The Challenge of Mexico City

by Jim on 5 October 2008

On Friday night I went to Texcoco (east of Mexico City, toward the north) to meet with some of the CAM International missionaries from the Mexico City area.  We were there to see the mission director and his wife (Dan and Sue Wicher, who were served for years in Mexico City themselves), and two of the CAM board members; Jon Campbell (his wife is Wanda but she wasn’t there) and Walter and Dottie Baker.

One thing that was interesting was that everyone was sharing about the joys and challenges of working in Mexico City.

Many of the joys we talked about are what you might expect anywhere – watching Jesus "invade a family", for example (as Rod Fry said during his presentation).  But I thought you might be interested to hear about some of the challenges we talked about.

The challenge of Mexico City
  • Traffic.  Just getting from one place to another.  People may look at Mexico City and wonder why it’s so hard for us to get together with believers from other areas.  But when people are an hour or two late for meetings like this one (even people with board members in their car), they are reminded.  It’s not easy to get around in Mexico City.  You plan for it, but it’s drastically unpredictable.  When Mayra Fry came to pick me up Friday, she was stopped by the police.  When Rod and I left from his house and headed to Texcoco, we were stopped by the police (not because any of us did anything wrong, by the way.  No one got a ticket.).  And we were among the first to arrive.  There are accidents, construction, delays of all kinds.
  • Fear.  One missionary mentioned just the challenge of safety in the big city.  Every missionary does need to take precautions and be aware.
  • Discipleship.  I was trying to carry on with my one-word summaries – maybe that’s not the best word.  But one missionary shared what they’d heard from a Mexican believer.  The Mexican pointed out that so many of the Mexican believers are first generation Christians.  That means there is an incredible lack of role models.  They’ve never seen a functioning Christian marriage, or how to parent as a believer, or what Christ-like leadership looks like.  It’s exciting when your church is almost all new disciples – but it calls for a different kind of discipleship.
  • Commitment.  Someone else pointed out (and I’ve heard this a lot) the challenge of a lack of commitment.  Now, a disclaimer here – there are many very committed people here – Mexican and non-Mexican.  But when you’re on the front lines of disciple-making this is always a challenge, no matter where you are.

This reminds me of the great summary of challenges that Dennis Poulette shared in his post If you can minister in Mexico City…  He listed space, transportation and time.  That was in the context of youth ministry, but I think those three things fit everywhere.

If you work in Mexico City, I would love to hear what you would add to the list.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken October 5, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Appreciate the insightful and helpful post. I need to be reminded of these things often – and I live here.


Eric October 6, 2008 at 1:40 am

Very interesting, thanks for sharing about that. I’m thankful that our traffic issues here are not near as unpredictable as where you are!

Jim October 6, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Thanks Ken!

Yes, traffic can be interesting. Actually, the most recent blog post I read from someone in Mexico City mentioned the same thing – traffic.

I didn’t drive today, so no problem!

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