Location: Mission RV, El Paso TX (www.missionrvparklp.com) very friendly and accommodating RV park that includes and RV repair shop. Mexico for the afternoon.
The day is winding down. The kids just came in from a swim and they instantly became glued to the TV showing of Princess Diaries II… in Spanish. It’s the first time the TV has been on all trip so whatever is on they’ll watch J.
At dinner one of the kids exclaimed that it seemed like several days have passed since we woke up. It began really early for C and I as we were awoke as the wind was attempting to detach our awning from the camper. After we gained our senses we were out in the chilly night air trying to remember how to reign it back in!
Excited to be in a place where we could attend worship, we search out a PCA church and found Christ the King Presbyterian Church (www.ctkpca.org). Reverend Charles Isaac preached on Hebrews 10:1-25 exhorting us not to chase the shadows (our good works) but to pursue and take refuge in the reality (Christ’s work): But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified… then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Hebrews 10:12-14, 17-18 Such a simple concept, but so hard to grasp! The church family was so friendly and we ended up staying around talking for a long time. We had three families talking about joining us on this journey!
When I told several people from the area that we were going into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for the afternoon, there was concern. One woman told me that the military families are told not to go there. She then said, “Pray for protection. I am sure you will be alright.” Hmmm…. Our tour was booked at the RV Park and we were escorted by two bilingual native guides. We thought for sure they wouldn’t do the tours (esp. for our young children) if it wasn’t safe so over the border we went. The first hour we drove around the city learning about the different areas. I was amazed at the small Rio Grande. I was expecting the river to be, well, Grande. We were told that the river is mostly used for irrigation so it is very small and even dried up in some areas. In the 60’s it was moved into the USA and the land between the old and new rivers was given to Mexico for use as a National Park. Locals gather to play sports where the old river once ran. We saw many families out celebrating Mother’s Day in the park. My tour guide had a real heart for the people in Juarez. He explained their minimum wage is .85/hour and frequently made reference to how that affects the lives of those in the city.
After our tour of the city we were escorted into a courtyard area of a leather factory to begin the several hours of shopping and bartering. The kids enjoyed trying on boots and hats looking like charros (Mexican cowboys). The shop owners encouraged us to take pictures all the while taking every opportunity to explain their wares and encourage us to spend mucho dinero. After purchasing a few leather goods we moved onto a marketplace of over a hundred shops each one containing a shop owner that would follow closely expressing the need for us to buy…. A bracelet for the girl? You like my rug? I sell you 2 guitars for $8. I put name on it for free. You can take pictures. You want to take picture of the Tshirt, No more stinky tacos? That is free… C put his bargaining skills to work and enjoyed the process of helping J buy a belt buckle. The whole experience was quite entertaining and fun. To top it off we made it back to the USA safely.
El Paso has been a fun stop. We found once again grocery stores with fresh produce, did 15 loads of laundry, were encouraged in our pursuit of our holy God and gained more insight into another culture - a memorable Mother’s Day weekend.
***Picture: You need a magnetic bracelet? It can be a necklace....