Monday, September 14, 2015
Another thing about "my world" that most of us North Americans don't understand is transportation ... how someone gets from one place to another. Now Tijuana is full of millions of people, and true, there are millions of cars. (And trillions of old tires!) Vintage cars, little and big busses, taxies, etc. These wheels fill the streets and roads. But most of my people fill the sidewalks, they get around by walking, or taking a little bus. For the most part cars are not in their picture and those few that are in the picture are old, very old.
Yesterday was our big workday at barrio Gardenia. (The barrio is anything but a fragrant "gardenia") We picked up Andres and Jose, and took them with us in my nice shinny new SUV. I'll be honest it's five years old BUT looks brand new.
Now Andres and Jose about ten years old, just moved to Tijuana from South Mexico where cars and Americans are rare. Their mother warned us that they had never been driven in a new car; in fact they had never driven in a car with an American. So it was to be a first time experience. Mother's last words were "roll down the windows they may vomit!"
Well, they didn't! They were white knuckle excited as they examined the car. Roll down the window? No, just push this! They chattered away while fingering everything. No time for barfing! This was their first ride in a real American car!
I just thought I would mention this to let you know that my border world is really a different world ... so different from our formed opinions. So much of a difference on the poor side of our border fence. Moving by wheels cost precious money.
The first thing in Tijuana that impresses the American visitor is to see people, lots of people and they are walking! It was fun giving Andres and Jose their first time experience riding in a real car!
Sunday, September 06, 2015
Through these years of ministry in Tijuana I've had occasions where I've visited ... I'll call them, "houses of mercy" where throw-away people are taken for medical attention. We went there to see a boy who had been hit and injured by a car. I went to the boy's bedside where his father was crying and pleading with his boy to respond. His brain-dead son just stared at his crying father. I'll never forget that!
I slowly walked around the two rooms full of hopeless medical cases. Slowly observing "ministry" in action. It was hot, two fans and no Air. I watched as four poorly paid men did the ugly jobs: turn the patients over, insert feeding tubes, take out catheters, empty bags of urine, change soiled pampers and clean dirty beds. One of the men was working the makeshift kitchen. These kind of workers became heroes in my mind.
One of the hardest things I ever did was on a bus trip to Disneyland. A bus full of excited orphanage kids. SantaAna, Interstate five ... Shell service station. Our bus driver signaled me to pull over. The driver opened the bus door and I could smell the problem. All the kids were crowded near front and all alone way in the back seat sat a ten year old in tears. The kid was attacked by the diarrhea bug ... and he lost!
The boy and I walked slowly to the little bathroom. I gave instructions to another driver to go and buy some new pants, underwear and tee-shirt ... and I went to work on the dirtiest, smelliest job I ever had. It was all I could do just to keep from vomiting. A humiliated stinking boy, small wash basin, scores of paper towels ... In a small way I can relate to these 24/7 heroes.
There are now over 150 in Chuy's Old folks home. I watched these same kind of hero's at work in this community of the handicapped and aged. From cooking three meals a day, changing catheters and urine bags, changing pampers and cleaning dirty smelly beds
Two days ago I asked Pastor Chuy how many helpers he has and just what he pays them. He told me he has sixteen workers and pays them each about $15 a week; he pays the two cooks $30 a week. He told me rather sheepishly that there are nights when he has had to sneak out, he couldn't pay them; the money just didn't come in. For hot, hard and dirty work $15 a WEEK!
I thought why not a bonus? They've never gotten a bonus. I hope you don't mind, but I took some of your money and broke it down to cash. I asked Pastor Chuy to give me a list of his workers. We placed $30. in sixteen little envelopes. Hortensia wrote their name on each envelope.
Yesterday there was joy in the camp. A happy surprise! A special encouragement to sixteen underpaid heroes! They each got their bonus. Oh yes and Pastor Chuy got his bonus too!
Thanks for helping us do this kind of thing ... we couldn't do it without you!!!
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
"Behold I stand at the door and knock" ~ Revelations 3:20
It's not like we've locked Him out, its more like we've pulled Him aside to give Him some advice. "You see Lord, Your Gospel and methods just aren't working, and in our opinion there are three good reasons. 1.Your methods and Gospel are outmoded, 2. Out dated, and 3. Have become irrelevant. As a society we've moved on. Your methods back then may have worked for Peter and Paul; but look around Lord, it isn't working today. Now that we have your attention Lord, what would You suggest?"
We need your "help" on this. We're willing to help Lord but things have to change.
Indeed, is "help from us" the problem ... God lacking our help? Since when has God needed man's help? Could that be the problem? Man integrating himself in God's Divine business?
Remember, way back, God created man ... we didn't create God. gods yes, but God no.
God's Gospel of grace was totally a God thing.
The creation of the Church was totally a God thing.
The Holy Spirit is a God thing, a Divine phenomena. God and God only power!
God will work through what He chooses, or whom He chooses. God and man, or God and angels for that matter are not co-equal! God and man have never been partners in a joint venture, God just doesn't work that way. Where do we get the idea that God and man are involved in a joint venture of spreading the Gospel and planting His Divine Churches?
We might best sit in the beautiful shrine of an empty cathedral and reflect on ... why God has failed in His quest to advance His Gospel throughout the world. Reflect on why the Church hasn't grown? The deadness and smell of death in the Cathedral should give us some answers. The tower of Babel or beautiful cathedral in all of it's beauty both smell of man.
Man has done his best only to find he has contaminated he very Gospel he preaches, God came to save and change man never to partner with man.
Could it be so simply said: God's desire is to work "through" man, never "with" man! ... or God, forbid, "for" man!