Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Visit to Alcora

Here's a little homemade video (about 8 minutes in length) that should give you a taste of our life here in Alcora.  We originally made it for a children's missions event...Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints' Day in Alcora

Last night we were unexpectedly reminded of the season (and the American commercialism) as a group of four boys knocked at our door and greeted us with the traditional "¡Truco o trato!" or "Trick or treat!" as we say in the States.  This imported "holiday" of Halloween is still pretty new to Spain and has yet to oust the traditional holiday of All Saints' Day (El Día de Todos los Santos).  Today is a holiday, so this morning we decided to go on a little field trip to participate in the culture a bit.

So where do you go to celebrate All Saints' Day in Spain?  To the cemetery...which isn't as creepy or weird as it sounds, especially given that we went around 1 p.m. and there were quite a number of people, young and old, paying their respects to their lost loved ones.  It was interesting to overhear people saying things like, "Oh, I remember him.  He was the brother of the butcher where my grandmother would always go to get meat." A vast majority of the graves (they're almost all above ground, so I'm not sure if that's the adequate word) were adorned with flowers from loved ones and a handful had notes of "I love and miss you" or "You won't be forgotten."

The truth is that I kind of like this holiday.  Praying to the dead or for the dead to leave purgatory and get into heaven, of course, is not Biblical, and I'm sure of how many people in Alcora actually do that.  But to a certain degree I find it healthy to revisit the people we've lost, to remember the past.  In remembering those who have gone before us, as followers of Christ, we are reminded of the hope we have for the future and the reality that death in this world does not have the final word.  Just at the entrance of the cemetery is this cross with the inscription in Valenciano that reads, "I am the Resurrection and the Life." May this truth, this hope be evident through our lives, and may Alcorinos come to know and experience Jesus, who is the source of that hope, indeed the Resurrection and the Life.