Sunday, August 23, 2009

Losing My Religion?

Let it not be said that I have experienced a crisis of faith. On the contrary, my faith in God has been strengthened by my sojourn in Mexico. Every day that I travel around this little village, every time I have traveled outside of Ajijic, and every moment I interact with the people of Mexico and those from the United States, Canada, and Europe my life is enriched with the blessings of God. The beauty and grandeur of Lake Chapala and the mountains that surround it is beyond mere words. You must experience the sights for yourself to truly appreciate what God has created here. My breath is taken away and my heart is stopped each and every time I look up into the mountain and see the beauty and the subtle changes in that beauty as the months pass and the seasons change. Right now the rain clouds hang low over the peaks of those mountains sometimes obscuring them from view. The rains bring much needed water that fuels the explosion of vegetation now and throughout the year. The colors and variety of plant life are incredible.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Psalms 121, Verses 1 & 2 (KJV)

Beyond Ajijic lies the remnants of an ancient civilizations that once occupied this region of Mexico. Rare round pyramids overlook a valley and the once active Tequila volcano that is surrounded by huge agave plantations. There, the ancients constructed a center of worship that clearly allowed supplicants to acknowledge the glory of creation. To get there from here you may travel past massive fields of raspberries and through the great Primavera Forest which when in bloom is a another natural wonder in itself. Just over the mountains lies the city of Guadalajara where the modern meets the historic. You could spend days and weeks exploring museums, churches, and the many plazas where the lives of the people are centered. And, also not so very far away, are the forests where the Monarch Butterfly spends its winters before returning to summer homes in Michigan and other parts north.

The diversity of people and cultures makes this patch of paradise a prime example of how mankind was meant to get along with one another. The Mexican people are kind and gracious. Most of the foreigners that choose this place to dwell are themselves tolerant and generous. We expatriates all seem to get along with the local people and one another fairly well. Many of us give back to the community through commerce and charity. It seems that everyone we know has a charitable project that they support. Ranging from school supplies and tuition for our poorer hosts to the rescue of the least of God's creatures, the opportunities to serve are numerous.

I hear God's call to continue to serve, to continue to be an example, and to continue to strive towards a more perfect relationship with Him. I may be far from the fellowship of the Community of Christ and somewhat inactive in performing the duties assigned to me as a minister, but I am living in a community where God's Hand is evident, His Blessings are numerous, and His Creation shouts out His praises.

Ajijic, the place were the waters run, is my home, now. The people here are my people. I live in paradise and I thank the Lord for each new day.

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