I knew the Lord was encouraging me to make this trip to Oaxaca following a ABF party last December, where Kerry and Mauri Johnson were present. But it was very difficult to act on God’s plan to make this trip, because I was reallly struggling with trying to comprehend His purpose just a month following Carol’s (my wife) going to be with the Lord. Through much prayer, I knew I needed to make this trip to Oaxaca for some reason.
Our trip went well with much accomplished and relationships with many people established, despite the language barriers for some of us. The only seemingly disappointment was due to much rainfall the week prior to our arrival. The road to La Cumbre, a village in the mountains, was very hazardous due to mudslides, etc. from heavy rain. Therefore, we could not spend the two days that were anticipated with the Zapotec people. But the Lord and Kerry had an alternate plan.
We got to know Felipe, Kerry and Mauri’s right-hand man, and also Felipe’s close brother in the Lord, Oti. Both of these men presented their testimonies of how God has changed them into a new person in Christ, following years of disobedience and turning their backs on God’s plan for their lives. I am reminded of 2 Cor. 5:17, especially from hearing the testimonies of how Christ is using them now.
Oti now leads a rehab or restoration ministry called La Consecha, where approximately twenty plus young men are helped in their recovery from addiction, abuse and neglect, and are in need of shelter and food. Oti himself, previously was in this lifestyle before he came to know Christ and totally surrendered to Him. We heard Oti deliver a very heartfelt and passionate message on Sunday afternoon. There were people that lived in the nearby area and families in attendance, in addition to the residents of La Consecha.
I can’t remember all of the names of these men, but their faces and genuine smiles of friendship, thankfulness at our willingness to get to know them, as well as communicating the love of Christ will be remembered for years to come.
I came to know the reason for my being in Oaxaca early Sunday morning at breakfast. We met a young lady named Julietta, who is the daughter of the couple who own and manage the La Villada Inn where we stayed. Mike and Dianne had previously met her on an earlier trip and also her mom and dad. They talked with Julietta about her need for a personal relationship with Christ, in her life and trusting in Him. Through our conversation, I became aware that her father, Papa Chi had passed away last January. Before we had to leave for the day’s activities, I just hugged her and told her tearfully about my wife, and having a common understanding of what we were both experiencing. I expressed to her to start each day in prayer for God’s help in getting through the day, and pointed to scriptures that have meant so much to me, as I have sought the Lord through my time of healing. So over the course of no more than five minutes with this young lady, it became abundantly clear why God sent me to this place.
Written by Mike Raybon