Monday, June 16, 2014

To the Village in Mexico...

To the people in the Mexican village on the outskirts of Reynosa...

As my friend, Kerrie, and I were on our way to your village on the outskirts of Reynosa, I was slightly apprehensive, trusting I would most likely be fine, but I hadn't been to Mexico in probably two or three years. When things started getting more unsafe there, I just stopped going. The shootings and violence were definitely a deterrent knowing that the cartel is in control there.
While that stuff absolutely happens, I didn't feel nervous while I was there. I knew that the Lord wanted me to go and that He's with me wherever I go. God is sovereign, so whatever happens is what He allows.

Since it was my first time back to Mexico in some time, I wanted to just see what my friends, Wade and Kerrie, see on a, now, regular basis. I wanted to go and meet you and see where they live and where you all live. 

When we went across the bridge at the border, we soon turned off onto the dirt road that leads to your neighborhood. We were in their little truck. We rolled our windows down and went along for the bumpy ride. Some of you who happened to be out near the road either waved at Kerrie or just watched us go by if you didn't know her. 

Kerrie asked me if I'd rather take the lower level, less bumpy, road near the water or the top level, more bumpy, road through the neighborhood. Since I hadn't been in Mexico in a while, I chose the top level, through the neighborhood. The neighborhood was full of color from the paint colors of houses and plants and flowers. 

I didn't know what, exactly, to expect when I got there, but some of the things I saw, I loved. When we got to Kerrie and Wade's house, we went in with tacos, which she gave to her hubs and friend and to your neighborhood boys who'd been up late into the night and early in the morning playing video games (with the help of the generator). ---Guys are guys are guys! Some things are just the same everywhere! Video games without borders. Almost every guy likes a good video game.

One thing I knew we were doing, for sure, was going to witness a baptism! There is a family in your village that has all started serving Jesus. The father, I believe, was the last to become a follower of Jesus, and so he was being baptized. 

When we got down near the area where the baptisms were going to be taking place, under the bridge, we saw that there was going to be a service before the baptisms! So, we waited for a while. More chairs were brought, because I guess there were more people than expected. It took a while to get started, so we took a walk back to the house to get some water. Walking back to the bridge, we ran into the family of the father that was being baptized. So, I got to meet his two daughters,Graciela and Deysi and their mother, who I've read and heard so much about. The girls were so friendly and huggy. It was sweet.

When we got to the bridge, we went down to the service, walking over all the smashed soda bottles to get down there. We worshiped God in song with the worship leader, who did a great job. We knew a few of the songs. They were ones I grew up singing ("Lord, I lift your name on high" and "Come, Now is the Time to Worship") I sang the little that I could in Spanish, but sang softly in English. I loved how (even though you all weren't aware) we were singing in two different languages, worshiping the same great God.

A pastor spoke for a while and asked all the people who were getting baptized to stand up at the front. There were a ton of people! Maybe 15? After that, he told us to go across the road to the water where they would be doing the baptisms.

Okay. I commend you all. I was baptized in clean, warm water in what was basically a glass case.
Spoiled much?! I'm going to go with YES. You guys had to get in that muddy water with who knows what in it! The water matched the trees that were on the other side. You did it for the sake of obedience. Amen.

The 4 ministers who were doing the baptizing huddled together and prayed before they started. I loved this. Then, as each person went into the water squishing through the mud to get in (the women accepting help from a friendly hand, the men making sure they got through the mud withOUT holding another man's hand), they obeyed the Lord in the act of baptism. It was beautiful. 

Everyone was crowded around and a small group of you led in a song that they song while all the baptisms were going on. I picked it up pretty quickly. I loved this and thought how I'd love to do this at our church!!

After baptisms were finished, there was a potluck where the service had been. Everyone brought something different. There were tamales, wrapped in banana leaves and some in the regular corn things we always see them in. There was rice. There were these little mole enchiladas that you could hold in your hand...I only mention that they were handheld because in the states, we drown them in so much sauce that there's no way we could hold them!  I had some good tamales. 

Oh...Who are the People in your Neighborhood?
We went back to the house and then did a mini-tour of your neighborhood! Kerrie took me next door to meet Sylvia, the lady who owns the property, has a little food store, and who is apparently known for her delicious cooking. We kept walking and went to Paola's house, one that Wade and Kerrie and their friends, the Busby's, and mulitple others, recently built. They're almost finished with the thrift store they're building in front of the house so that the family can have a business!
They didn't let us leave without offering banana ice cream in a baggie. It was so good and was nice to have in the heat! 
We walked down a few more houses and I met two more girls quickly who had a pet raccoon. I couldn't believe it!! I guess it's a nice raccoon?!...I'm hoping. 

After this, Kerrie and I went back stateside. 

I want to go again. Next time I'm there, I want to be more useful! I would love to love my neighbor in Jesus' name by helping with any needs you may have. Neighbors in the states, back in the day, used to say "We're just next door if you need anything." 

I'm glad that people I know live right inside your neighborhood. God has taken them there. They care so much about you. They love your kids and they love you...just like Jesus loves you. 

Thankfully, I have now met my neighbors and I'm glad to know you! 

Being your neighbor, I say this to you...

We're just next door if you need anything.

In fact, we'll come over and see if you need anything. We won't wait for you to ask:)