SALSA PICANTE: The Hot News Mix of EduVenture Mexico
Fall Semester 2004: Oct. 24 Report
By Tim Trezise
(Editor’s note: Climbing For Christ member Tim Trezise and his family – wife Kathy and children Caleb and Joy – are on a full-time mission, leading the EduVenture in Rancho Huapoca, Mexico. EduVenture is described as being “for college students with a passion for God and the outdoors – combining education and adventure with simple living and community development.” What follows is Tim’s report.)
This issue mostly contains descriptions of our mid-semester road trip: we first visited a medical clinic, then did a little shopping in Creel and had our truck repaired, continued on to a national park, then finished with time in the city of Chihuahua. However, I would like to share what we experienced in Mesa Blanca, a super remote Pima Indian village.
We drove out to assist Ricardo and Marina with their ministry with these people and learn about their culture. After visiting with some of the families and hearing their stories, the students helped with a bible lesson and also taught some songs to the children of the town. It is exciting to see relationships growing and more of the Pima embracing the truth of Jesus just in the last six months. We almost took up residency in Mesa Blanca due to the inability of Ricardo’s truck (four-wheel drive was not engaging) to climb out of the canyon on the gnarly, dirt resemblance of a road. We struggled for two hours in the pitch dark spinning, sputtering, slipping, and sliding in a steep section full of loose rock. It was actually a fun little adventure for us all as the ladies had their own praise and worship service on the side of the road while the guys tried about every trick in the book. After praying a lot, filling in the "road" with rocks, letting air out of the tires for better traction and loading the back of his truck with students bouncing up and down, the Ford beast dug its claws in and crawled up the mountain spitting out rocks like tobacco. Three more hours on washboard dirt roads and we dragged our tails into our campus on the ranch thankful once again to God for all we had learned.
Mexico Medical Missions
The following is a journal entry from Sara Kleindienst:
The evening was getting extremely cold as dew was already forming on our packs stacked neatly on the top of Chunk, our faithful suburban. Having to spend another night outside was not too high on our lists, due to waking up that morning to ice crusted on our bags. As we walked into a hospital in the middle of the Sierra Madres, where the Tarahumara Indians call their home, it was like stepping into a hospital in the States. I was in awe as to the cleanliness of the facility and how well a hospital could operate in an area where running water and electricity are rare. A few minutes after our arrival a tall American man walked through the door. This was Dr. Mike Berkely, the founder and operator of the hospital. He took us on a tour of the hospital and it was a brief shock to me to see X-Ray’s and Labs in the middle of one of the most rural settings we had been in yet.
In one of the rooms was a young man playing a game with three Tarahumara children. Dr. Berkeley introduced us to him. His name was Jonathan and he was a Mennonite missionary from Tennessee. However, he wasn’t your typical missionary. He would load up his backpack Monday morning and head out into the hills for the week going from house to house visiting with the Tarahumara and administering any medical attention they were in need of. The Tarahumara do not live in villages, but are instead, spread out in the mountains so it takes quite a bit of time and energy to accomplish what Jonathan does. Jonathan was what you would call a missionary that "went native." Tarahumara’s footwear consists of slabs of tire, cut to the size of their foot, and a single string of leather – and they run through the mountains with these innovative footwear.
After our tour, Dr. Berkeley turned to us and said, "We are just breaking a fast and there is a ton of food over at the house. Why don’t you all come on over for some dinner?" Well seeing as it was 8 pm and we were quite hungry, we agreed willingly. When we opened the door it felt like Christmas. None of us had ever met the Berkeleys and yet we were welcomed with open arms by Mike’s lovely wife Maci. I had never before seen a living example of how much the body of Christ is a family, how small the world is, and how important each part of that body is. Here we were witnessing first hand Jesus living among the Tarahumara Indians. The song by Casting Crowns entitled "If We are the Body," instantly came to mind:
"If we are the body, why aren’t his arms reaching? Why aren’t his hands healing? Why aren’t his words teaching? Why aren’t his feet going? Why is his love not showing? Jesus paid much to high a price for us to pick and choose who should come, and we are the body of Christ."
We are the body of Christ. Each and every one of us is unique and important. Can we all administer medical care? No. Are we all capable of packing up our few small belongings and going out into the mountains for a week at a time without a home to lay our head? Probably not. Is everyone able to live in a city and minister to the culture there? Once again, I don’t think so. Thankfully we can all help each other. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul talks about one body with many parts. "Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it" (v. 27). So if we are this amazing body with many parts, how come we don’t go? How come miracles aren’t being performed? How come there are still unreached people in the world? Seeing Jonathan and Dr. Berkely and the way they lived out this "going" was inexpressible. Jonathan was using the feet of Jesus to go and preach and teach and heal. Dr. Berkeley was using the hands of Jesus to heal and love. God does amazing things through those who walk in obedience to His word.
We traveled to Samachique to visit the Berkeleys for a community development field experience. One of the priorities of EduVenture is to teach students about missions and community development. The professional medical clinic established in the heart of the Sierra is a glowing example of a ministry that has holistically invested in the people and is bearing fruit in the Tarahumara community. Their long-term commitment to these hard-to-reach people is a great example of compassion and patience in building relationships. Please join us in supporting God’s work with the Tarahumara culture by praying for the ministry of Mexico Medical Missions, the Berkeleys and the rest of the medical staff. Check out their website at: www.mexicomedical.org.