Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pray For Mexico

The past couple of days we've had a yard sale at our house.  It was a wonderful success and we became much less encumbered by stuff.  We got to meet a lot of nice people, most of whom we've never met.  Among them were a number of Mexican expatriates.  Many were limited in the English they spoke.  All were polite, friendly, warm and kind.  I wanted to get to know them, so I took to asking them to tell me where they came from.

One older gentleman hails from Ciudad Juarez.  Aware that Juarez is perhaps the most dangerous place in the Western Hemisphere, I expressed gratitude that he was here where life is much more safe.  He echoed my relief, telling me how thankful he is that he has been able to get his family away from all that.  Another couple came by. She was from rural Guerrero and he from Acapulco.  I asked if he was a cliff diver.  His eyes widened in cheerful wisdom.  "Too high!"  He exclaimed.  She, spoke better English and I asked where Guerrero was.  She told me it is a state south and west of Mexico City.  When I explained that back in the 70's we loved to spend time in Mexico.  She declared, "It is no longer safe!"
"Even in the South?" I asked?
"En todas partes!"
"I thought is was only bad near the border," I protested.
"It is bad everywhere, these days."
"How very sad."

Another fellow came from Southern Chihuahua.  "It used to be quiet in my home town.  Not no more," he lamented.  I used to risk a visit to my parents every year, but now they're gone, we don't go there no more."

My heart broke for them, and for Mexico.  These are wonderful people, who've left behind a wonderful place.  It is so very sad.

Petey in our Ward just got back from a mission to Tijuana.  I asked him how his mission was.  "I survived." he sighed.  It took me back again to the early '70's when we lived on the border.  The Tijuana District of the Church was set to become a Stake.  Trouble was, they had no building - not one.  Our Stake got wind of it and in one night raised enough money for our Mexican neighbor's portion of the building.  The next year, we did it again and again.  Now there is a Mission in that city.  Still it is a dangerous place.

So Mexico is in crisis with Drug Cartels killing all who stand in their way.  Sound familiar?  Sounds just like the Gadianton Robbers to me.  Was life any less miserable for the Lamanites?  When they concluded to destroy the Gadianton Robbers from among them they did it by preaching the word of God to them.  That's right, they used the word to change the hearts of their enemies.  I expect the good people of Mexico will follow that most singular pattern and sooner or later turn the plight of their country into glorious results.  Why do I think this?  Because Mexican's are the salt of the earth.  They have a goodness and sensitivity that is most remarkable.

Today in Fast and Testimony Meeting a sweet little eighty-three year old Mexican American woman went to the pulpit to bear her testimony.  How sweet and sure and simple it was.  During her testimony I had the impression that I would live to see miracles happen in that sweet land.  Most misbehavior comes of desperation.  I believe that most if not all, of those desperadoes would choose a more righteous alternative if they actually felt they had one.  The good news is that there is a better choice and we must labor and teach, trust and pray that such a blessing will come to our wonderful, sweet neighbors to the South.

Everyone I talked to yesterday was thankful to be here, in America, in relative safety.  They also all expressed the wish that it didn't have to be so, for they'd rather live and raise their families back home.  For more and more, though, this is becoming home as generations are born and raised this side of the Rio Grande.  That is okay with me.  Most are refugees from oppressive poverty, crime and corruption.  I see them as welcome, decent and honest neighbors.  To me they are just as welcome as the Irish, Polish, Italian and German immigrants who fled similar oppression 100 years ago.  Just as welcome as the Dutch and English who preceded them and the Asians who've come more recently.  We haven't run out of room in our cities and towns for them and they'd assimilate far better if we hadn't run out of room for them in our hearts.

I guess each group of immigrants had to struggle to get a toe-hold for themselves in the United States.  Need we make it harder for them?  Can't we make legal immigration simpler and less exclusive?

The Church is growing in Mexico by leaps and bounds.  Mexico currently has 221 Stakes and 32 Districts, plus 12 temples with one more announced.  Zion in Mexico is enlarging her tent and I have great hopes that the Saints in Mexico will indeed leaven the loaf.  Let us all remember Mexico and our brothers and sisters there, often in our prayers.

1 comment:

Utah Mom said...

Beautiful post. I agree. I often feel frustrated that we aren't more welcoming in this country. This is my main problem with the far right.

However, it is exciting that a temple has been announced for Tiajuana. I hope that things in Mexico get better soon.

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