I bought some very expensive silver jewelry in Tijuana. And I got a good price! Now before you start laughing I need to tell you the whole story. I wasn't a soft touch. I actually managed to get away from a half dozen different con artists, I mean salesmen before I gave in to their relentless pursuit of every last cent I had in my wallet.
Just after we crossed the border we were hustled inside a shop where a smiling man promised us we could find things for 100% off. Now that is a gimic if I ever heard one. Doesn't 100% off mean it is free? Not in Mexico I guess. It was here where I did my first dance with the locals. While one of my friends (June) from the mission team was buying two beautiful necklaces for $30 (retail in the United States $175 or more we were told!), my man told me he would give me two for $20 because I looked like a nice guy. He guessed that I had "ladies" at home and when I flinched, he seized the opportunity to try to guilt me into buying these nice gifts for my girls.
Mark threw out the lasso and rescued me. He literally walked me out of the store while the man was still working me. I had come close but I was spared for the moment. Two more times I came close to slipping under the pressure to the street venders who carried the silver chains on their arms like the watch vendors in New York city. "Hey mister!" they cried. "Have I got a deal for you."
We made it over to the heart of the city and it was here where the street merchants came in waves and they were as full of energy as a fresh line on a hockey team. One after another they pursued us. We managed to take refuge in a shop only to find a family trying to sell us ponchos and cheap trinkets. I couldn't take it and I went back out on the streets alone. I can't believe no one followed me to protect me. My friends knew that there was strength in a group.
So I stood there like a tomato ripe for picking and three of them ganged up on me. One after another they came at me offering me more and more and each time I dodged the bullet another one came in for a try. I thought I was doing well until someone mentioned birthday and I flinched. We were planning a birthday party for my daughter this weekend and I still hadn't bought her a gift. Like sharks who catch the sent of blood, Pedro came in and started selling fast and furious.
Not four, not five but six necklaces and a bangle bracelet and a silver bracelet and onyx bracelet were mine if only I could find a $20 bill in my pocket. I looked for Mark, I looked for June or young Mark. Where was Lisa? Before I knew what I was doing I had the twenty in my hand and I could hear the sound of an imaginary cash register going ca-ching. They had their prize and I was a poster buy for the cause.
After that sale I realized that I was immune to them for the rest of the night. I was free to roam the streets of Tijuana without fear.
The whole adventure reminded me of our calling to share the good news with our friends and family. We give up too easily. I would never advocate being a pain in the neck, but I think we ought to be a little more persistent in telling others what God has done for us. We should be a little more open in telling how our faith gives us strength. We need to wear our love of Christ on our sleeves and share it with those who are discouraged and feeling alone in the world. You see, God doesn't give up on us so we should not give up on those we know and love. It is important enough that we need to keep trying to share God with those around us.
I'm not telling you to stuff it down their throats. I'm just suggesting you and I look for natural opportunities to talk about Jesus and our faith. The truth is the more we do it, the more likely someone will come up to us and ask us about it. That is how God works. He sends them to us with what they need and we have it for them.
So don't give up. Keep living the life and sharing your faith and God will use you to bring joy to someone's heart.
PS If you want to see the last set of photos from our Mission trip, go to www.firstbaptistlife.blogspot.com. You will even see a picture of the man who sold me my $20 jewelry collection if you look hard enough.