The roads in Mexico are good. At least in the region we traveled daily. (They were much better than Alabama’s roads.) Everyday, we drove 50 or so miles into the jungle town of Chemox from Tulum, which is located on the gorgeous coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. We had two drivers who carted us in our air-conditioned and therefore, beloved, vans everywhere that we went. The drivers were the joy of my trip.
The gentleman who owed the vans and drove us was named Luis. He heard about us coming, and as a new Christian wanted to help. He drove us at his cost for a week…but that is not all. This sweet, sweet man, barrel chested and strong as a bull, even at fifty, stayed with us on site and worked (circles around us) everyday, in his uniform – dress shirts and pants, dress shoes. We looked like barely covered ragamuffins.
Luis, our quiet comrade and when necessary, advocate and defender, became a symbol to us. I watched him playfully tease and keep Trent, Carlos to him, from sinking under into anger or despair. I watched him keep our boys, men, strong and able and honorable to their word. I watched his green eyes tear as he watched them, boys who paid out most of their money to be there, in that furnace, to just hold and help his people a little. And I watched him come to love us like his own.
He asked us to go to his church and pray for them. We gladly did so. It was humble but beautiful. His pastor, who also came and sweated a day or two with us in Chemox, high on a makeshift ladder, doing the more skilled work, prayed for us in turn. After we prayed, Luis cried openly…telling everyone how we were his family now.
As we stood, wobbly, on the Cancun airport sidewalk, suitcases which Luis unloaded for us, in our hands, he stood quietly before us. I started crying and threw my arms around the neck of our 5’4″ bear shaped hero. I told him I loved him and that God had used him to redeem our trip. Trent came round to tell him goodbye, laid his longer body about him and cried,thanking him for holding us all up.
And wasn’t that what we went for? Not so much to bring the better to Mexico or our Mayan brothers…but to share it with them.