#26 Tia Time
One of the questions our team gets asked out here with the Nahuatl people is “What do you call them?” The question is an attempt to figure out our family relationships with the other white people in this town. It is hard for them to believe that our group of gringos are not related in any way. Siblings? Aunt and niece? Maybe at least in-laws? The answer from us is almost always a disappointing, “I call them my friend.”
Once our coworker’s children were old enough to talk, however, they started calling Rachel and I “tias” or aunties. And while this is not a blood relationship, I think it gives people a sense of the fact that we see each other as family. Finally, a sigh of relief…those old ladies in the one house are tias “in a manner of speaking” to the little kids next door.
Our tia time with Hypki’s kids is important to us. Rachel and I are both MKs and grew up with people pouring into our lives. Some of those experiences were a blessing and some were not all they could have been. But we long for these little guys to look back at their childhood and remember, “I was surrounded by people who loved me and wanted God’s best for me.” Just like any true tia would.
And the little gringitos next door are not the only kids to whom we are fake aunties. When Agustina came to know the Lord she would jokingly tell her kids, “Listen, your tia is talking to you.” That was long before she had seen the example of Hypki’s kids, but we had made a big point of being sisters in the family of God, so I guess the extension of that family seemed obvious to her.
And that goes for the other believers and their children, as well. The title hasn’t caught on, but I can tell the relationship is there and is growing. These children trust us and sense the love that we have for them. And we take that trust seriously, too, as a small way God can show his love through us.
So, part of daily life out here is going for walks, and doing puzzles, and reading books aloud, and doing embarassing sumersaults, and singing goofy songs, and coloring, and making cookies, and making time for the kids that we are blessed to call nieces and nephews “in a manner of speaking.”