Tecate, Mexico Report 2011

Children’s Parade ~ Downtown Parks ~ Drug Rehabilitation Center ~ Ensenada

Tecate, Mexico Evangelism Report Feb – March 2011

So far, evangelism here in Tecate has been handing out Spanish tracts, which by the way, most everyone takes. Catholicism is the national religion so many people will speak of God and such. I also have been able to pray with a few individuals. Martin speaks fluent Spanish and has taken theology courses here at a seminary in Tecate, all in Spanish. He had to interpret for me of course. Many people thought I was coming here to do the traditional Mexican short-term mission trip. Really it started out as just a visit to some lonely American sojourners. It has turned out to be a launching pad to reach San Diego with the Gospel. I know that sounds strange.

I met a sister in the Lord, Jeri Labell, a missionary down here to reach the children and others with the Gospel. She got me into a school to say a few words and also a secular drug rehabilitation center. I preached while a Spanish brother interpreted. Jeri and I prayed for the men afterward.

Larry DuBois Evangelizes in Tecate, MexicoOn my last day in Tecate I realized I had many tracts left, about 600. I had Martin drop me off in town on his way to San Diego to do some business on his day off. He told me to be careful and what ever I did not to talk to the police. I guess they want bribes sometimes. I had all 600 tracts crammed in my backpack and started for the main street. I noticed that some streets were blocked off. It turned out that there was an annual children’s parade. There were tons of people lining the streets and it took no time at all to hand out all the tracts. I was almost done when some young people approached me, and for what I could tell they were parade officials. I motioned that I didn’t speak Spanish. I got out of them not to hand out my tracts. I only had a few left but a man further down heard the conversation. He is bilingual. He said don’t worry hand out whatever I want and if I have any more problems to go to the Mayor’s office. The man was a relative of the Mayor. I noticed that I was the only American in the whole city that day. Not sure but most likely.

This is my first time in Mexico. Tecate, a border town, is about 40 miles southeast of San Diego. I am the guest of Martin Lopez and his family. I met Martin as Chaplain Lopez of the God Pod in Yakima, Washington over ten years ago. They moved to Tecate from Yakima a little over a year ago. The Lopez’s have a very nice house in Mexico. Although Mexico is economically lesser than the US, some things are a real bargain here, housing being one of them. Tecate like other border towns are not considered by the nationals to be the “real Mexico”. Although you notice the somewhat poverty and lack of infrastructure immediately crossing the border, you will also see a McDonalds, a Burger King, and a Subway. The local taco stands are still the prevalent eating stops though. I had my first fish taco here in Tecate. Most everywhere you go to eat it is at least half the cost of what you would normally pay in the states. They have dirty electricity which has surges so you have to have an adapter thingy. The propane is also dirty but what can you do, you’re in Mexico. My two favorite things here are the light coke in a bottle, very good, better than US. Also their green lights blink before turning yellow for extra warning. The people are friendly too! and no loud Mexican music from the cars like in the US.

Tecate has a beer factory here and the beer being named after the town. Almost every store has an advertisement for them. They take pesos here although some businesses will take US dollars. The conversion rate is about 12 pesos to one dollar. I understand that many years ago it was a much larger gap and the dollar went a real long way. The further south in Mexico you go the more you can get for your money. I wish I had more money to spend here (don’t we all?) It seems to bring me satisfaction to be able to help out their local economy. I got my haircut here in town and bought my heart medicine from the local Farmicia with no prescription required. The next time I see Oscar, I promised to get my shoes shined since he has something for suede. The Mexican people are workers and whatever they can do they will. I saw a poor man carrying a broom which needed to be replaced. He was working for a lady helping her sweep up but she didn’t need him anymore. He was looking for work when we ran across him. I haven’t seen anyone with a sign wanting money here. I am not sure what it means but I have seen people digging out of the garbage cans in San Diego but not here. There are a lot of dogs here and they can get into your garbage cans though. Many of the houses are painted with bright colors. I thought this was because they couldn’t afford paint and this was what is available. It turns out that it reflects their vibrant culture here. Something I should have known from school.

Martin works in San Diego, among other trips for shopping and Church the Lopez’s cross back and forth across the border a lot. The logistics of the commute across the border are a routine for them but a little intense for me. They have two cars which is a necessity for them. To re-enter the US one needs a passport. I have crossed back and forth many times since I have been here, both walking and driving, with no hassles. Sometimes when coming into Mexico they have random stops and check your trunk. Martin’s wife, Teresa, was stopped and when they opened the trunk there was a stack of million-dollar bill Gospel tracts staring the officers in the face. The tracts were in English and Teresa has limited Spanish and well let’s just say it all ended with a laugh for everyone. The Mexican Federal agents have checkpoints on various highways and they carry machine guns.

Speaking of highways, some of the roads here are just terrible and hard on your car. Whenever possible take the toll roads by all means. We took a day trip to Ensenada which is on the coast. It was very nice but the road was very bad, we finally got on the toll road. Surprisingly there have been some mornings where ice has accumulated on the car windows but it is nice during the day. Someone asked me if it was warm down here. Well I went swimming in the ocean at Ensenada and it’s January, woo hoo!