Monday, 14 June 2004
Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1
By John Calvin
This is a post from last March or April
My wife and I made it back last night. After being in that last bus
for so many hours, it felt so good to walk that we decided not to
call a taxi but made the last 4 or 5 miles from the Mexican bus
station to our house.
We found a number of people who were quite willing to take Bibles,
Testaments and Gospels of John, It is an incredible mission field
right at our doorstep and I can't help but feel great burden for the
need down there. Many, many towns - and cities even - have no
established Gospel witness that I can see. I hope that I am just
being unduly pessimistic -- but I think I am being reasonable. May I
make a suggestion for any of you who are going to Mexico for
vacation? Take along some Spanish Bible and Testaments to give out.
If nothing else - if you don't feel up to using your rusty Spanish -
just leave them somewhere. But a good tip is to leave them with
someone you see reading something else, since that way you know that
they are able to read.
We went to San Luis Potosi (a capital of the state of the same name)
and attended a very good Presyterian Sunday School. They were going
over the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q46. This was followed by a
Scriptural discussion of all the things that constitute sin, drawing
from the various lists in the New Testament. My Spanish failed me in
a few places, since they preferred an ancient translation, but my
wife and I were really blessed by the lesson. Ironic that there is
so much more Gospel truth going out from this little church (dwarfed
by the giant cathedrals right next to it and across the street). We
also actually found a small Christian bookstore in downtown Potosi
(though it had a mixture of new age and third wave junk as well --
and a book or two of the obligatory Left Behind series). In the other
provincial towns we stayed in, like Rio Verde and Tamasopo, we didn't
see any indication of any Christian work whatever. I was surprised to
see that that last town actually had a tiny Internet cafe! Those
things are springing up everywhere.
We had a good time over all. I saw a lot of birds and plants. She got
to swim a lot in the jungly waterfall streams of the Huasteca region
- Puente de Dios - while I birdwatched.
The most modern city, by far, that we visited was Monterrey. It
reminds me of NYC. They even have a subway. A very clean one. Of
course it is not as old as NY's. They had posters everywhere of the
movie "The Passion" scheduled to be seen that very day, I believe.
There is also a very strong tie-in with the local RCC. But that is
not surprising - to me at least.
The fields are so ready for harvest. I don't know about you, but I
want my life to count for something. We are already planning to go
again this Summer with more Bibles. You know what bothers me? A lot
of sincere Christian young people - God bless them! - come over the
border and do some good (but transient) work in one of the border
towns. I have seen, during last year's Spring Break, where different
Christian groups are cheek by jowl with other American Christian
groups in the same dusty neighborhood. But how few go deep into
Mexico to see that they also hear the message. According to the
Mexican Government website, border regions have 20 to 40 times more
of Christian exposure than some of the interior regions, places like
Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, the Huasteca Region.
Something else that bothers me is that many Americans, maybe out of
guilt or something, I don't know - think only of giving Things to
Mexicans (food, toys, clothes, etc.), but not of Bibles and
Testaments. Or of their time or their mere presence. Some of these
towns have Christians that surely feel like Lone Rangers, so isolated
from other Christians.