Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Joshua 1:6
This trip was about promises. Promises kept up to five hundred years later. And sometimes we get tired of waiting.
Mary was ten-years-old when the Americans first came to her neighbourhood, to the church down the street. And the laughing papuchi rides and the balloons and the candy lured her into the story. The story where she first heard Jesus loved her and had a plan for her life. And she believed this story. This Jesus loves me. And they sang songs about His love, and learned verses about His love, and she stood up and promised to follow Him forever.
But life stepped in and this tough guy with a swagger who promised to love her too, and she ran off and married him. This guy was full of machismo and was mean and yelled groserias at passers-by, And beat her. A lot. And lots of times she thought about those nice smiling Americans and their Jesus. And the doctor said she could not have any babies ever. And life was long and hard and she was tired. And Jesus said, “All you who are weary, come to me and I will give you rest.” And she returned to her first love, and began to sneak out to church because she would get beat if she got caught. And Jesus gave her three little children. Who also got beat and hid under the kitchen table so they couldn’t get hit. And something I didn’t quite catch when I was painting Mary’s face had something to do with his machismo and not allowing her to carry three little kids to church all by himself so he started coming too and then he gave his life to Jesus and everything changed.
And they moved back to Mexicali, where everyone could marvel at his changed life. And he drives around a beat-up white Toyota with a big speaker on top and she walks behind the car and sells ant poison and cockroach killer to the people who come out of their homes. And she serves breakfast to the little street kids whose parents beat them. And he hangs out with the young men who are tangled up in drugs and are bien tremendos and get thrown out of middle school after a week and a half. Because he knows all about being bien tremendo.
And our scraggly little group of eight kids and a fireman and me show up on the dusty street outside the cement block El Buen Samaritano with our soccer balls and facepaints and beads and we are an answer to a prayer and a promise. A thirty-year prayer in waiting.
We even had a half-eaten jar of peanut butter. Mary never forgot the jars of peanut butter.
And my whole wheat sweet rolls are packed up in the basket and napkin. To celebrate His power over death and hopelessness and long cold nights of waiting. He is risen. Risen indeed.