International Ministries

What happens in México ... Doesn’t stay in México

September 28, 2010 Journal
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Dear Friends,

Every summer, as millions plan vacations to popular resorts, thousands of God’s people are putting their free days to a very different use: Summer Mission Teams.  They may fly to the same airports in Latin America, Asia, or Europe; but once they land, their itineraries are very different from other vacationers.

Don’t count the stars on their hotels.  The bus creeps out of Juarez International in Mexico City.  Three hours and 70 miles later we arrive in Puebla.  Its 10:00 PM.  Grab a taco and get some sleep.  6:00 AM.  Say good-by to beds and hot water and flush.  Breakfast and load the van.  Who needs leg room?  Now you have something to rest your chin on.

Head East and then North.  The curves, the drop-offs, the pot holes.  Breakfast please stay down!  And then, hours later, we round a curve and there it is, Zongozotla, a village that time forgot but God did not.  We bounce into town and arrive at the house where the worship service is wrapping up.  Brown faces and dark eyes greet us with radiant smiles and warm embraces.  Children giggle youth check each other out.  Pastor Jose welcomes us. We unload the van.

The floor has been swept clean and we set up the sleeping quarters: women’s and men’s.  By the time there is air in the mattresses and the beds are unrolled a meal is ready for us.  Chicken, tortillas and salad.   Everyone looks at the missionary:  should we eat the salad?

A little free time, explore or take a nap...don’t take pictures of people you don’t know.  Church clothes, evening service...what’s the local time again?  We are now doing everything in three languages...if the tune is familiar sing the words in your own language.  If not, listen.  Enjoy...they’re not talking about you!  Our turn to sing in English.  Who has the song sheets? The sermon...3 languages; 3 times as long.  Patience, its almost over.  Sing again, prayer, offering, announcements.  AMEN.

If you are still off the concrete by 6:00 AM, your air mattress is a good one.  Breakfast.  Not what you’re used to but good.  To work...but where are the tools?  No power saws or drills?  Cut the rebar with a hack saw?  Bend it between nails with a pipe?  If I had my power tools...a do these guys get anything done with only a few broken down hand tools?

These guys are amazing!  They work fast, carry heavy loads, don’t stop.  They make do and do so much, so well, with so little.  They make us look like wimps.

Now we began to understand why we are here.  To learn and grow together.  To respect and appreciate our Mexican sisters and brothers.  To see God’s grace and power and love in their lives, and, for a few short days, to be with them.  The work is secondary, the ministry is mutual.  By the time you figure it out you are saying good-by with tears and hugs.

Heading down the mountain. Exhausted.  So many feelings.  You’ve walked with the poor but they gave as though they were rich.  You came to serve but were served.   Mission, at home and abroad  is God’s way of helping us gain a perspective, see things as He does, get our priorities straight.  The World Mission Offering is a big part of that and so are short term mission experiences.  Engage, support, pray.  God bless you!

Your support for us is amazing.  Thank you!  --Ramona & Chuck