“Tenacious,” I thought, observing the tall, elderly gentleman awkwardly weave his way through the traffic. What an interesting fellow! Although he teetered a bit, the man's determined stride was very different from that of the easy-going locals or the relaxed tourists. Deeply browned by the tropical sun, it was obvious that he was an ex-patriate.
“Lord, please give me a chance to talk about You today,” I prayed a few weeks later. Homeschooling and a growing church plant did not give me a lot of time to meet new people. I was hungry to share the Gospel. That was the day that I would meet Joe.
I went downtown because I needed a highlighter. I had no idea, however, how to ask for one in Spanish. I tried to explain to the young clerk what I wanted. She showed me several pens, pencils, and art supplies – but no highlighter.
“Maybe, I can help,” a crackly voice offered in English. I smiled up at the gentleman that I had earlier observed walking through traffic in town. His Spanish was better than mine, and I soon had my highlighter.
“Your Spanish is so good! How many years have you been in Mexico?” I asked. He had lived on the mainland for over fifty years, working for an American corporation. He had met and married a gentle Mexican woman and had two children. Now many years later, Joe and his wife had recently moved to San José del Cabo to be near his daughter and grandchildren.
“Your Spanish is also good,” he returned the compliment.” Do you live here, too?”
“Yes, my husband is a pastor of a church here. I am married to a Mexican, too.”
“A pastor? Of which church?”
“Emmanuel Evangelical Church. We have services on Sunday if you are interested. They start at 10 o’clock.” For some reason, I didn’t really expect him to be interested.
“I am interested. How can I get there?” By this time, I had realized that Joe was a frank Irish-American, a North-easterner. He would not commit himself if he were not sincere. The Lord had answered my prayer!
Later, Joe would tell me that he, too, had recently prayed, “God, I need to get things right with You before I die. I don’t know how and I don’t know which church to attend. I cannot visit every church here. I am too old and too weak. So, send someone to me from a church that teaches Truth. Let that person invite me to his church, so that I know that it is the right one.”
Joe and his wife faithfully attended Emmanuel Church for a few short years. They listened intently to the sermons. Several church folks shared the Gospel with them. The Mexican folks loved them and called them “Los Abuelitos," an endearing way to say "the grandparents." Shortly before Joe passed away, I had the privilege of standing by his hospital bed, reading Scriptures about Heaven, and smoothing back his snowy-white hair. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want….”
Joe had made peace with God.
-Written by Vicki Reyes, TEAM missionary in Mexico
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