Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hot Summer Night

After weeks of unusually cool and cloudy weather, Tijuana is finally feeling like it normally does in July: hot. And for this night in particular, humid as well.

We are in downtown Tijuana -- properly known as Zona Norte -- with the DTS students, as is our custom on every Wednesday night, providing food for the homeless people in this urban park, and building relationships with them and their children.

On the north side of this tiny, mostly-concrete park, the traffic on the Via Rapida races by, oblivious to our presence. And towering on the edge of Via Rapida, of course, is the razor-sharp sentinel wall that divides Mexico from the United States.

As I pause and take in the scene around me, I notice the pain in my lower back -- partly from my recent unsolicited acquisition of 'shingles', and partly from picking up garbage and broken needles for the past hour or so -- and I'm struck by the stories coalescing all around me.

DTS students and staff -- all from widely divergent backgrounds -- getting out of their comfort zones and serving cheerfully in a dirty, squalid, needle-infested concrete-and-sketchy-palm-tree park shoved up next to a busy thorough-fare and The Fence.

Watching as the perception of the people in the park morphs from being an anonymous sub-category called "the homeless", to becoming "people", with hopes, dreams, children, smiles, and laughter.

And the children: just playing like any normal child would do. Watching some of our students -- who just a few weeks ago were graduating from high school and having proms -- running, playing, laughing, holding and at times crying over the children.

The people, lining up to receive the hot 'n' hearty soup prepared earlier, and then hanging around with us afterwards, listening to some of our young musicians play some songs. Talking and laughing with us, as we all watch a few of the students and staff perform a silly children's drama -- La Casa Se Quema (The House Is On Fire) -- that the children absolutely love.

I need to tell more stories about this DTS; they are a remarkable group. But for this hot summer's night in downtown Tijuana, I just felt a great sense of gratitude for what God is doing in them, and through them as they serve.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Modest Totally Rockin' Proposal

I think I just had an epiphany. A new, radical, high-yield, inoffensive, and stealthily strategic approach to evangelism and rock music!

For years, we've been warned about the dangers of satanic messages being inserted (backwards) in rock 'n' roll recordings. These backwards messages are responsible for leading untold thousands -- nay, perhaps millions -- into the devil's grip.

Like any Christian worth his salt, I am of course livid that people are being sucked into hell by such a sneaky and treacherous methodology, when suddenly it hit me:
What a great idea for evangelism! We can use the devil's tricks against him and expand the Kingdom of God instead!
Just think: we could pick one of the more popular and greedy rock stars (or rap, or whatever), and pay them a large sum of money to hide the Four Spiritual Laws (backwards, of course) on their next CD!

This would have such immediate benefits, I am amazed that no-one thought of it before. Now we don't have to rub shoulders with sinful people. We don't have to compromise our testimony by being around sinners. And the offense of the Cross is totally removed, because people will be evangelized through subliminal messages.

Just think of it: Thousands upon thousands -- nay, perhaps millions -- of people getting saved, born-again, and redeemed without even knowing it! How's that for taking the devil's schemes and using them for God's glory instead?!?

Whew -- the mind boggles. Y'all excuse me whilst I lay down and catch my breath for a moment...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Return of the Pox

Lurking in the dark cellular recesses of some obtuse nerve cluster in my spine, it has waited these many years.

Dormant, unknown, unseen, and unsuspected.

Chicken pox is pretty much as normal to Canadian children as, well, chicken soup served by your mother when you were sick. The one thing we all consoled ourselves with is that once you've had chicken pox, you can't get it again.

Well, yes and no. Chicken pox never really leaves your system, it just coalesces into one nerve bundle in your body and patiently bides it nefarious time.

Then suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, the surly mutant one day decides it wants to stretch it's gnarly wings and wreak havoc once more upon the unsuspecting. And so for the past week, I have unwillingly and unwittingly joined the ranks of those who endure what is commonly known as "shingles".

On a scale of one to ten, with ten indicating a severe case, I'd have to say I've been very fortunate. The rash that many report has been very, very small. In fact, I initially thought I had been bitten by a few spiders -- not an uncommon thing when you live in the desert. And frankly, I think I'd rather have shingles than know that there was spider venom creeping through my innards.

So, I've been lucky on the rash end of the stick. But as numerous friends have commented to the effect of "dude, shingles is really painful", I can readily confirm their medically-sound-but-otherwise-unhelpful opinions.

Which, being translated, means "OUCH".

But at least it's not poisonous spider bites! :)