Upon our arrival to our new home, we were greeted by the wonderful aroma of food. There was a kitchen full of women, cranking out something that smelled delicious! Remember that I had been up since 4 am…. I had a cup of coffee before I left the house……. peanuts on the first flight….. did not have a chance to eat between flights, and had planned to buy a box of something on the plane. Just as a note of warning to any and all passengers on Delta……… they only take debit cards for food on planes. I left my debit card at home…. so that meant, more peanuts and coffee for me. So by the time that we were in Mexico…. it was another hour through customs, and an hour to the house from the airport….. I was HUNGRY!
We all sat on the back patio, and were served dinner. We found out at the end of the trip, that it is a privilege to be served your food in Mexico. Frequently the cook will serve you the amount of food they feel you should eat, and for this I was glad. I told you, I was HUNGRY. Dinner was a delicious pot roast and potatoes and carrots…. hearty, simple and savory….. it was the beginning of what I knew was going to be a beautiful gastronomic relationship with Mexico.
After dinner, Pastor Nelson gave the devotion. It was a challenge to us to show other people God’s love. He told us that we had already had our first opportunity to share God’s love with someone we just met in Mexico. He asked us how we did with our first mission. Did we ask our drivers if they knew the Lord? There was a few very crunchy moments for the girls. We had not said a word to our driver, aside from hello, and thank you for driving us when we got to the house. Mrs. D had chatted with him the whole ride…. in Spanish…. but we had no idea what they said. Each girl, felt the weight of our missed opportunity. The feeling of guilt in the room was almost palpable. They boys were far more successful than we were, they knew their driver’s name, his favorite sport, and they knew he was not saved. They had spoken to him about the Lord during the hour that he was squashed in a van with 10 Americans.
The growing and stretching that takes place when you practice obedience, is what much of our trip was about. We were challenged time after time, day after day, to not treat the people around us like cellophane. You know, the stuff you wrap a gift basket in. It is there, but you look past it, through it, to the other thing you are really there for. Think of the cashier at the gas station…… you are there for gas, not to talk…. does he or she know the Lord? and that begs the more, perhaps MOST, important question….. Do you care? There are people that we interact with daily…… and we have NEVER spoke to them about the most important thing in life….. their relationship with the Lord. These thoughts were convicting when I was sitting in a house in Mexico hearing them……….. They are convicting now, as I type them. Right now in my mind I see the face of the Cashier in Winco that scanned my groceries yesterday……… I missed that opportunity.
I will say that the day after Pastor Nelson’s talk, we were energized to talk with our driver…. we weren’t going to let another moment slip by. That day, we found out that his wife went to church awhile ago, but not any more…. we found out that he didn’t know the Lord. We found out that he has 4 kids…. 2 who are grow and two who are still home. It was amazing how much you could learn about a guy in a 10 min car ride. Day by day we grew to know more about Eddy and his family….. Day by day he would ask us more about what we were doing here, how our day went telling other people about Jesus….. ( i don’t want to get ahead of myself…. so I will finish Eddy’s story later….)
Our first day of real work was amazing……… we load up the van ( it was so roomy with just PEOPLE in there!) and headed over to the very first church that Pastor Nelson started when he came to Mexico. It is in a poorer middle class neighborhood, where frequently both parents need to work in order for the family to survive. The streets are narrow, clogged with parked cars. The homes rise two stories high, often right from the edge of the sidewalk. You know the neighborhood is middle class and still fairly well off, because most all of the homes are painted…… stray dogs are everywhere, so is the smell of poverty.
We arrive outside an ominous looking wall where an equally ominous looking black gate is. I remember thinking….. “where is the church?” …. well we were there. We had arrived at our first church “Fransisco Villa”. The next thing I learned about Mexico was that everything happens behind a wall, or a gate. Frequently the wall has glass spikes sticking out if it or electrified wire, or razor wire on the top. They don’t want anyone in their yard! In the States, we have yards, open and green. We display our flowers and grass in such a fashion that people driving by will say…… “wow, that is a nice yard…” we like to show off our stuff, but we still don’t want anyone in our yard. In Mexico, you see a wall……. and wonder what great things are behind it. Here is what was behind the first wall……
It was amazing. The color, the life, the refreshing shade, everything that was behind that wall was nothing I would have imagined, and better than I would have hoped for. I wonder, as I sit and think about the walls people live behind in Mexico, do we realize how similar we are as Christians in America? How inside, we hold a beauty and refreshment for all those around us to share…….. yet we erect walls, barriers to anyone we meet, that says…. stay away! what is in here is MINE!!! ….. shouldn’t we be as willing and caring as the church at Fransisco Villa was, to open that gate, post a sign inviting someone in, and share some of the beauty God has planted in OUR lives??
For the next two days, we made new friends, we told little kids from the neighborhood that Jesus loved them, and wanted them to know Him. We invited the neighborhood into the church home and tried to plant the seeds of God’s love.