Three years ago God did a miracle in me. Thankfully, He's not been lying dormant since then, but this particular miracle has really been on my mind the last couple of weeks. Three years ago God tore down walls I'd built up to keep Mexico out, and He filled me with love for this beautiful country and the amazing people who live there. So, when the opportunity came to go back, we went. This time I was able to go without any walls, prejudices, or snobberies (that last one is probably closest to the truth), and God showed me yet another view of His Mexico.
Our first stop was just across the border in Matamoros where we hung out with some awesome 11-17 year olds in an orphanage there. The different Mexico God showed me there was a Mexico who has a heart for the Nations. One girl, Luz, wants to be a missionary to India, so, for now, she gleans phrases in Hindi from movies and music and anywhere else she can find them. Another girl, Maria, wants to be a missionary to Africa. We had so much fun teaching these girls a few phrases in Swahili, and they had a blast running around asking their classmates, "Habari gani?"(how are you?). We had another glimpse of this missional Mexico at the end of our trip when we taught a missions class at a Bible School in Monterey. What perfect bookends! It was such an honor to encourage their desire to go!
We saw yet another Mexico when Kyle and I branched off for a night in Mexico City. We visited my host family from 2010, and we were humbled by the radical hospitality they showed us. Mom showered us with wedding gifts of pottery and pan dulce (sweet bread) and showed us so much love and welcoming despite the fact that we haven't seen each other in 3 years. We have a lot to learn about hospitality and loving people from our Mexico brothers and sisters.
Mexico shared her hurting side with us in Cuernavaca where just downhill from the House of Prayer we were able to see a section of town that some would try to hide. We didn't have opportunity to walk down to the valley...this time. We did, however, have the opportunity to hang out in the prayer room with the youth group and with the church that meets at the House of Prayer on Sundays. We were able to encourage them and share a small glimpse of what God sees when he sees them.
In Puebla, we saw another different Mexico, one where her Church is stepping out into leadership. The students at La Viña as well as the kids at Esperanza Viva are going to shake up the world. They are strong and brave and joyful, and I know they're going to turn the world upside down. They taught me motivation.
One last different Mexico was in the mountains of Oaxaca where we saw the Mexico from back in the day (and I finally had my desire to sleep in a mud hut satisfied!). El Refugio is a drug rehab compound. The founders, Jose and Ela, have been there for 19 years building this ministry. Ela shared many midwife stories (much to my delight) and gave everyone enough food for thought to last us until our next visit. Time here seemed to move slower, and life felt so peaceful. Our short visit to Oaxaca has given Kyle and me more to dream about, and I have little doubt that we'll visit again.
This seems like such a small tribute to our time in Mexico probably because there are even more "different Mexicos" than I've named here. There are countless more stories, people, places, and lessons to hear, meet, visit, and discover, but I guess they'll have to wait until next time.
Mexico, we'll be back
*This blog title was a phrase Scott stumbled upon as we traveled around Mexico and saw many varying landscapes, lifestyles, and ministry styles; the first time he said "a different Mexico" he also said that that would make a good blog title. So here you have a blog entitled "A Different Mexico." (Scott said I could use it.)