our time in Mexico is up. My only disappointment is that we didn´t get to go to Mazatlan, a resort city right on the beach. I´ve heard it´s gorgeous, crystal blue water, white sand, etc. The team went there the day after Brian was released. Oh well!

We finally got reimbursed for our stolen computer and I am so thankful for that! As soon as we get back to Charlotte, we´ll be purchasing a new ¨addition¨ to the family. We fly back to the U.S. tomorrow, Monday. We leave Culiacan at 7 am and get into Columbia at 9:15 pm. I can´t wait to eat something other than tacos, Chinese food, and Burger King (those were all the options within walking distance of our hotel). I´d hate to know what my cholesterol is right now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What´s Wrong With Me

About a week or two ago I had an experience that allowed me to see a very disturbing side of myself. A side of myself that I´m not proud to reveal. I still feel guilty about what I saw and refused to act upon . . .

It was late one night, after Brian´s baseball game, probably around midnight. Brian and I walked back to our hotel, but decided to go a few blocks further to buy some food at a local convenience store called the Oxxo (ox-oh). It was very dark, and very few people were out. As we approached the store I noticed a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. I didn´t see his face. I didn´t need to. I could tell he was homeless just from looking at his feet. They were so dirty they were black. He wasn´t begging for money, he was just sitting there, head down.

Being careful not to stare, I quickly glanced away. When we stepped into the Oxxo Brian said in shock, ¨Did you see that person?¨ I replied affirmitively, but was surprised by my husband´s intense concern and shock and asked, ¨Yes, why?¨ Brian preceded to tell me that he´d never seen someone in such bad shape. In my haste to look away I missed the fact that this man´s skin was covered in boils. I could tell by the look on my husband´s face that it was a horrifying sight. Brian mentioned something about buying him some food while we were in the store, but we didn´t. I don´t know why. We should have. Unfortunately, that´s not the most disturbing part of this story. As we walked out of the store, I again, was careful not to stare. Brian couldn´t help it. He was too burdened for this person.

Once we crossed the street Brian stopped and said something to the effect of, ¨I feel like I should go back and give him some money.¨ Something deep within me exclaimed, ¨Yes! Yes! That poor man needs help. Show him generosity.¨ But I began to rationalize. It felt dangerous, it was so dark out. I was scared. What if he was a madman, went crazy on us, or passed his disease along to us? (If you want to puke at my selfishness right now I wouldn´t blame you). Brian probably saw my hesitation because he began to walk in the direction of the hotel. As we were walking back I prayed, ¨Lord, if you want us to help that man, please let us run into him again. Preferrably in daylight.¨ And a very gentle, yet convicting voice said, ¨but he´s here now.¨

I still didn´t turn around.

As I laid in bed that night, I was riddled with guilt. I bought food at the store when I wasn´t even hungry, I ignored a most likely very hungry individual, and now I´m laying in my warm bed while he´s probably trying to sleep on a concrete sidewalk. In America there are homeless shelters and places that feed hungry people, but I have no idea if they have things like that in Mexico.

I asked myself as I laid in there, ¨What stopped me from helping that man tonight?¨ The answer came quickly. ¨Fear.¨ Fear of all the selfish things I described earlier: what if he goes crazy on us, follows us back to our hotel, touches us and gives us his disease? I think I even feared what I would see if I looked at him. The Bible says I am supposed to be an imitator of Christ. Jesus would have demonstrated His love for that man. Jesus was never afraid of a leper, but I was.

I wish I would have turned around. I wish I would have bent down and placed some food and money at his feet. And even though I can´t speak his language, I wish I just would´ve looked into his eyes and held his gaze so that he might see the love that God has for him. I believe that God would have communicated this to him, had I only turned around. It would have been worth it. Even if he scared me or did something weird.

It´s people like that homeless man that I believe God is referring to when He says, ¨But many who are first will be last, and the last first.¨ If I see that man in heaven, I will rejoice to see him in front of me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good -

Our hot water is back! For about 2 weeks our hotel didn´t have any hot water. We were taking cold showers, which I absolutely despise doing. We got back from a six day road trip yesterday, and the hot water was working again!

Brian has also been ¨reactivated¨ which is good. He pitched last Friday and will start again on Thursday. His outing on Friday was ok (5 and 1/3 innings, 3 runs). His arm is still very tired from pitching so much this summer so we´re hoping it gets a second wind soon!

Brian and I were talking other day about how nice all of his teammates are! They always speak to me, ask us how we´re doing, if we need a ride anywhere, etc. Many of them have spent years in the major leagues, but none of them act ¨too good¨ or have ¨big league attitudes¨ towards other people. They all seem to be down to earth. This is not always the case in the U.S., but it has been quite a pleasant surprise down here.

We went to a city called Los Mochis last week. We got to stay in a hotel that was much nicer than the one in Culiacan. The beds were so comfortable (our´s in Culiacan are hard as rocks). We also went to a restaurant that speacializes in shrimp. I am not a shrimp fan, so admittedly, I was not looking forward to trying this place. But our friend suggested we get the shrimp tacos and they were outstanding! The shrimp was fried and served with a thousand island-type sauce. I think I liked them so much because you couldn´t really taste the shrimp!

The Bad -

We still haven´t gotten reimbursed for our stolen computer. The hotel supposedly filed it under their insurance, but today the hotel manager said he wasn´t sure if the insurance company would pay for it. We´re supposed to check back with him tomorrow, but I´m worried about what we will do if he says they´re not going to cover it. It´s extremely difficult to communicate with him because he doesn´t speak much English so that adds to the problem.

The Ugly -

I can´t believe how fast the turnover rate is down here. Just last week three managers were fired, and they were only four weeks into the season! One of the managers won the league last year and was apparently fired because his team lost five games in a row. Five games is not that much! I´d call that a little slump, but certainly not cause to fire the manager! As a result, a lot of people are stressed. No one seems to have any job security around here.