Saturday: I’m leaving the house at 4 a.m. today, to make my way to Poza Rica, Mexico (via Houston and Mexico City). As the Lord blesses my travels, I’ll be able to arrive in time to minister in tonight’s meeting. Then will stay over for Sunday morning.
This will be my first time to this city. This is their winter, so temps will not get much above 80. The weekend with Centro Cristiano Lluvia de Gracia was brought together by pastor Jose Felix from Guadalajara, who is connected to this church relationally. I was with Jose for the first time in Guadalajara in the summer of 2015, and since then they have released a Spanish translation of the book, UNRELENTING PRAYER. And Jose will be joining me in Poza Rica this weekend, he’ll be serving as my translator.
Saturday 6:30 pm: The adventure has launched! I’m in tropical, green, exotic Poza Rica. A city of almost 200,000. Three churches are gathering together to join in these meetings. Tonight’s meeting will be held in a church that has some kind of connection to Andres Spyker in Morelia. Their daughter is in Morelia right now at the newly launched Mas Vida internship.
Getting here was a trip. Navigating the Mexico City airport was interesting. I had to take a train to change terminals. Tried to get on the wrong plane. The airport code for Poza Rica is PAZ, and leaving at the same time was a flight for La Paz, at the same general gate area. I figured that must be another way to say PAZ, so I tried to give the agent my ticket. But as it turns out, La Paz is a different city. Eventually they figured out I was trying to get on the wrong plane, and they sent me to the right gate.
So I got here to Poza Rica. But my bags weren’t so lucky. I collected them in Mexico City, and put them on a conveyor belt for connecting domestic flights, but alas, they are spending the night in Mexico City. No books for tonight’s meeting. Hopefully they will arrive with the next flight to Poza Rica, which is tomorrow (Sunday) at 11 a.m. On the up side, I learned that our next meeting is Sunday 7:00 pm, rather than the 11:00 a.m. I was expecting, so I’m hoping the bags will arrive and I’ll have time to change into a fresh set of clothes.
They grow things tropical here: Mangos, coconuts, papaya, watermelon, oranges, cherries, melons, etc. I’m glad I’m here in the winter, today was plenty warm for me.
Saturday 11:00 pm: Good meeting tonight. My translator, Jose, traveled from Guadalajara today, and had challenges of his own to get here. He managed to arrive, however, during the course of the worship service. So he was able to translate me, thank the Lord. Tonight we asked the Lord to open our eyes to His perspective on our lives. I used the lives of Jacob, Joseph, Caleb, Naomi, and Jesus to illustrate how God usually has a different perspective from us on our circumstances.
After the meeting, the pastor’s wife took me over to a room in their facility that they have dedicated as a house of prayer. Very inviting. They’ve put strong effort into making it a meaningful place for prayer. Marvelous!
Sunday 2:00 pm: My bags just arrived!
Sunday 4:00 pm: I’m just back from a taco dinner. I’m telling you, Mexico knows how to do tacos!
Monday 10:00 a.m.: Greetings from the Poza Rica airport, where the adventure continues. I was awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a knock at my door. The hotel worker handed me a message. One of my hosts received an email from United, that my departure out of Poza Rica this morning was changed from 11:00 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. So I was being alerted because I would have to leave for the airport a lot earlier than planned. The email struck me as quite suspect, so I went onto the United site at 2:00 a.m., to see if I could decipher the thing. Punched in my United flight number, but the site said it was an invalid number. Aeromar Airlines is a partner with United, but Aeromar was not communicating electronically with United, and there was no way to confirm online with United what the actual time for my Aeromar flight was. So I went to Aeromar.com, and couldn’t read it because it was all in Spanish. So I set my alarm for an earlier rising, and tried to get back to sleep. Ended up grabbing a melatonin to help me, and eventually got back to sleep. The alarm at 6:45 a.m. was not my friend, smile. When my hosts came to collect me at 7:20 a.m., they went on the Aeromar site, and it showed the departure as being at 11:00 a.m., as my paperwork said. But there was no phone to call, no way to confirm verbally. So we decided to head for the airport. When we got to the airport ticket counter, it was confirmed that the flight leaves at 11:00. The email “from United” was bogus. The hotel had an exceptional breakfast, and I had papaya already in my mind. But it wasn’t meant to be today, ha. After checking in, I told the pastor I would just wait in the airport for my flight. But he indicated he wanted to visit for a couple minutes. A young man had accompanied us as a translator, so through the translator we started a conversation. He revealed to me that he has had Parkinson’s for 17 years. I thought his problem might have been cerebral palsy, so the Parkinson’s identification made sense, and helped me realize why he walksd and talked the way he does. He opened to me about the disease, and how it has affected his life and ministry. I ended up taking an hour to visit with him, and then to pray with him and his wife. So that had more eternal purpose to it than a nice hotel brunch! What seemed at first to be a disruption of sleep ended up being a time of very personal sharing and ministry. The Lord is good.
Last night’s service was a blessing. Believers gathered from several churches, the house was full, and the ministry was meaningful. Around 20 people came forward to surrender their lives to Christ. Clearly they were not all first-time altars of consecration, but the Lord was moving on their hearts and they were willing. After praying with that group, I opened up an invitation for those who have been tempted in recent days to give up in the race. Again, the altar area filled quickly with believers who were eager for the Spirit to fill them anew with courage and strength. We had a meaningful time of ministry, followed up in the end with a song of rejoicing. I enjoyed the fact that these saints don’t pay attention to the clock. They’re there to meet with God, not watch the time. So we poured out our hearts to God. It was beautiful, and I’m heading back to the USA with a heart of thanksgiving.
Today I’m not going home. Rather, I’m going to Pittsburgh to have a couple days with my family — with my parents and Sheldon & Tammy. I’m scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh at 11 pm tonight, will have Tues and Wed with my family, and then head for Kansas City on Thursday. I’m looking forward to having this Christmas celebration time with them!
May your Christmas be filled with joy and peace in the Holy Spirit!