Welcome to the Oct. 19, 2006 Newsletter
From the President, Matt Slick
The situation in the jail is dire. It is extremely cramped and apparently unsanitary. My brother-in-law complains that the cockroaches crawl in his ears. He is given a bucket and a spoon once a week with which to take a bath. I discovered on my trip down there that that prison was at one time the ninth worst prison in the world. Chappy Dave, the minister I went with, said that when he first started going in to the prison 13 years ago, it was Sodom and Gomorrah. But now, it is the model prison in all of Mexico. Chappy Dave and others deserve huge credit for being faithful before the Lord and going into this prison on a regular basis, for praying for it and the prisoners, and for teaching the Word of God within its walls. It is through this effort and the effort of others doing the same thing that has changed this prison so dramatically. Nevertheless, the one day I arranged to go down there is the day that the Mexican nationals changed the rules. God in his sovereignty knew this and we trust that our presence there was to his glory nonetheless. So, we took matters into our own hands, if I can be jovial for a moment, and walked around the prison two times praying out loud for the prison, the inmates, and the guards.
After we left the prison, Chappy Dave took me to a woman's home where several nuns were working to feed and take care of women who were destitute. Their selflessness was admirable. I got to use my Spanish a bit helping explain to them how we were dropping off bread and explaining how we could not get in the prison. They were full of smiles and appreciation. Next, we went to a home in the barrio area of Tijuana. Chappy Dave informed me that a pastor began taking in the elderly when he found them on the streets. Apparently, some Mexican nationals in Tijuana dump their elderly parents and grandparents. They would just drive up in a car, take them out, leave them on the sidewalk, and drive off. This pastor, a rather short man with a huge smile, began to take them into his home. That was several years ago and now the place houses maybe 40 or 50 elderly.
We stopped there to drop off some bread that had been donated to that Ministry. I met this Mexican pastor and through his broken English and my so-so Spanish, he told us that a couple of weeks ago he and his family were driving in his van to another city. The right front tire blew out and van flipped over and rolled down a ravine where it burst into flames. He could not get his family out due to his own injuries. But praise be to God, some passersby managed to get everyone out. He showed us the burns on his arm and pointed to his chest where other burns were hidden under a shirt. All the while, he kept praising Jesus for his mercy. We were happy that he and his family were okay. Now, all the while he was telling me this, we were in a camper shell, the kind that goes on the back of a small pickup truck. Chappy Dave told me that that was his home. Apparently his real home had been taken over by all of the elderly he had taken in. I was impressed and I can still see his smiling face.
If that wasn't enough I was lovingly accosted by a man who approached us with arms raised high and in Spanish-accented English he started to praise the name of Jesus. He told us how this pastor who lived in the camper shell had found him under a tree seven years ago. This man said that he had been under that tree for three days recovering from a drunken stupor. No one was helping him and he was dying. The pastor took him in and nursed him back to health. With praises on his lips, he told me how he now uses his skills in construction is learned in the United States, to expand the home for the elderly.
After hearing these stories I walked to the edge of the hill and looked around at all of the homes, the dirt roads, the stray dogs, and broken down buildings that were strewn across the landscape. It was a different world, a different culture. Dust blew periodically down non-paved roads and distant children played in the streets. And though we were far enough into Tijuana that we could not see the United States, I was reminded of how good I have it in my large home here in Idaho. I thanked the Lord for his kindness for providing so much for me. But I can't help but wonder who is the richer, me or the people who give their lives to serve the discarded elderly. Of course, we know the answer.
After leaving home and heading back across the border, life returned to normal as I enjoyed the familiar comfort of my homeland. during that week, by God's grace, I was permitted to witness to a Buddhist, a Hare Krishna, and to two Mormon missionaries. Along with visiting old friends, it was a good trip. I'm glad to be home.