I had been to Mexico before– to Juarez as a child, to Cancun, Cozumel, Progresso on vacations. I had never been to Mexico City and, from friends’ accounts that it was crowded, polluted, and dangerous, I was sure that I didn’t want to go. But God called, and to my surprise, I said yes. On June 2, 2017, along with my husband and a small team of mission workers, I flew down to Mexico City for a week.
What a week! We stayed at a residence called The Pink House, hosted by a wonderful family– Lalo and Jamie and their kids. I shared a room with five other women and got a top bunk! Yes, at 49 years old, top bunks are dangerous, but I was ready for adventure. (One young lady who was learning Spanish woke me up in the middle of the night crying out in her sleep, “No, no, no! I don’t like cats!” in Spanish. She couldn’t say it when she was awake, so we all had a good laugh.)
Our group crammed a ton of work, fun, outreach, hugs and kisses, and mini Spanish lessons into every single day. We made sack lunches to hand out to the crowds of people in front of the hospital who were waiting to visit their sick friends and relatives. We handed out bottled water to market shoppers and bicyclists. We painted the church foyer. We organized and cleaned the children’s classes. We cleaned the outreach coffee shop. We helped with free English classes. It was exhausting work, but what a blessing it was to see hungry kids eating their ham sandwiches while doing a little happy dance.
We had fun, too. We went to a movie, visited the Teotihuacan Pyramids, toured the Basilica and surrounding cathedrals, took in a performance by the Ballet Folklorico, and ate as many street tacos as we could find. (I highly recommend the Pastore Gringa.) We went up to the top of the highest building in downtown and prayed over the sprawling urban landscape. Beautiful buildings, slums, cars, busses, trains, wealthy, and poor. It was all there before me. I found Mexico City to be beautiful, filled with color and sound. Centuries-old buildings stood side-by-side with modern architecture. Men in suits walked side-by-side with the homeless, crowding streets and shops everywhere. So many souls…
We had one day for spiritual retreat. I needed it. We were ministered over by a missionary that had been in Mexico City for 20 years. He talked to us about what God was doing there. He talked to us about how we could live richer mission-oriented lives wherever we were. It was life-changing.
And one day (my favorite of all) we went to visit a Children’s Home. That’s where we met them. Teri, Jessica, Pamela, Lupita, Jimena, Pepe, Roxana, Gloria, Audri, Mari, Alejandra, Cessi, Adrian, Sergio, Juan, Axel, Ixtel, Vero, Carlo, and Claudia. Precious children. Beloved by their Abuela. We played Pato, Pato, Ganso (Duck, Duck, Goose) and Dodgeball, did crafts, told stories, ate lunch, sang songs with the kids while a few of our men repaired a roof, and then it was time to go. So I shed a few tears, chopped out my heart and left little pieces of it with some sweet babies, and said goodbye.
Leaving was hard. Leaving the children, leaving our new Mexican friends, leaving the city. Hard. To my friends still there– Lalo and Jamie, Jesus and Abby, Travis and Bonnie, James and Erin, Princeton, Kiera, Charly, Taylor and Emma, and to all the others working for the Kingdom– I miss you. Thank you for your warmth and generosity. I will pray every day for you. You helped me see Mexico City through Jesus’ eyes, and I will be back. God bless you always.