Madness in Mexico

Sometime in the early nineties I went on a short-term missions trip to Mexico. Our team of youth and workers stayed on a base in Tecate and each day we drove about 40 minutes to get to the slums of El Florido where we built houses and did outreach with the children.

We raised money for the building materials while still in Vancouver and we had driven convoy style in two mini buses following the I5 highway through California. We stayed overnight in a church  in LA and arrived in Mexico the following day. We stayed at a beautiful and rustic place called the Rancho La Paloma (The Ranch) which provided hospitality and acted as a base for the ministry.  The best feature was the pool which was just filled with water while we were there.

The ministry into the El Florido slums was nothing short of life changing but the most amazing experience for me came at the Ranch on a day off from visiting the slums. On this particular day we had taken the youth to the markets in Rosarita. Despite repeated warnings not to buy fireworks which were sold in excess several youth bought some and snuck them back to the Ranch.  Later that afternoon during a rest period they lit them down near the boys dormitory. The conditions were ripe for a bushfire. Everything was dry and it was hot and windy – the place was a tinderbox. I was one of the first leaders to notice the fire that had started as a result of a spark that came from the fireworks. It was spreading quickly. We got a bucket brigade going down the hill from the main hall as there were no hoses. Just when I thought it was under control the fire jumped from the top of one tree over the road to another tree on the other side of the road. A dry grass field opened up on the other side of the road an accelerant for any fire. I honestly thought we are going to burn down Mexico. I was the only Aussie on the trip and knew full well the destructive and relentless nature of bushfires.

Without thought for life or limb and being far more athletic than I am now, I jumped the two barbwire fences on either side of the road to get into the field where the fire was now burning rapidly. The owner of the field, a Mexican farmer, came hurtling down the hill in his old pick up truck with a hose on board. I stood with his little hose in hand just ahead of the fire which was now burning steadily across the field getting more and more out of control. As the fire raced closer I became surrounded by smoke. Not knowing anymore which direction the fire was I started to hose a circle of water around my body. I was very scared and I thought this is it. I thought I was going to die. My life seemed to pass before my eyes and my last thought went something like this…’If I die in this field it will wreck the lives of these youth forever.’ At that, I looked up to heaven and yelled ‘GOD, HELPPPPP MEEEE’ At that exact moment a sharp strong wind came from behind me and within a few minutes the fire was completely out. The sudden change of wind had turned the fire back on itself.  With no fuel there was no more fire. When the smoke cleared I could see a black ominous ring of burnt grass around me. I had been surrounded by the fire without knowing it.  To this day I believe that God did a Miracle in Mexico.

Shortly after the fire was out the Tecate Fire Brigade arrived – four men on the back of a pick up truck with some hoses. That’s Mexico for ya!!

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxo

2 Comments to “Madness in Mexico”

  1. i totally remember that…plus the tacos at my namesakes stand…

    • I remember the taco’s aswell. The best I have ever had!! That trip changed me in so many ways! You were a brillant leader and I hope to see you soon. Catherine xo

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