A new aspect to our village ML trips this year is that we are going into Mexico on Sunday and returning on Thursdays in order to be able to go to church. We will be going to church on Sundays at our translator’s church. In our desire to make disciples and plant a church in ML, our leadership has decided we should work with and learn from local churches in the same region of northern Mexico instead of trying to do the work on our own. In this way, we hope that any new churches that are planted will be connected to more mature churches, resulting in greater fellowship and unity among the body of Christ.

Our first Sunday was the day after Mexico’s Independence Day. The church celebrated their nation’s independence together. During the service, the pastor led the congregation in a long, passionate prayer for the nation of Mexico. It was encouraging to hear his desire for his nation to be transformed to be a people who know and honor the LORD.

After the sermon, the church shared a meal together. Many delicious Mexican foods were shared. A couple of my favorites were the nopales (cactus) tacos and chicharron (pork rinds) with hot sauce   Everything was washed down with Coke, which is the word used for all soda, not only Coca Cola.

Many people wore traditional clothing from different states. A brightly colored dress of blue, red, green, and white from Chiapas stood in contrast to black and silver outfit from Jalisco. After the meal those who were dressed up went on stage one by one to show off their clothing.

The history of Mexico’s independence was told by one of the men. Another led the singing of the national anthem. Everyone sang with great gusto! Lastly, the girl who wore the neat black outfit from Jalisco sang a beautiful song.

Seeing the appreciation and pride in their heritage and culture as Mexicans caused me to reflect on our culture as Americans. As a kid, I may have dressed up as pilgrim on Thanksgiving. I also like to put on my cowboy stuff and go to a rodeo, but there is not a lot of traditional clothing that we as Americans value. I think one of the reasons for this is that the Mexican people tend to look more to the past than to the future. They highly value their history, their ancestry, and the past. On the other hand, we Americans are generally a future-oriented people. We are usually optimistic about what is ahead. We are taught that we can achieve almost anything if we just work for it. For example, Americans typically spend two thirds of their life preparing and saving for the last third of their life.

The fact that Mexican culture is different than American culture in orientation to time is an important observation for understanding them and the way they think.