Earlier this evening I walked downtown to pay the phone bill and visit our local ATM. With the talk of “government shutdown” the exchange rate spiked in our favor today, so I thought I’d take advantage of it before the that political event dies down and the exchange rate goes down with it. At least, that’s my guess at what to expect.
On the way out a few blocks from home, I noticed a guy sitting on the sidewalk and pretty much taking up the walking area, so I crossed the street without really noticing too much about him. As I passed by on the sidewalk on the other side of the street, I realized he probably was homeless and didn’t look like he was all there.
I made the rounds downtown and was happy to come across Lupe, Rocío, Noé, and baby Isaac waiting outside of a little public school for Alfredo’s school to let out. I didn’t really see them at first, but Noé sure saw me and gave a big smile and held his arms out. I looked down as I was walking and thought…he looks familiar…do I know this little kid? Then I saw Lupe and Rocío sitting on a step and…OH! Yes…I do know this little one! Alfredo attends “2nd shift” so he was released around 6:40 p.m. Kinda late for a 6 year old but it’s normal here.
We enjoyed a solid 15 minutes of conversation with them before Alfredo came out. We confirmed again that Beth would drive over tomorrow morning and take Rocío and the boys to their first doctor visit here in San Juan for the baby’s check-up. He’s about 2 months now. We also re-confirmed our Bible study for Wednesday afternoon. I need to remember to go find at least three folding chairs that we can leave with them, since they only own one chair and sitting on the concrete floor in their dimly lit room for a Bible study would be greatly enhanced by at least having something to sit on! They have a long list of things they need but “little by little.” We may expedite the chairs ourselves to help out and well…I really don’t want to sit for hours on a concrete floor! Anyone want to pitch in for a a few bucks (say about $20) for a chair? Let me know. Be happy to apply it toward our purchase of 3 or 4 chairs.
After saying goodbye, I headed home. I’d forgotten about the guy on the sidewalk, and I naturally walked on my normal route right toward him. As I approached, I realized he wouldn’t notice me walking by. He was pretty much out cold. When I got home I thought about the “Good Samaritan.” Oh. Well…we don’t always pull it off do we? I’m not sure what I could do for him. A lot of “neighbors” were passing by there and no one seemed to notice nor be concerned for this man. It sure made me think.
To be honest, while it’s not a common sight in the immediate neighborhood, it’s not really an uncommon sight at all. I suspect he was drugged out. No doubt he wasn’t feeling well. He was alive because I saw him move a little in his sleep. The authorities drive by and don’t really take notice either.
I’ve read in the newspaper here that drug addiction and suicide among youth in San Juan del Río (and in Mexico in general) is at epidemic levels and the government and civic leaders are at a loss for how to solve the problem.
Without Christ, there is hopelessness…and youth (well…all people) will turn to something for comfort and relief. Drugs…sex…maybe even just self-destruction through suicide. Most people here have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel. It often takes a process to earn their trust to even share the Good News with them. We’re doing what we can. We sure could use some more help…more missionaries. More prayer. The harvest is still ripe…the workers are still few. And time is slipping away with each passing day.