Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Elephant in the Room

I always say it is better to identify the elephant in the room, and talk about it, as opposed to denying its existence.  So, today's post is about the 'elephant'.  What exactly happened in Guadalajara on May 1st? I may not be able to tell you with certainty; rumours abound.  But let's go back to the beginning.

We began the day to the sound of sirens.  On going sirens.  Shortly after that our phones began to buzz with cautions from our friends and church people.  There were blockades throughout the city; actually the whole state.  We were cautioned to be careful.  Then the local Canadian Embassy, where we are registered, emailed to encourage us to stay at home.

Ernie watched the news so he could SEE what was up.  There were pictures of busses on fire, random vehicles in flames, some businesses (mostly banks and gas stations) were also burning.  There was news of a military helicopter being shot down.  The vandalism, and burning of vehicles, were attributed to the 'Narco's' (drug cartels).

news link with writeup and pictures:

http://blog.chron.com/lavoz/2015/05/cartel-wreaks-havoc-in-guadalajara/#32647101=0

http://www.informador.com.mx/multimedia/fotogaleria/29825/

Okay, so now you have the news update.  The elephant in the room is not the situation per se.  The elephant is 'are we safe'?  I know that Mexico gets real bad press from the USA and I imagine Canada doesn't paint it as a safe place to visit either.  Not once in the day did I feel fear or panic.  Not once in the day did I feel unsafe. However, I did listen to my embassy and we stayed at home.  We are aware of the situation. We are aware that there is a 'Narco' (drug cartel) presence, but we are not paranoid. We do not deny their existence, we use precaution, we listen to our embassy, we do not live in fear.

Mexican's do not live in fear either.  As a matter of fact they use humor to deal with the situation.  It amazed me how fast they went from warning each other of the situation, and encouraging one another to use caution, to sending jokes about it.  One thing Mexican's do is find humor in bad situations.
I am going to the OXXO (like our 7-11)... you need anything?
After the inicial scare, the above joke, and others like it, were sent through social media.  I could hardly get my head around it. The jokes were on going.   

So, do you wonder if we are safe? No matter where you live (even Winnipeg) you do need to take common sense precautions. Do we live in fear? No. Are there bad things happening? Yes. We need to be wise in how we live and trust that God will keep us in His care (actually, things were much more tense and militarised in Nicaragua during our time there). Either God is Sovereign or He's not. We covet your prayers, not only for us, but for this country. Finally, let me just say that God has not called us to 'safety'. He has called us, each of us, to live faithfully as his ambassadors. Although some 'assignments' might look more dangerous than others, we are all just 'foot soldiers' (sorry about the military analogy... I am an Anabaptist!) in God's kingdom, and we need to echo Paul's mantra "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." 

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