By Butch Murphy, Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinator to Mexico
Our most recent mission to Mexico in June allowed us to once again spend time with Madre Ines, who is in her nineties and runs the orphanage. Her health continues to improve. She told us “I am in no rush to die, but I am in no rush to live. Now, I only want the will of God.” Mother’s appearance seems to be changing. Her forearms are very thin, but her face is different. Many of her wrinkles are gone, and there seems to be a slight glow emanating from her face. She is radiant . . . literally. There is some beautiful light on her face that defies description. I am not speaking symbolically here—her face is literally glowing with a soft, but beautiful, light.
Many team members got sick this week with digestive issues, fever, chills, and dizziness. Two were so bad, I counseled them to stay home the first day in dump. Both agreed, but openly wept at thought of staying behind.
On our first day at the dump, Jose Guadeloupe met us at the gates. I walked with him to our setup site. I asked if the recent rains were going to make it difficult to work at our location.
He gently smiled, “No there will not be a problem.”
“Is the mud going to be bad in the clinic?” I pressed.
He was now openly grinning, as we turned the corner to our location. He said, “It won’t be a problem, my father. We’ve made a few changes.”
I stopped in my tracks in disbelief. Since my last visit in April, several improvements have been made at our work location: A well-manicured soccer field has been added. An actual structure has been built on to the side of a chapel, and a cement block floor was added, specifically to be used as our clinic.
“We built this just for you,” Jose Guadeloupe smiled, waving his hand toward the building, “because you come just for us.”
In addition, a swing set has been set up (with no actual swings as of yet), and plants and trees are being raised in buckets for planting in the near future.
They brought a man over, and they introduced him as the “architect” of the new facility. He shook my hand, then excused himself to change into a soccer team uniform. They had been waiting for our arrival to inaugurate the first soccer game on the new field! After Mass, Fr. Paul walked around the field, sprinkling players and facility with holy water. It was well received by all!
I recalled the words of Pope St. John Paul II, echoed by Pope Benedict, calling for a culture of Pentecost. That is what is suddenly evident in the dump—a new culture! Something is different. We are moving beyond survival into something else.
We had Mass each day in the dump. Clothing was distributed in a much more orderly and peaceful way. Our team, though small, worked heroically, and somewhere around 150 people were served by the clinic in those three days.
On Sunday, I reconnected with a man who had needed a prosthetic leg. He is seventy-four years old; works at Estadio Azteca, the large soccer stadium in Mexico City; and uses public transportation to get there. We were able to provide him with the prosthesis through the generous donation of individuals who had met him on a previous Renewal Ministries’ mission. He was moved to tears by their generosity. He says they will always be in his prayers. He looks somber in the photo, because he was trying hard not to cry!
Monday, we went to Holy Trinity parish in Zumpango with Fr. Manuel. Our medical team performed heroically, working non-stop for over three hours to see over sixty patients. While we were there, a strange sign in the sky appeared. It was a rainbow-like circle around the sun. The sun seemed to be like the pupil of an eye. Padre Manuel said God was watching us and was happy we were there.
As I entered US Passport Control on the way home, the agent asked me where I was coming from:
“I was in Mexico, visiting family and friends,” I said, without much thought.
“Where do they live?” The agent inquired.
“In the garbage dump in Mexico City.” He looked at me at me and said, “What are they doing there?”
“It’s where they work and live.” It was the only answer I could come up with.
The agent rolled his eyes and handed me back my passport.
That’s really what this mission has come down to: sharing the experience of the Kingdom with one another, for the glory of the Father and the good of all people. This is not about “works,” but about relationships with God and His children.
Thank you very much for your generosity and support!