Fifteen years ago you could have asked me what I think about La Paz, Mexico, and I would have said, "I love La Paz." I loved the diving. I loved the fishing. I loved working here in the beautiful Sea of Cortez. I loved the people I got to work with in the research labs here. I loved fish tacos for breakfast and carne asada tacos for dinner. I loved when Garricyn and I got to live here. We loved our little house. We loved La Fuente (for ice cream) and walks on El Malecon (the waterfront). We loved Balandra, one of the most amazing beaches in the world.
I still love all those things, and it has been a joy to revisit some of these places and to introduce a whole new group of people to the place, people and peces that I love. I am leading a group of 17 people - 7 from Bayside Church in Nor Cal, 8 from Worldwide Christian Scuba Divers (WCSDO) in So Cal, 1 from Florida (Jim Mustoe, the founder of WCSDO) and 1 WCSDO member from NY. It has been a joy to connect with people who love diving and love Jesus, and to share some of what I love. But even better is leading them to the purpose of loving La Paz. I mean really loving the PEOPLE of La Paz.
After two days of great diving, we began our ministry today by visiting two neighborhoods in the city with great need. In all my years here, I never visited these places. Today one group did an outreach with Destino Cristiano Church by handing out reading and sunglasses. I led a group into a community that has no consistent source of water or power. This is dry desert, and there are no wells. The only water they have is trucked in by the government, but today we met with people who did not have large enough containers when the water came, so they always run out. And the government trucks are notoriously late at coming back. We talked with them, prayed with them, handed out Bibles, and left them with a week's worth of groceries. Having spent time with these families has left me with a new understanding of what it means to love La Paz.