ever/after Rojo Gomez May Update

Posted in Change the Story by christy winston on May 17, 2010

ever/after in Rojo Gomez (May)

It’s a very sobering experience driving across the border from San Diego to Mexico.  It’s not that I haven’t traveled to Mexico before, I practically lived at the factories there at the beginning of my career.  It’s just that most of my visits have been by air.  In a strange way I suppose that when you’re transported by airline to get there, it just makes the poverty seem more distant and extreme contrast of life in our two worlds somehow easier to understand.

As I cross that invisible line marked by guards with semi-automatic guns put in place to keep the two worlds separate, I start to wrestle with questions like, “Who am I to deserve all of the things that are mostly taken for granted each day?  A comfortable bed, food for my daughter whenever she’s the least bit hungry, a home, gas for my car, 2 cars…How can I live just 2 hours from here and go about my day all business-as-usual?  What if I were born to parents on this side of the border?”

From Southern California, usually defined by privilege, beauty, wealth and safety into Tijuana Mexico which was recently named one of the most dangerous cities in the world (due to the conflict of competing drug cartels).   It takes about 30 minutes to arrive in a little town called Rojo Gomez.  The town is so small it feels as if it’s almost forgotten.  No street signs, and for the last 5 miles…no paved roads.  A minimum of an SUV is required to traverse the terrain.  As you near the town you pass through clouds of black smoke from burning trash.  Graffiti covers almost everything and the trash that isn’t burned carpets the ground.  The start of the dry season welcomes you with clouds of dust blowing in all directions with very few trees to offer cover or reprieve from the intense summer heat.

Most homes are constructed of old rotting wood garage doors pieced together to make 4 sides and a roof.  Lacking running water, the people of Rojo Gomez are required find theirs from a nearby town.

Among the poverty and difficult living conditions there’s light in the center of the town.  We pass by the patch of land purchased for the community center that ever/after will be supporting and are excited to see that the beginning stages of grading have begun.  As I navigate our truck up the steep hill to the school, about a hundred kids run out to the chain link fence to welcome us.  In a wave, they approach our caravan eager & proud to help us unload.  In minutes the vans are emptied of food, cases of bottled water, medical & dental supplies, and child sponsor gifts.

Pastor Daniel of Lo Mejor Del Trigo (the Finest Wheat) church is there to greet us by name.  He’s an incredible man whose dream is to bring hope and true change not only to Rojo Gomez, but 49 other impoverished communities throughout Mexico.  He is a true model of what it means to live a life of a servant giving people the love and hope of Jesus.

The day is spent in community with the village’s families.  Life for these parents is mostly spent just surviving, so it’s not often that they can enjoy a meal cooked by someone else and have such kindness shown to their children.  From a very young age these kids have no other choice but to learn to be independent.  As a father to my 2 year old daughter, Ever, it always amazes me how much older the kids appear in Mexico.  The things that I carefully teach Ever by holding her hand and being close by if she should stumble are the same things that these kids learn independently by necessity at a much younger age.

Although I don’t speak their language, it surprisingly doesn’t seem to matter to them.  They are just so happy to spend time with us.  Whether it’s kicking a soccer ball, playing a game, sharing a picture, or being there to pick them up and brush them off after a fall, it’s all just about an expression of love and showing them that we care.  It’s not just food, money, or humanitarian aid that will solve all of this…these problems are much too big for that.  Powerful and sustaining change will only be made through lives transformed by the love and truth of Jesus.

As I sit here with a cup of coffee and write this on my porch in Newport Beach I’m overwhelmed.  I want to do more with the blessings I’ve been given.  I think a lot of us have had a similar experience or can at least relate to this.   I’ve had this experience too many times, having traveled and seen this kind of poverty in places like Brazil, China, Vietnam, Turkey, Guatemala, and all over Mexico.  Too many times we’ve said that THIS was the experience that would really change us…change the way we act, the things we value, the way we spend our time, our money.  And it would change us…for a few days.  But then, Monday comes and we begin to fall back in line with this world’s parade, consumed with our worries, our problems, our ambitions, the stress of our jobs and the anxiety that comes from a life that is focused on ourselves.

Two years ago, Christy and I made a decision to step outside of this world’s parade.  Away from our comfortable & mediocre lives into a purpose-filled life that is walked by faith.  We’ve surrendered our lives and trust that God changed our story for a purpose and is now using us to change the story of others.

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One Response

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  1. Russell and Kelly Robinson said, on May 18, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Baautifully said! May the Lord bless you in your endeavors. We are honored to be associated with you.

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