Gringo in Wonderland

Aaaaand I’m back. My trip to Guanajuato in the central highlands of Mexico was brief but amazing. Forgive me for teasing you but due to confidentiality requirements I cannot yet describe the primary purpose of my trip. But I can tell you that late on Saturday night I emailed my wife a message that ended with the following statement:

There were several moments tonight when I just had to laugh and say to myself, “Dave, you have the weirdest life ever.”

For most of the trip I was assigned a driver who was a member of the Mexican Secret Service. And the following morning I found myself in the back seat of an Expedition traveling about 100 miles per hour on Federal Highway 110D as my driver (mi conductor) endeavored to get me to church on time.

Despite my driver’s heroic efforts, worship was already underway when I arrived at the little storefront evangelical church–one of the very few in overwhelmingly Catholic Guanajuato. About 30 men, women and children were singing a song whose melody I instantly recognized. Eyes were closed. Faces and hands uplifted to heaven. And for the first time in more than 48 hours, I was home.

This is a remarkable phenomenon I have experienced in numerous corners of this planet. From England and Scotland to Denmark; from South Africa to South Korea; I have been in places that feel utterly foreign and strange in every way. When you don’t speak the language, it amplifies the feeling of lonely isolation and “otherness.”

Then you walk into a charismatic or evangelical church and you feel an instant bond of connection. You’re with your people. You are family. It is an indescribable sense of kinship and belonging. I had that experience once again last Sunday morning.

I could only understand a few words of the sermon, but I know good preaching when I see it. I was reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s statement that he preferred the kind of preacher who, when he got wound up, looked like he was fighting off a swarm of bees.

After the service I experienced the warmest welcome imaginable and visited with several members in my halting, broken Spanish and enjoyed the assistance of a fluent, bi-lingual friend.

In the post below I mentioned that I was headed to Mexico with a major life/career decision to make. That decision has been made. Details to follow. Stay tuned.