Guest written by Stephen and Tonyia’s niece Jeanette
This is now my third trip to Mexico, and let me begin by letting everyone know how nice the days are here in this time of year. My daughter, Lori, and I left 104°F (40°C) temperatures in Texas. Here the days are about 79°F (26°C) and the nights are about 59°F (15°C). It is very pleasant. It’s the rainy season here and showers appear off and on to help keep the temperatures down.
Our day began early for our trip to Refugio (which literally translates to refuge). The drive is difficult. The road is littered with obstacles, some of which are: potholes, fallen rocks, donkeys, cows, and horses. It takes 2 ½ hours to make the 50-mile journey, but it is well worth the wait. The views are spectacular and the people are welcoming.
Our group consisted of Evangelist Ramiro, Pastor Rey and his family, Mari and her family, Stephen, Tonyia, Lori, and myself. We arrived to a warm welcome from Pastor Santiago, the resident pastor. The pastor’s wife had made a meal of homemade tortillas, rice, beans, and a special dish of “nopalitos” cactus with eggs mixed in. Cactus are readily available in the mountains here and are an important food resource. In fact, we were served cactus fruit for dessert (which is ironically called “tuna” locally). The fruit is valuable to the villagers as a dessert, but is also cooked down to make jelly.
Evangelist Ramiro preached a moving sermon about how all things on earth really belong to God… In fact, what you have in your life is a gift from God’s hands. Outside, LuLu (Pastor Rey’s wife) and Lori led the children in song, and taught them the bible story of Zacchaeus. The children enjoyed coloring a tiny Zacchaeus and a tree for the miniature Zacchaeus to “climb” as their craft.
Following the service, we had the privilege of handing out gift bags to about 30 children and giving donated clothing to all of the families. They truly appreciated the gifts. To say that the village of Refugio is isolated would be an understatement. They get few visitors and even fewer that are willing help make their lives even a little bit better. God led all of you to donate and help True Path Ministry. It was my pleasure to pass along that love and thoughtfulness to the families of Refugio. I hope that all of you can join us at some time to feel the love and appreciation. Until next time, Dios te bendiga…God bless you.