Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mexico: Part 5

Sunday, March 12, continued

After the services were over and food was being spread out on the table in the back room, I met and talked to a few more people. Soon I joined Ken and Amy talking to Juan, who was sharing his testimony of how he came to trust in the Lord, and how he evangelized his wife and she got saved too. Juan is the father of Fernando, the guitar player.

By this time, the food was smelling delicious. That was a good sign, considering the smell of food the day before was unappetizing. It was announced that the visitors from the United States would go through the food line first, and of them, the ladies first.

There was quite a variety of food. You could make your own sandwiches, tacos... I don't even remember all that there was! I remember grabbing a couple of tortillas and a variety of mixed foods to fill them with. And I made sure to get some jalapeƱos!

An interesting note: In the U.S., disposable plates, whether paper, styrofoam or cardboard, are round. In Mexico most of what I saw were rectangular! They do have round ones, but apparently they're not as common.

Though I did not fill myself with food, my hunger was satisfied. I still didn't want to push myself for fear of becoming sick again. Of course we had Coke to drink, too.

After the meal, I headed out the back door, which opened into a little yard. Josue and his 16-year-old friend Samuel were playing guitars together. When he saw me, Josue offered his guitar to me to play something, and in a little while he showed me a bit of a song he was working on learning.

We stayed outside for quite a long time, and Fernando began to play and sing all kinds of songs with his guitar, mostly hilarious renditions of popular songs including "Besame" and "Volare." He was really good, especially at flamenco style, and his fingering on the strings was so precise! As you can see from the picture, everyone was having a grand time!

Brenda Landrum said that these Mexicans were so gregarious and loving a good time that you never knew what they might do or want you to do for fun. Somehow, they began coercing each other to step into the ring of people enjoying the music and do a little flamenco (or whatever we thought was flamenco) dancing. Ha ha! Yes, even I got it over with when they selected me.

Ken and I also enjoyed a small game of basquetbol with Alberto and Susana.

After the basketball game, I rejoined the (still) singing group and learned a couple of Christian songs, one of which Hannah the Landrums' daughter had written.

Gracias Jesus, porque tu me salvaste
De la muerte
Gracias Jesus porque tu me amaste tanto
Hasta morir en la cruz. Jesus

(Thank you Jesus, because you saved me
From death
Thank you Jesus, because you loved me so much
to die on the cross. Jesus)

Another person whom I remember with fondness was a man named Chuy. Throughout the day, he would pass by one of us Americans and tap him on the shoulder. When he would look around to see who was requestion attention, Chuy would have the most matter-of-fact normal look on his face as though he never did it. I've seen people in the U.S. do this, but not with as much success as Chuy!

As the time approached 6:30, we all got ready to leave for the park, where we would do some evangelism. People piled into the Landrums' vehicle, Oscar's van, and Chuy's pick-up and headed out.

Here's another fun aspect of Mexican culture: vehicle packing. It's not unusual to pack as many people as can possibly fit in any vehicle, whether a two door hatchback, pick-up truck, or bicycle (I saw a whole family of four on one bike! Father pedaling, and mother and small child on the back rack, and another small child on the handlebars!). Admittedly, it's quite dangerous, and they do have accidents because of this kind of thing, but it sure was fun.

After we stopped at my host family's home to pick up Nancy, there were about fifteen people in the back of the truck. Nancy brought a bottle of diet Coke with her. Remember what Brenda had said about the Mexicans being a little unpredictable? Well they began passing the bottle of Coke around and almost everyone took a sip, me included. I have no idea why they did it, but it was funny!

The park we arrived at was right next to a Catholic church, and there were some vendors selling CD's, produce, and cheap children's toys. The whole area was about half a block in size, paved with stones, with planters here and there with benches around them, and a central stone fountain. Stockpiles of tracts were distributed among the believers and we prayed together as Fernando and some others set up a PA system.

We all organized ourselves into a large semi-circle and the music began. It was a heart-wrenching soundtrack for the mime drama the Emmaus students began to act out.

Marshall and Ryan, guards, threw Caleb to the pavement. As he struggled to get up, they kicked him and punched him and mocked.

Eventually they stood him upright and grabbed Amy and Celina, making them pound "nails" into Caleb's hands. When the deed was done, the women retreated to the sides.

Jesus was crucified, put there by each of us.

When he was dead, he was taken down from the cross.

Amy and Celina stood by solemnly. Then Caleb came out from the now-rather-large crowd of observers and approached Amy. He presented himself to her, very much alive, but she was full of scorn and disbelief. She shoved him away in hatred. Then Caleb went over to Celina, presented himself to her. She couldn't believe her eyes--he was alive! Full of joy, she tried to convince Amy of the risen Christ, but Amy angrily pushed her away too. Caleb indicated it was no use, and he and Celina walked away together.

Obviously, this was an allegory that our own sins nailed Jesus to the cross, and it demonstrated people's reaction to the gospel, both believing and rejecting. I assume this is what Fernando preached about next, when he picked up the microphone and began to speak. I and the others were looking around, seeing to whom we could give the tracts.

In the discomfort of my flesh, I was not eagerly participating. I wanted to hand out tracts, but didn't know how, didn't know what I would do if someone started talking to me... I did make excuses to myself. I never did this before. I know there was profit from the preaching and distribution of tracts that evening, but it was not helped by me, much to my sorrow.

About 8:30 Josue took Marshall and me back home. I found out later that all the Mexican believers who were there went to Luis and Yola's house afterward, the poorest and most hospitable family of that church! I was very happy for Celina and Beth, for Luis and Yola were their host family, so they got to enjoy more fellowship! It would have been fun to be there.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update Ryan! even though you told me about your trip before, it's great to hear it again! :) Later brother, SC

Nicole Hearn said...

Sounds like your visit was exciting. :D I just wanted to thank you for your post on Will's site, which balanced mine perfectly. Sorry for the slight misrepresentation of my views there.
--Nicole H.