Seems like we’re always weary eyed come the morning of travel. Guess the good byes from nights prior have to last, lest we miss out on possible final moments. Always time to rest while traveling – while someone else is driving.
Good to go, we gathered our stuff, got on the bus, and made our way to Ouxaca City. This was the trip we prayed ahead for – where the movies were much more favorable than the former. One of them, the latest rendition of “Gulliver’s Travel”, a Jack Black flick, in Spanish. Funny thing was, in the movie, Gulliver was on his way to “Oaxaca” prior to getting hijacked by a whirlwind. “Nacho Libre” (another Jack Black movie) was filmed in Oaxaca. In fact, it was filmed maybe some 30 minutes, or was it miles? from where we were. And yet, there’s one more movie featuring JB, “Bernie”, which was birthed after a real guy, from a real town in Texas that Scott grew up near. He was telling us about it even while we were still in the States. What was the point? I don’t know. Strange is all. Something we observed. The scene from “Nacho” concerning ” the stretchy pants” made its way into conversation…oh, a couple times.
After a 4 hour drive to Oaxaca, we met Tania, the wife of Raul (a.k.a. Rocco) Scott’s friend, at the bus station. From there, we grabbed a couple cabs and cruised over to their house. A very generous couple, they treated us to lunch at the local mall; which did entail a ride in the back of a pick up truck, through the village, that left my stomach feeling somewhat sea sick. Of course, all that settled as soon as we were aboard the highway. And not just any highway, mind you, but one with real live speed bumps. It was fast to slow, then back again!
I love Mexico. Even the tacos in the food court were amazing! After which, we grabbed some coffee and set out for an evening Church service in a town somewhere…that seemed like nowhere to us. It was atop a mountain where we were warned much witchcraft transpired. That is where I met “Angel”, a brother in the Lord who had recently met Jesus. He had great english, as he’d spent some 16 years in the States as an illegal alien before being sent back. When he was but some 10 years of age, a woman he knew, snuck him across the border along with some others. Angel was wanting more of Jesus. He was wanting freedom in several areas, as were many who were present.
We met several individuals who were suffering from strongholds, which I was discerning the source as being witchcraft. Over and over again, as I prayed for people, it just kept coming up. It was a bit disturbing, like maybe I just thought that because that’s what we were told. So, I turned to Rocco, who was accompanying me – translating. I asked what he thought about each particular malady. “Witchcraft” he replied. I knew it! What’s worse is that as I listened to their stories, I was astonished to hear how most of them believed that God Himself had inflicted them due to their disobedience. At that point, I looked around and realized that many of the women were wearing head coverings. I knew God would be faithful to heal, despite even false theology/religion, but didn’t they have a right to know God’s love? Actually, that was what Scott preached that night – “God’s love, unearned”. Witchcraft does that though. It covers truth. Manipulates. Makes you feel like you still don’t measure up. Keeps you scrambling, rather than resting securely.
I met a girl who was mute. By the end, God had loosened her tongue just a little bit. Maybe I missed it on the translation side, but it seemed that those who were with her still exalted her dumbness over the words she was now speaking. In my mind I was asking God, “What about the fact that she just said “Jesus” like five times in a row?” All I could think to do was stoop down, look her in the eyes, tell her she was beautiful, and let her know she was loved. I did. Wish I could be there to hear to the end of her story.
We made some headway. People were getting healed both spiritually as well as physically. I’m grateful for the fact that the staff there is good stuff. It’s not as if these were people who had been at the same Church, suffering the same stuff year after year. No, if they stick around, I feel confident for their healing.
Afterwards, we were welcomed to a meal fit for kings! In the process, we met a father and son who’d had their truck shot up by the drug cartel. We saw the truck. It had numerous, nickel wide bullet holes in it. Strange how they missed any major part of the engine, though there were holes in the hood. The son himself was hit in a major organ and yet they lived to tell of it! He even removed his shirt to reveal the old wound. The power of God’s protection was so upon them!
For what it’s worth, something must have happened that night. On the way home, when everyone was well exhausted, we were first welcomed by police. They randomly pulled us over, questioning our reason for…? I think they were looking for someone. Fortunately for us, Rocco was able to make sense of things. Thanking God for an easy getaway, we got down the road a little further, only to realize that Rocco’s car now had a flat tire. Great! It was now our third experience this trip with vehicle malfunctioning. Good thing we were driving separately, having the truck with us too. Unfortunately, neither of these possessed a workable jack. Some stayed back while the rest of us journeyed down the road to a friend’s house, a mechanic, who had the proper tools.
Finally we made it back the car! But then it was an issue of finding the special adapter that fit the lugs of his car. Good grief! Eventually, the mechanic pulled it out the car from somewhere, and all was well after that. Alas, we were back at Rocco’s, airing up the mattresses provided, and off to sleep – awakening only to the neighbors dog who was barking down the night – loudly. Not even sure if we had glass on our windows.
Next day, we rose up, got dressed, and waited for our next assignment. I so appreciated listening to Rocco as he shared with us his testimony. What God has done with this guy, in terms of transformation, is simply beautiful!
From there, we went again on another adventure to the middle of nowhere. It was definitely desert – not like large sand dunes, but dry, dusty; cactus as far as the eye can see. It was there that we met at a drug rehab for Christian men. Cliff led us in a time of worship. Scott spoke, and then I. Felt Matthew 8 was what the spirit wanted to encourage them with. I felt that what God was wanting to speak was about not looking back. About not comparing ourselves to those lesser than us, those still entrapped in sin, but rather looking ahead, looking up to God Who can keep us, Who can take us higher; Who will help us continue onto to victory in our battles if we fight from the place of His presence, rather than our own strength. How He was looking for faith. How some, even “the subjects of the Kingdom” will miss out on an eternity with God, because they focused their hearts elsewhere instead of allowing Him to drive. From there, O.T, the pastor here, took our words and dunked them home with a sermon of his own. I can’t be certain all he said, but it seemed right on!
Got a chance to pray with the guys and the staff there. It was all very precious, even if it didn’t completely appear as so on the exterior. I thought I heard God tell me to water the land. I thought He was asking me to pray for fertile soil. Again, this was a very dry place. I merely did what I was told. The staff served us lunch. It was the same awesome meal as we had at the other Church the night before! I wish I could remember the name of it. It was steak, rice, beans and cheese, all wrapped up and fried inside a large tortilla. This time there some specially season pork on top. Pure deliciousness!
Time had gotten away from us by this point. We still needed to pick up Kyle and Amy at the hotel they stayed in the night before – a well deserved, romantic, little getaway in midst of many night’s sleeping apart. Hours later, we would do exactly that, as we bought our tickets for a large, escorted SUV, that would take us some 3 hours into the mountains, where we would have an adventure that was amazingly unique of all the others. We called it “The Shire” (Lord of the Rings). And I earnestly look forward to telling you why. Next time…