April 2010--Four flights, three areas of the country, two six-hour bus rides, another 10 hours in a car, and at least 40 interviews in six days. I am constantly amazed by the passionate and tireless people that I meet around the world. In Mexico, I met some of the most dedicated and boldest men and women around. Here are just a few of their stories:
Northern Mexico (Antiguo Morelos):
Pastor Hugo works in a church without walls literally and figuratively. His actual church building is nothing more than what we would call a car port to hold the hot sun and rain at bay. But what amazes me is that he is willing to hold services anywhere that people want to hear the gospel. Because his church is so portable he just brings the chairs and sound system to the people whether that is a nearby ranch with many workers or an empty lot in town or his church shelter. He goes to the ranches with his barber scissors to give free hair cuts and then ministers to the children and adults using the Book of Hope. He says that the books help the children to engage in the message.
While talking with Pastor Hugo we met with a young man whose life was radically altered after a bad accident. Pastor Hugo goes regularly to disciple this young man even bringing services to him when he could not walk. Then we met a family next to an empty lot that could not help but hear the message being preached when it was brought to their area. Their four year old was so taken by the word that he was the one leading to the family by example to receive the word. Pastor Hugo is not only a light to this community but also a father figure to the fatherless. As we drove about town he would stop the van to talk with children walking the streets, inquire about their well being, invite them to his next service an give them a Book of Hope if they had not yet received one.
Southern Mexico (Chiapas):
Pastor Jose is a missionary in a very persecuted area of the the country. He lives in a very modest home and has a church down the street but his real work is out in the jungle and difficult places. He works with many of the indigenous peoples. Some of which have little contact with the outside world: the Lacandones, a people that dress very simply in a white dress, do not cut their hair and speak a Mayan dialect; the Tojolabales, another Mayan tribe, while many dress very traditionally, they do not live as isolated. He also works with those persecuted because of their Christian beliefs. We drove by a village of people that had all been displaced because of their faith. Another group that he has worked with are the Zapatisitas, a revolutionary group. You might say his work is dangerous but he is driven and passionate. He gave out 80,000 books last year and continues to work tirelessly among these people groups.
Central Mexico (Mexico City):
I was privileged to join two ministries in action in the greater Mexico City area: Comodores de Amor and Talita Cumi. The first one feeds children after school in areas of need and provides additional learning opportunities for them. They feed not only the stomachs but also the souls, using the Book of Hope as a tool. I must have spoken to more that a dozen children whose lives had been changed after reading the Championes (soccer) book or Solo Nosotras, a book for girls, both version of the Book of Hope. Then I joined a group of Clowns that go regularly to the children's wards in hospitals through out the city; performing, giving gifts and words of encouragement as well as Books of Hope and prayer. It was inspiring to join these groups of dedicated people, but even more that that to see the fruit of their labors in the faces of the children.