by Teresa Drew
I was standing at the window watching a dog bark across the street. It took a few minutes to realize the dog was on the roof of a house. It took me until the next day to realize the dog lived on the roof! Throughout the city, dogs lived on low, flat, and colorful roofs. I was in Chiapas, Mexico.
I WAS STANDING AT THE WINDOW watching a dog bark across the street. It took a few minutes to realize the dog was on the roof of a house. It took me until the next day to realize the dog lived on the roof! Throughout the city, dogs lived on low, flat, and colorful roofs. I was in Chiapas, Mexico.
It took me what felt like forever to get to the city. I had left Costa Rica four hours late, only to get to Mexico City and be told I had missed my connecting flight. Since the flight only flew once a day, I had to wait until the next day to fly into Chiapas.
I was in a strange city, didn’t speak the language well, and was unsure of what to do. I met a few people who were very friendly and they helped me get a motel. I didn’t sleep very well, however, because I could not lock my door.
I arrived in Chiapas around 9 a.m. and there were four friendly faces waiting. I was so glad to see these young people who had invited me to speak in their Discipleship Training School. We took a taxi to the bus station and then drove up a beautiful mountain. We stopped in a city that was not Chiapas, got another taxi, and two hours later I was in Chiapas. What an adventure!
My young friends told me we had just come up a mountain where over fifty indigenous groups lived and most of them hated Christians. The languages spoken were a dialect of Spanish and there was much brujeria (witchcraft) throughout the tribes.
The Youth With A Mission house I was staying in for a week was very small, with only a few rooms, but they gave me the nicest one. The Mexicans are very hospitable. It was a very interesting house with a garage in the middle of the building; rooms surrounded the cars! The floors were concrete and the roof was tin. They showed me one bathroom and said twenty of us would be using it. The house was spotless (even with cars in the middle of the rooms!) and there was hot water.
The food was very interesting; one day I even ate pig’s ear. They did not tell me until after I had eaten it. Not sure if this was a trick or a language barrier …I think maybe the latter! They also served much cow’s liver. This, along with rice and beans, seemed to be the staple food. They took me out to eat several times and I indulged in many tacos, which were delicious.
I went to a market one day, which seemed like another world. I am not sure how to describe this scene. There were beautiful people, many colors, and food and children everywhere. The babies were carried on the backs of their mothers in huge scarves. People were sitting on the streets and in groups selling their produce. I ate corn on the cob, grilled over an open fire. It was delicious.
I was teaching that week on the active presence of God in our lives. As I was standing in the market one day, I became quite aware of God’s presence with me. Although I was in a foreign town with people I did not understand, food I did not recognize, and directions I didn’t know how to follow, I knew I was not alone.
I shared that week with about twenty-five young people. I wanted them to understand that although they were living in a very small town with much poverty, they were people with a purpose and destiny. They were united with a Father and were part of God’s story. I could see in their faces by the end of week that they sensed God’s spirit; they had captured God’s heart from Revelation 7:9: “…every race, tribe, nation, and language.”
On Thursday night, the young people had what they called an “international night” during which people from surrounding communities came. They were going to pray for China. All the young people were dressed in Chinese style and we ate with chopsticks. I shared a bit of the gospel with them and then we worshipped. A young girl began singing in Chinese. It was beautiful.
Later, I was also asked to give my testimony on the radio—to share how God could use people from Chiapas to participate with him in his mission in this world. The broadcaster told me afterwards that my words were real and honest and that it was what people wanted to hear because so much of Christianity was connected with religion instead of relationship.
The trip was a bit scary at times, but wonderful. As I was leaving, a young man named Isaac hugged me and said, “God showed me another miracle this week and that is you. Thank you for coming here. I will never be the same and if I don’t see you in this world again, we will meet at the throne worshipping him.”
This young man reminded me why I do what I do; encourage, inspire, teach, and tell people about their creator. As I went down that mountain, I couldn’t see the beauty because of tears streaming down my face; but I felt his pleasure.
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Teresa Drew has worked with Youth With A Mission for twenty-one years and has lived and worked throughout the world. She teaches, writes, mentors, and disciples. She is a register nurse and has her masters in spiritual formation and discipleship. She is married and has two children.
EMQ, Vol. 52, No. 1. Copyright © 2016 Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.