A Slower Pace

Doug posted this note on Facebook, and we wanted to share it with all of you since it really speaks of our ministry here.  Please continue to pray for the villages of La Pitahya, Rosales, Boca del Rio and Las Glorias and the families we fellowship with and minister to in our area.

The other day, I went to the lumber yard to pick up some materials.  My order was ready when I got there, so I loaded up my wood, and proceeded to say goodbye to the owner, who is a friend and Christian brother.  An hour later, I was on my way (now in a bit of a hurry) to pick up Rebecca, who was waiting for me downtown.  Saying goodbye takes a little longer in Mexico.

Yesterday, my friend Julio’s father passed away.  We went to his home at about 11:00 last night to wait for the family to bring his body from Guasave.  They arrived about 1 a.m.

Before Huichi’s death, the family was struggling with not only watching their father fade away, but also with the decision of whether or not to keep him connected to the oxygen, which was the only thing keeping him alive.  In the end, they decided to bring him back to his home with an oxygen tank so he could pass “next to his guamuchil tree”.  Huichi said that he was tired of trying to breath, tired of fighting. He didn’t make it home.

Throughout the day today, people will continue to arrive to say their good-byes to Huichi, look at pictures of him tossing his fishing net,talk about the big fish that he was so good at landing with his harpoon.  They will wait for up to three days to make sure that all the family gets a chance to be there.

I always thought that many Mexican traditions had strong roots in Catholicism, and that the people are shaped by their religion.  I am, however, beginning to realize how much the Mexican culture has shaped their religious traditions, Catholic or otherwise. 

When someone passes away in Mexico, life stops for a few days.  I mean everything stops, and I don’t mean just for close family.  Friends, neighbors and acquaintances will come to the house to visit with, pay their respects and wait.  They will share meals, drink coffee, talk about old times. Wait.

Last night I realized just how much the waiting fits with everything else in Mexico.  I’m here to teach people about Jesus, and I’m glad I had a chance to effect Huichi’s life and pray with him a few days before he died.  As I ponder my life in Mexico though, I see how often I’m the one who is being taught.

Why do they wait?  If you look it up on Wikipedia, you might read that they are praying for the deceased’s soul and asking God to forgive their sins, and move them from purgatory to paradise.  If you ask one of Huichi’s brothers or sisters, children or grandchildren, they’d just say that they are saying goodbye.

1 Corinthians 15:55  "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"

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