Before I get to the point of the title of this post, I should mention the great news that our annual visa renewal process concluded today. We now have our new visas (good for another year) which are required for our presence and ministry here. It’s always a challenge to find that April is one of our busiest months of the year with SAT testing and MK camp and we’re supposed to have our visa documents on our person at all times, especially when driving, and then find that we have lots of local driving to do without any papers in-hand. So, we’re always relieved to get through these 3 or 4 weeks (sometimes more) without having them. Another plus is that the immigration system here now allow us to finish the process in Querétaro instead of Mexico City. This saved us a lot of time (it takes 2 days for immigration appointments in Mexico City). This only took us a few hours today. It probably saved us at least $200 in bus fares, a hotel stay, and our meals. Praise God for getting us through this once more!
It was that trip we took to Querétaro this morning that presented us with the images of irony in this land of paradoxes. As we pulled onto the 6 lane highway toward Querétaro this morning, we noticed that with the coming of this “Holy Week” (“Semana Santa” in Spanish) the traffic was thick with workers trying to finish up their duties so they could join the steady stream of vacationers flowing out of the Mexico City population basin. While I was busy trying to avoid running into the back of trucks that were traveling at 50 mph, I was keeping a watchful eye on the rear-view mirror for the cars flying out of Mexico City at 90 to 100 mph. That’s pretty much the norm for this route, but the heavier traffic made it a little more challenging.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep my attention, we noticed that the shoulder of the roadway was filling up with bicyclists, some of them lugging a small shrine (a box with a doll of the Virgin Mary inside). There are pilgrimages throughout the year, and of course, during the Semana Santa these are common. At one point, a contingency of cyclists took up the shoulder and the 3rd lane. This added to the traffic perils since it was tough to see this from a distance with the trucks obstructing the view ahead and then finding the traffic quickly merging left to avoid the cyclists.
These Holy Week images on the highway contrasted with the observation on our way home in the afternoon that the prostitutes that work right on the side of the highway were more numerous today than at other times. We weren’t intentionally counting or even noticing them but I would guess there were three times the normal number of them. We wondered, why were there so many more today? My guess would be that with the increased traffic of Semana Santa this presents a “business opportunity” for these women.
Obviously, you understand the paradoxes presented by these worldly images of “Holy Week.” To us they are reminders of the continuing spiritual needs of this great nation. Mexico is very much a place populated by hedonistic materialists, religiously lost zealots, and spiritually entrapped and enslaved people.
May God continue working through missionaries and national believers, including us, in reaching out to the millions here who need the real Jesus, the “friend of sinners” and the Savior of all who call upon His name.