Love, Power, Evil & Madison, No Particular Order

There are so many things I could say about my recent mission experience in Mexico. Had I taken my laptop with me, I would have blogged daily. The experience was that powerful and simultaneously exhausting. Let me cast light on just four aspects for the moment.

By way of background, I went as a team member of King’s Kids which has families from a number of churches and calls Holy Cross Anglican in Loganville, Georgia, home. Our trip was coordinated by YWAM of Chico, California. YWAM was coordinating efforts of the King’s Kids and church groups from Virginia, Minnesota, and Canada. YWAM’s man, Barry Wineroth, coordinated our efforts to interact with an organization called “Foundation for His Ministry” which began as an orphanage. While the orphanage continues to be its primary reason for being, the Foundation has expanded to include a daycare, a special needs children’s outreach facility, a medical clinic, and a drug and alcohol rehab facility.  They also have an orchard to provide food and offset expenses. All this is located in and around Vicente Guerrero, Mexico, on the Baja peninsula.

My first observation is that the need for love is both inexhaustible and immediate. In spite of any language barriers (personally enough of my Spanish came back to me to make communication workable), the evidence was in the eyes or at least flowing from them. When people, through drama, worship, testimony and teaching/preaching, were told of God’s love for them over and against what Satan and the world would have them believe, tears flowed. Men, women and children wept including me. I could not tell at times if my tears came from experiencing love afresh or seeing it experienced in some who may have never felt it. To be sure, my tears came from both but I couldn’t tell what was producing them at any given moment. People are plagued by an absence of love brought on by guilt and shame associated with their own sin or a dearth created by their abuse and/or deplorable conditions. The former says “I’m not lovable.” The latter says, “Does anyone care?”

The need for love was so apparent at every turn even among missionaries and not just those being served by them. But in no place was it more palpable for me than in a rehab facility where we did an outreach event on Monday night. We thought it was a residential facility for men and women. It had been in the past. However, there were only men there this time around. Upon closer inspection half of them were boys, in their teens or early twenties. They could be my sons. My heart ached. Every mention of the goodness of God or the vastness of His love was met with amens and alleluias. There were the beginnings of a stampede when the men were invited forward for prayer. If all our intercessors had been fluent in Spanish, we might have spent several more hours there. These men knew they were the lost and forgotten, on the margins of town with nothing but a scenic Pacific shoreline as a consolation. It did not go unnoticed by these men that some had come thousands of miles to say “I care” and to speak of a God who cares infinitely more.

Thirdly, wherever the Kingdom is breaking in, evil lurks around waiting to devour, to rob, kill and destroy. The ancient battle rages on. This was so present to me throughout the trip but especially when we, on the last day, fairly spontaneously put together an outreach program in what could be described as the town square which too was the center of commerce. Even as the Gospel reached truth seeking ears, sneering was just behind it, literally a few rows back. There were those who hoped our presence would bring more business and cared little for philanthropy and nothing for Good News. There were those who had made poverty a business and sought to manipulate others with dirty clothes and unwashed faces though their parents stood just beyond neatly attired and well groomed. Satan is alive and well. Resistance abounds!

Lastly, it was a joy to watch my daughter Madison throughout the week. She so naturally engages people regardless of color or station in life. She labored at times for 15 hours a day. She lived with the absence of daily showers without complaint. What a wonderful thing God is doing her life. Lord if I can’t be like Jesus, let me be a little more like Madison when you are shining through her.

For me personally, this trip began without a calling or even much of a purpose. Madison prayed and wanted me to go. I said yes. God used her to get me to something He didn’t want me to miss!

P.S. I add one humorous anecdote for a bit of levity. I provided the group with our only bit of drama. Upon our return from Mexico into the US, the border agent was checking our stack of passports (for the sixteen people in our fifteen passenger van) when he stopped examining them and handed all of them back, well with one exception. He could not get beyond one Mr. John Dowland Richardson. My name was a near match with someone being sought by Interpol. They said on a bad they would have asked me to step out of the van having already removed their holstered weapons. Apparently the person being sought was “armed and dangerous.” They were sure the near match wasn’t a real match but the alert was high enough that they could not override it (due to insufficient pay grade) without further inspection and higher clearance. Off to “secondary” we went. The search was uneventful and 30 to 40 minutes later we were on our way. Even this funny thing was a God thing. Now my passport was clear for my return from Rwanda. And it had an unexpected benefit. While fleeting, it sure fed my fantasies of being a Dirk Pitt or Jason Bourne.  😉

One Response to “Love, Power, Evil & Madison, No Particular Order”

  • Amy Negrete Says:

    It’s so wonderful to hear of God’s good work in a place that is near and dear to my heart. Bless you and Madison for heeding the call. Please give Bishop John and Harriett my love when you get to Rwanda!

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