Walk About – Day in the Life of a Missionary

A Day in the Life of a Missionary - Mexico

Photo credit: Pensiero / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

I thought it might be interesting to for you to see what a day in the life of a missionary looks like—well 3⁄4 at least a day in my life.

We live in Tepic, which is our state’s capital city of about 400,000 people. Situated in an agricultural area that produces and abundance of: sugar cane, tobacco, mangos, avocados, bananas, coconuts and from the nearby coast fish and shrimp.

While we do have a car, I have gotten into the habit of taking walk-abouts. Walking is quite different from driving, where you are so focused on getting somewhere that you drive right on by a lot of life.

Today is Friday and Sol drops me off at the gym on her way to run some errands. I’ve been coming here for a couple of months now, ever since I blew out my knee playing tennis. At my age, I’ve got to do something to try and keep my heart pumping and blood circulating.

I miss tennis, but I’ve made some new and younger friends at the gym. There’s Roberto, Saul and Luz who are trainers and dozens more who like me have come for the torture of Cardio and weight training. It’s easy to make friends when you already have something in common3⁄4the love of torture.

It has been said that the sweetest sound to anyone’s ear is the sound of one’s own name. Dale Carnegie in his book, “How to win friends and influence people,” says that the fundamental act of calling other people by their name puts you solidly on course to establish a sincere relationship with that person. I took this saying to heart years ago and have since made it my business to learn and remember people’s names.

Still in my gym togs I stroll over to Intenzo (coffee shop) where I meet with Francisco weekly for a little one-on-one discipleship. On the way I pass Angela, an older beggar lady who I often joke around with, she is a regular outside the local supermarket. She doesn’t actually beg, but simply sits on a low wall with her walker alongside and a small plastic cup on her lap. As I draw near she recognizes me and give me a precious toothless smile.

I reach the coffee shop ahead of Francisco, which gives me a few minutes to pray about our meeting. I order my usual a double machiato decaf while I wait. Francisco was born in Colombia, abandoned as an infant, adopted by an American family and he is now volunteering here with a local orphanage. He struggles with the culture and doesn’t understand his wife (Mexican). We take his issues and find the Biblical principles that apply. If you ask him, he’ll say, “It’s working.”

After leaving the café I round the corner and pass a few minutes with another friend. Arnulfo lost his right leg to diabetes and unable to find any other work he opened up a clandestine shoeshine stand right on the side walk. Already a saved man, he was in a great mood today, after a two-year wait at the government hospital, he was finally being fitted for prosthesis. Arnulfo likes to read and I need to remember to stay ahead of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and bring him some books.

I’m headed towards home now and run into Iris along the way. She is a young girl who works in a local video store. We greet each other and I comment to her how much walking differs from driving in the way you actually get to talk with people.

In the next block my friend Hugo has a torta stand. A torta is a French roll filled with deep fried pork parts and drenched in a spicy dressing. Hugo was saved out of a life of drugs and alcohol a few years back, but hasn’t been to church in half a year. We meet on Wednesdays and talk mostly about marriage and family. I recently provided him with some coloring pages to use as he has started to read Bible stories to his two small children. His wife really likes that!

Across the street is the fruit stand of my friend Juan. Not surprisingly, he also has marriage problems. Juan could use some special prayer. The other day He was leaking some serious tears as he was telling me about his eight-year-old son from a previous marriage; how after 4 years together, his new wife, won’t or can’t, treat the boy as her son. Juan keeps making appointments to meet with me in private, but then calls at the last minute and cancels. It takes a lot of courage to allow your self to be truly known, especially for us guys.

It’s about a half-mile home from here and I take advantage of this time to reflect on this- mornings-events and send a few prayers heavenward as I chug up the last hill to the house. I have the usual office stuff to catch up on, emails to answer, newsletters to write, two websites to work on and a book I’ve been laboring on for a couple of years. It seems like no sooner do I get a few chapters written when I get a newer revelation from God and must start all over again.

Soon it’s 3:00 and time to pick up Paloma from school. As we arrive home, Sol has our main meal of the day waiting. After eating we slow down for a while which often provides a good time for the three of us to sit and read the Bible together.

Many people in Mexico work until 8:00 PM. This makes getting together on work day evenings (6 days) difficult but Hugo is off early and he is bringing his 8 year old son Yuban over tonight. We’re going to mess around in a wild area next to our house. I’m thinking small fire and roasted marshmallows might work well.

Of course all my days are not a full as today, but I miss it a lot when they aren’t.

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