Our sixth day in Mexico was a Saturday. Our Carnival days were complete, and Pastor Nelson had decided that we would work in his neighborhood this day. Chris Bautista, the missionary that had met us at the airport with Nelson, had experience working with youth, and came to know the Lord through Campus Crusade for Christ. We were going to use his comfort, and ease with speaking to young people to find some to minister to in the neighborhood of Las Alamedas.
I feel like I should sort of explain all these towns and areas that we have been in, to you. I will start at the top, and hopefully I won’t lose anyone in the explanation. The whole time we were there, we kept saying we were in Mexico City, and our ever patient guides kept smiling at us and telling us no. We were indeed NOT in Mexico City. In Mexico, Mexican people refer to Mexico City as the D.F.. The closest thing I can associate it to is how we view Washington D.C.. The DF is their Federal Government seat. Now, around that, to the north of the DF is the state of Mexico. I can see the look of confusion…. hang with me…. this took me 2 weeks to understand, and almost a month to figure out how to explain…..
Mexico is made up of 32 independent states. Maybe this map will help it make a bit more sense….
O…K…. see that MEX above the stick that points to the letters DIF? DIF is the capital. That MEX… that is where we are. Now there are a bazillion towns that are in the State of Mexico, and we have been in three that are next to each other. Atizapan, Colonio Olivos, and Tlalnepantla. Then……. as if that wasn’t confusing enough…. the neighborhoods are all broken into areas as well. So we are sleeping in the TOWN of Atizapan, but in the neighborhood of Las Alamedas. We have worked at a church called Fransisco Villa, but it is in the town of Tlalnepantla. Finally, the church Los Olivos, is in the town Colonio Olivos….. AND…. just in case you were wondering….. all of this area is counted in the mix when they say how many people live in Mexico City….. but if you are in Mexico… it isn’t really Mexico City…. got it?
Now that I have lost you completely with the lesson in Geography….
I will get back to what we did on Saturday, day six.
We walked up several hills to a park that was nestled on a hillside in the neighborhood of Las Alamedas. It really wasn’t that big of a hill…. but when you are at 7,000 ft above sea level…. being out of breath takes on a whole new meaning.
We finally made it to the top…. and were able to stop panting and wheezing, long enough to get a game of soccer going. It was American concrete soccer…. it wasn’t pretty. Our goal was to strike up a game and see if we could get some high school or college aged nationals to play with us, our lame American version of soccer. We were able to talk a dad that was there with his family into a bit of game time….. but when the World Cup started, he was headed home to the couch to yell at his TV with the rest of the country.
After Tayler decided, while in mid-air, to turn the opposite direction from how she had planted her foot on the ground…… and twisting her knee and therefore crumpling to the ground like a wadded up piece of copy paper, and needing to be carried off the field……. we decided that soccer and concrete don’t mix….. and that not a soul was going to join us while the World Cup was on…. so, we decided that we would go back for lunch, join the rest of the entire country, and watch the game ourselves.
This brings us to the next installment of Mexico Math. We fit 8 people into 5 passenger car. 6 of them in the backseat. This was because Tayler was injured…. so she got the front seat, the other one to have his own seat, was the driver. We thought that was important. Our driver was the always present Pepe, there will be more on him later…. So in the back seat there was Pastor Bill, his wife, their 2 girls ,Evan and ME…. it was raining, so we couldn’t roll down the windows, and Evan and Tayler had just played soccer….. Can anyone say RIPE? We bottomed out on a few speed bumps, and on one I thought we ripped a hole in the gas tank, but all in all, we made it home alive.
After we peeled ourselves out of the car…. we had lunch and then headed down the street to Pastor Nelson’s house to watch the World Cup. Here is where I learned how passionate, our dear , sweet, reserved, quiet, Pastor’s wife is…… about futbol. Those who sat near her on the couch may have permanent hearing loss…. we are still waiting for their hearing tests to come back.
After the game was over, we headed back up the hill to the park, to see if anyone was out playing soccer…. excuse me… futbol. This time we were in luck. There were a group of guys hanging out at the actual soccer field. We strolled up… ( descended upon them like a flock of locusts would be more accurate ) and asked them if we could play. I think they said yes, for the sheer entertainment value of playing futbol with some goofy lookin’ Americans.
I will just call it as it was……. we got SCHOOLED!
They passed circles around us……..
we did this a lot….. Kicked the ball off the field…… We always chased it down the hill, so they didn’t have to…..
it was hard work…..
What happened next was the best part of the day. It was the whole reason that we were willing to suffer great humilitaion on the futbol field. We invited the whole bunch of them to see a skit we had prepared. They agreed ( and I am sure that God provided rain just then to help us along ) so we went up to a pavilion at the park, and got to business. After the skit, two of our guys shared their testimony. Alex shared his with them in Spanish… and Cory shared his, in English with Mrs. D translating. Cory’s testimony was amazing. He shared with them, that no matter how many good things you think you have done…. not a one of them without Christ, will get you into heaven. The whole time he was talking, my head was bent in prayer…. beseeching God to make Himself clear through Cory’s words.
Chris, our new missionary friend, finished up the time with an invitation to accept the Lord. He passed out tracts, and let them know where a church was in their community, so they could learn more. It was a great ending to a very busy and action packed day. We may never know if any of those boys accept the Lord, but we do know that they heard about Him, and how the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. It was a blessing and a privilege to be used by God that day.