My life through Colonia eyes…
Last night I returned from a trip across the border to a Colonia in Reynosa, Mexico. Although I am sure there is absolutely ZERO chance I could ever communicate everything I want to, I’m at least going to try a bit… because as the minutes pass by, I keep having the faces and sights of that place flash through my mind.
Reynosa. This city has areas that would remind you of an American suburb. Large houses, grassy yards, nice cars. This is not where we were. There is also an area with a more “middle class” feel. Middle class, Mexico-style. The houses and streets are what you would expect to see in some of the poorer areas of large cities in America. This is where our hotel was, but it was not where we ministered. The colonia is over the levee that prevents the Rio Grande from flooding the city. It is between the levee and the river, and it is by far the most poverty-stricken place I have ever seen in person. Trash everywhere, tiny (mainly) one-room homes with dirt yards.
As we traveled around the 2nd day we were there, looking for the kids that some of us are sponsoring to go to school, I heard multiple times the phrase “we are content”.
They are content.
With the filth, the outhouses, the lack of privacy, the uncertainty of income for many.
Last night, as I pulled up to my 2-story brick home, I saw a 6X12 house in my mind.
I have taken 2 showers since being home, both in ONE of my THREE bathrooms. I kept seeing the face of Nancy who was so proud of her beautiful home, and that it had a separate area (outdoors) for showering and toilet.
I took my garbage bag full of dirty laundry to the wash room this morning. I kept seeing a boy carrying a garbage bag just as full of donated clothes; it was enough for FOUR people.
I put up a baby gate to prevent Brady from being places in the house he shouldn’t be. I saw children playing freely in the dirt streets, eager for a hug, a smile, a lollipop!
I opened my “tiny” pantry to make my coffee. I saw bags of rice, beans, and flour sitting on a rough wooden shelf.
I went upstairs to get my boys out of their room. I saw a family of 5 (same size as mine!) who all share the same one-room tiny house.
And, it’s only 7:25 AM.
Why do I say all of this? It’s certainly not to make anyone feel bad or guilty. I hope that it might inspire thought.
What we have is nice, and I’m not feeling any conviction to see my possessions and give all my money to the colonia. In truth, it wouldn’t make much of a dent. However, I do feel the conviction to keep loving the people.
I feel like just as my eyes were eventually blinded to the physical poverty of the colonia, my eyes need to be open to the spiritual poverty of those around me.
We have it all, we suburban Americans; or at least we think we do. Houses, boats, cars, nice clothing… but what is all of that worth without Jesus?
That is my take away from my short time in Reynosa… and what I hope will become my life-long mindset.
I will go back. How could I not?