That Friday night after I got off work, Roger picked me up and we drove over the border. The filth of Tijuana turned my stomach. We missed most of it because of the new toll road. Along the border was (still is) a high steel fence with hundreds of people sitting along or atop it waiting to gain access to the United States.
Once in Ensenada about 60 miles south of the border we stopped for dinner. It was a lovely place and the food was great. Then we drove on another 20 or so miles, farther and farther from the lights of the city. We turned out a curvy road and then a curvy dirt road, eventually coming to stop just a few steps from the ocean. There I saw that ugly trailer. I was wondering just how he thought the sleeping arrangements might go. We were just barely engaged. Yes, I know. He was going to be my 4th husband, but I wanted my life to be in order. I didn't have to worry. As small as the trailer was, there were 2 beds.
Morning on the beach is a wonder! At that time, there were very few homes in the area. The beach was pristine. I still wasn't having any permanent designs on this place.
I will tell you what changed my mind about Mexico and the Mexican people in general. I'm not talking about those who sneak across the border now. On our way to shop in Ensenada, the clutch cable in Roger's little car snapped. I recognized the sound. We parked and looked for a gas station. I needed a restroom as well. The gas station guy pointed us to a transmission shop a few blocks away. At the transmission shop we had trouble communicating. I was studying Spanish but had no idea how to explain clutch cable. With words and signs, we soon understood each other and the young man smiled. He put us in his car and drove like a maniac through the back streets of Ensenada to the clutch repair shop, where we were whisked away by another manic driver. He took us to the car, looked at the problem and took Roger to go look for the part.
I got left with the car. I had to go. There wasn't even a big enough tree in sight to accomplish that. I waited. I waited over 2 hours. They were back! No part. The car was a Renault and a little too foreign for the local junkyards. We were told to "speed shift". When Roger tried to pay the young man for his time, gas and effort, he refused. I even understood what he said. "I've done nothing." He could have taken all we had, but chose to serve.
We left the next morning and nursed the car all the way back to my home in eastern L.A. county. And he wanted to live in Mexico after we married?
After you pass through the border at Tijuana (San Ysidro) going into Mexico, you pass through a very small section of the busy border town. You see homes built into the hills. Homes is a generous word I suppose. Most of the homes are shacks held up by old tires. The are generally no windows or window glass and often the door covering is a sheet. The poverty is inescapable.
The next step is a steep climb along the border toward the ocean or Playas as they call it. As we would reach the top of that climb and curve left toward the first toll station, my heart would simply burst with relief and awe. The sight is hard to explain. From the time we married, decided to serve the Lord and moved part time into Mexico, I felt a sense of homecoming each time we reached that summit. Two more toll stations and the town of Ensenada and we would be home.
Most of the pictures I have of our early time in Mexico are hard copies and must be scanned and digitized. I wish I had that capability right now, but I don't. Suffice it to say that the coastline drive from the first toll to the last is spectacular. It looks somewhat like the California coast 50 years ago, clean and mostly uncluttered. I know that Americans have leased up those areas as much as possible now and are building as they have done here. This makes me sad.
As soon as Roger and I found Christians and a Bible study, our lives felt complete. Our teacher was a 93 year-old Bible scholar whose father had been an itinerant preacher, going from town to town on horseback. In the Bible study, we met her son Howard and his wife, June. They are founders of the mission I mentioned yesterday. I will tell that tale tomorrow and about how I was "called out" to ministry.
Thank you all for your fine comments on my last entry. I love to hear from you all and need the encouragement to continue what I feel is important to share. You all know that my life belongs to Jesus, but I want you to know what it's like to be a reluctant missionary as well. I pray earnestly for you. Blessings and love,