I’m always enthralled to see the Lord’s Work where we least expect it, and this recently happened in a little town of Vicente Guerrero BC Norte. This small agricultural town is about 100 miles south of Ensenada BC which is a large city known as a stop over by cruise lines on their way south to places like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. The trip down was a bit long after starting in Shafter, CA, but without any long delays, even the border crossing in Tijuana went smoothly. Once we got to the Pacific Highway to travel south we were in Ensenada then proceeded to Vicente Guerrero. With a little traffic at the south end of Ensenada due to road construction, all we saw were coastal hills and valleys that were dotted with vineyards and berry fields (strawberry and blueberry). We arrived in Vicente Guerrero around 4 PM and settled into our hotel and a bit later had a wonderful meal at a nearby restaurant. We also called Pastor Octavio Valenzuela to let him know that we arrived and were looking forward to meeting him and his congregation the next morning.
After a good night’s sleep and a continental breakfast we were off to the church which was less than a mile away. We arrived a bit early, but Pastor Octavio greeted us and by 10 AM some of the congregation had arrived and we began Sunday School which was led by the pastor. At 11:10 we recessed to meet many of the congregation and more arrived for the 11:30 Worship service. The worship consisted of a greeting and then the pastor’s wife along with 2 men led us with praise songs, while the men played the drums and the guitar. Now we (in the RCUS) normally sing a few hymns scattered about the worship service, however they stand for almost an hour singing and only breaking for the offering, which you walk up and drop off in the front into a box and finish with more singing. Finally Rev. Valentín Alpuche gave us the sermon on Matthew 7 with a focus on false prophets. Pastor Octavio finished the worship with a blessing and thanked Pastor Valentín for bringing God’s Word. It was a special treat for him as he was able to sit with his wife and the congregation to hear the sermon.
The next hour we were welcomed to stay and enjoy the food the ladies of the church had prepared for the potluck, and you know me and homemade Mexican food, it was a treat! As the congregation finished up, one by one they came over to meet us, all the while many small children were seen playing and enjoying a wonderful time in the church building. After they had all said their goodbyes we spent the next hour or so with the pastor to ask more questions about his congregation and theological views on many subjects. Here I will leave more comments to Pastor Valentín’s follow-up letter. But as for me, while the two pastors continued discussions, I took his two boys back to the hotel, but we did a little detour. The day before when we arrived we drove around the city to find where the church was and while driving by I noticed
a familiar place of entertainment. A baseball stadium, yes the city’s favorite sport, they have a semi-pro baseball team called the Freseros (Strawberry Harvesters). The team was not playing this year because of money issues, however they have plans in place for next year. As a side note Pastor Octavio is the announcer for all home games. But wait there is more! The boys and I noticed that there was a game in progress at the old ball field. It seems a league of 13 to 15 year-olds were playing an afternoon game, so we went in to watch a few innings and we enjoyed it along with many parents in attendance to watch their sons play. That evening we again met up with Octavio to enjoy one more dinner before our return the next day. We had to find a place before 6:30 because the town closes up early on Sunday night, but in the Lord’s providence we found a wonderful place and the bacon wrapped pacific shrimp with a cream sauce made my night. To finish, Octavio prayed for a safe trip home and for the new friends that he met. One concern that the Pastor had from the beginning is that he feels all alone in this little corner of the Lord’s world, but after meeting and getting to know the brothers of the RCUS his connection with the church body got bigger.
Deacon Jose Fabila