My Time in Mexico City
I moved to Mexico City in May of 1989, right after my 19th birthday. I’ll never forget it. It was a dream come true. I had dreamed of being a missionary since I was 15 years old and the time had finally come. I had spent 9 months studying morning, noon, and night in preparation for this moment. I had already visited Mexico City on one other occasion, but it was with an entire class of students and teachers from Adventures In Missions. This time was very different.
I was so excited, yet nervous at the same time. It was going to be the first time for a lot of things. The first time I flew in an airplane. The first time in a foreign country by myself. The first time to really live on my own without a collegiate type structure around me. The first time to have to keep a budget, pay my own rent, but most importantly it was the first time I was going to be really living my dream; spending my life teaching people and sharing Jesus. I could hardly stand the excitement.
When I arrived, it hit me just how big the largest city in the world really was, 21 million people and they all seemed to be wherever I went, the airport, the taxi, the subway, even my house. I couldn’t get away from people, they were everywhere at all times. Having been raised in the country most of my life, I experienced culture shock from the time I landed and for several months afterwards. Then it began to grow on me and I became more comfortable in Mexico than I did in my own country.
Mexico City, officially known as México is the Federal District, capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of Mexico. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole. Mexico City is the country’s largest city as well as its most important political, cultural, educational and financial center. As an “alpha” global city Mexico City is one of the most important financial centers in North America. It is located in the Valle de México, a large valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 7,350 ft. The city consists of sixteen boroughs. The Greater Mexico City has a gross domestic product of US$411 billion, making Mexico City urban agglomeration one of the richest metropolitan areas in the world. The city was responsible for generating 21% of Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product and the metropolitan area accounted for 34% of total national GDP. As a stand-alone country, in 2013, Mexico City would be the fifth-largest economy in Latin America—five times as large as Costa Rica’s and about the same size as Peru’s. The city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán, and as of 1585 it was officially known as Ciudad de México. Mexico City served as the political, administrative and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the Federal District was created in 1824. – via wikipedia
During my time in this monster of a city, I spent most of my time teaching the Bible to everyone; from kids to college students to adults. I never stopped studying the language, the culture, the way of life. In many respects, the way of life is more in alignment with my core beliefs than my own country. Because the culture places more priority on people and family then they do on business and finances.
I also played American Football for the Mexico City Condores which was considered their professional level of the sport, however it was more like a Division I college football to those of us in the USA. This was quite an experience for me as some of our games had more fans than most NFL games. We played in the Olympic Stadium which held 120,000 fans and on almost every game day it was full. This was a lot of fun for me having played football my whole life and having a dream of playing pro ball as a child, however it was a lot of work too. I was injured at the beginning of the second season and still live with pain from the injury to this day, over 20 years later.
The most precious memories were not that of the bright lights, tall buildings or football games, but rather the time I spent with individuals studying God’s word. Those that gave their life to Christ were the greatest reward. Many of them went on to the same school that I attended and have become missionaries or ministers themselves. The time we spent in villages throughout the country or traveling through dangerous areas still stick in my memory today like it was just yesterday. I was scared to death, but God caused my faith to grow in ways I can’t express.
Some of my most favorite places are Puebla, Arcelia, Veracruz, Campeche, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and the great city itself. I went to Mexico City to teach others about God, but it was me that was being taught the most – taught about people, philosophy, theology, and Jesus. This was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and I contribute all the success in life that God has blessed me with as a result of the lessons learned while living in Mexico City.
My mentors Jay Jarboe, Bernard Krogsgaard, Billy Moore, Mickey Rutland, Juan Pablo Yalaupari and their wives were the closest family I’ve ever had even considering my own blood. I don’t consider that a bad thing, as my family is very close, but this family was different. We spent time everyday together talking and praying about the real things in life. We were challenged by the language, the culture, the food, the politics, just about everything you can imagine and then some. My time in Mexico City in one of the cornerstones of my life and has made me who I am today.
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