Greetings! Scripture tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. Today, I would like to introduce you to my first convert and disciple in Atoyac, a town about an hour northwest of Acapulco. When I met him he was a young man in his early twenties. Julio and his beautiful family are pictured on the following page in a restaurant in Mexico City celebrating his 58th birthday. When we see a family like this, we tend to think how lucky they are. How healthy, wealthy and wise, and we may even wish we could trade places with them. There are many things you cannot see in this picture. So, before you wish that, let me tell you a little bit more about Julio.
I am thankful that God gave me the opportunity to be a part of this man’s life and a part of his walk with God.
He has often said, “Thank you for bringing God to us.” I performed the wedding of Julio and Chagui on January 17, 1987. He was a great help to me in building the Atoyac church, where he has been a leader and deacon since its beginning. But, his path has not been easy. Through many difficulties and struggles, Julio built his own house and a construction material business. Two of his brother-in-laws have been kidnapped and held for ransom. Kidnappers have entered into Julio’s house through the roof, but, thankfully, Julio was not home. He has endured the stress of living under constant fear of himself, his wife or one of their children being kidnapped. Julio’s father was murdered by his own driver. Julio’s bodyguard vowed to track him down. One day, Julio received a call from the driver saying, “I have him in my sight. Give me the word.” Yet, Julio said, “No, don’t kill him.” My point is, “Don’t wish for another man’s life until you have walked in his shoes.”
At the end of this month, I will be back in Chiapas preparing to build five new missions. We have five groups coming in October. Money has already been sent to purchase the building materials, to have the foundations and floors poured, to have the blocks laid. Money has been sent for the roofing, the paint, the benches. And I know when we have completed the work, we will walk away satisfied that we have done our best.
Yesterday I asked a friend to get a few other friends and supporters together for a luncheon. I asked him to tell them that this would not be a fund raising event, but rather an opportunity to thank them for what they have done for Mary Lou and I and the people of Mexico. I hope to do the same in other areas before the year’s end. I wish it were possible to sit down and have lunch with each and every one of you as well, but time and distance make that impossible. I can only say, “Thank You” a million times over for who you are and what you do. As I often say, life is short. Live it to the max. Keep it clean. Love family and friends. And in the end, you will have no regrets.