One evening last week I escorted our last work team downtown to the plaza in order to give them a brief tour and an introduction to Mexico’s Roman Catholicism. It was the night to celebrate the city of San Juan del Rio’s 479th anniversary so the plaza was packed. There had been a mass in the church visible in the photo above. It did let out so we were able to duck in and out of there and observe what was happening after the mass. I lot of folks chatting (which helped raise the noise level to cover up our touristy presence) and many lined up to touch and pray to the statue of the city’s namesake, John the Baptist.
Just before heading into the church we made our way around the plaza and down a street with food vendors. I noticed a man who looked like an American by the way he dressed and his light skin color and he said, “Hi.” So, I stopped and began talking with him. Turns out, Fernando, is simply a Mexican with light skin color (not unusual in Mexico but somewhat uncommon in our city) and who spoke English with a heavy accent.
He asked some questions about who we are and why we’re here and this led me to mention the community center and what we’re doing there. He expressed what seemed to be genuine interest in our fall English classes and even called my cell phone so that we could both have each others phone number. For a stranger to do that, I would think he was serious in his interest. I was surprised he allowed me to have his number. Pray for Fernando that we may see him again and that we may have the opportunity to share Christ with him.
Two days later I helped transport the team to a little tourist town where I bought these cool ceramic pieces above. The ceramic basket on the left is actually a plant pot and the ceramic bag is simply a decorative pot for dried flowers or whatever we can think up. I liked their earth tones and colors, and for 100 pesos (about $8), it was hard to not come home with them.
In the process of buying these, the Lord provided another conversation, this time with the vendor of these pots. He knew a little English but likewise expressed what seemed to be a sincere interest in our English classes. He took down cell phone numbers for both my phone and for Tim O’Brien’s phone. Tim is the program director and main English teacher at the New Image Community Center.
We spoke for about 15 or 20 minutes and during the same kind of questioning about who I am, why I’m here, what do I do here, etc., the opportunity arose to share the Gospel with him in a very simple presentation. Even so, he didn’t seem alarmed, and he told me he hoped I would come back again this summer (since I mentioned we’d be bringing more teams through this shopping area).
He obviously was trying to place me on his internal range of “religions” but wasn’t quite sure where to put me. Once he ruled out Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses (to his apparent relief), he seemed to be open to listening and to perhaps continuing our conversation in the future. If you’re ever in Tequisquiapan, QRO and walk through the vendor market on the outskirts of town, his name is Cesar in stall #11.
Please join me in praying for Cesar as well as Fernando that we may see them come to future English classes at the community center, and ultimately, that we’d have an opportunity to more effectively share the Gospel with them.