Ten years ago, if someone had told me that I would be living in the middle of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, I would have laughed sarcastically in their face and told them what a ridiculous idea that was. But God is the one who usually laughs at our plans for our lives and says, ‘No, this is the way we’re going to do it.” And lo and behold, our Heavenly Father is the one who led my husband and me to desert life in Mexico, and now I’m the one who’s laughing in pure joy!
Nine years ago, I retired from teaching English at a large high school in Great Falls, Montana, and two years after that, my husband, David, retired after 33 years as a mailman with the Post Office. We knew that we wanted to get out of Montana after living there most of our lives and to get away from the snow and cold and the vicious winters that we had survived there for many years. One of our friends from church told us about some land they had in a little town called San Felipe on the Baja Peninsula and said that if we ever wanted to go down there, we could stay on their place. I got to looking on the internet, found a real estate agent who handled places in the tiny town, and we began to contemplate possibly traveling to Mexico just to see what it was like…and maybe do the ‘snowbird’ thing for awhile.
The real estate lady I talked with said that San Felipe was too small of a town and there wasn’t very much to do there, and we should instead go to a town across the Sea of Cortez called Puerto Peñasco. She said to just come down and try it out for six months. She would find us a decent place to live, and we could lay on the beach and drink margaritas and relax. It sounded quite intriguing to me, and immediately God started working on me.
Two months later, we packed what we thought we would need for six months into our 1998 Cadillac Deville (which of course, included a satellite and a receiver so David could enjoy his Direct TV!), strapped my pink bike on the front bumper, and we set off for our adventure in Mexico. I had no idea what we were getting into, but God did.
We pulled into town to meet the real estate lady, and immediately I had this overwhelming feeling like I was coming home. That feeling had only happened
one other time in my life, and I thought it was so strange that it had happened again in this town because as we drove into Peñasco, I remember thinking how dirty the place was with trash and garbage all over and half built homes and buildings and soooooooo many dogs running around everywhere. It was actually quite a filthy town, I thought. There was really nothing appealing to a tourist coming into this town! So when I had that feeling like I was coming home, I couldn’t believe it, and I was wondering exactly what was going on.
But God, in His amazing wisdom and His timing for EVERYTHING in our lives, knew exactly what He was doing by bringing David and me to Mexico. That very first Sunday we were there, we went to one of the two English-speaking churches in town, and it was the next week-end that God has us involved in serving food at a Saturday mission site in the barrios. And that was just the beginning…
Today David and I are the directors of the Peñasco Christian Fellowship Mission Center one mile north of the city. We host church groups from all over who come down to do service work and ministry in the area, and God has us serving many different people. But I always think back to ten years ago, and if someone would have said, “Hey, Cheryll, you’re going to be the director of a mission center in the middle of Mexico,” I would have cracked up laughing in their face! God does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?