Hello from Mexico! How's your part of the world? Mine's new, as usual. We're officially in the highlands of Mexico after a monster 45km day that took us from a few hundred metres above sea level to over 2000m in one day. We began in the Cordoba/Orizaba Valley, which has to be on of the most beautiful places I've walked through so far. It was green, clean, mountainous, cool & the people were so friendly that it crossed my mind that it might be a nice place to retire... Ahead of us rose Mexico's highest mountain, Orizaba Peak, some 5000m high. Even here in hot Mexico it had a huge cover of snow on it. It was incredible. At first we had a reasonable climb up what we thought was our mountain for the day but after a good hour or so we emerged on a plateau with a briliant view of where we'd come from & a rather confronting view of another mountain on the other side of the plains that rose up another 1000m - and the freeway went straight up it (well, through a few tunnels & around a few hundred corners). The higher we pushed on the thinner the air became & the more difficult it was to breath. It almost caused me to shut up for two minutes, but I found enough oxygen to keep singing & praying :-) Seriously though, it was tough on the lungs climbing up but the spectacular views & racing clouds hitting the mountain below us & scooting up over us was amazing. Our day finished after sunset, walking across the plains at the foot of the 5000m high snow capped Volcano glistening in the moon light. Loved it. Nikki & I have stopped in many churches this past week & the invitation to pray for unity has been received very well. We even meet a few people who are saving their pennies to fly to Australia in 2008 for World Youth Day so we are hoping to find each other come next July! It could be a hard task finding them amongst 2 million people though. I read the comments each week (thanks Steph) & I'd like to quickly clear the air over the comment I made last week about my resolve for unity being stronger now than when I started & the Lord's heart being for unity. At first I didn't understand the rebuke over this comment & it has taken me some time to get my head around what Miguel wrote. I say that I don't completly understand the rebuke because my comment was simply intended as a reflection on my deepening of faith over the duration of this journey & the utter hopelessness I've felt at seeing so many underpriviledged people suffering, coupled with the infighting amongst churches. I was stating that now, having seen what I've seen & heard what I've heard, the scriptures regarding unity (from the Gospels & Paul's letters particularly) are coming alive for me. My resolve is stronger - I believe. After thinking long & hard about the rebuke & reading over what I'd written I presume that due my laziness at the keyboard it can very easily read as though I'm stating that the Lord's heart is for MY style of unity. This was not intended in any way, shape or form & I'm sorry for not not taking more care with what I was writing. I agree with you Miguel & I'm very sorry if what I wrote frustrated you. The whole aim of this walk is to simply come before the Lord humbly & continue to pray Christ's prayer (John 17) for total unity. I haven't been blessed with the wisdom to unite the faith world but I have been blessed with prayer, so this is my role out here on the road; to pray & bear witness. So, my humblest apologies for cutting corners. Hmmm, now comes the tricky part of linking this to my next point of conversation, which was to be about Nikki almost choking to death on her chicken piece after I recounted a funny incident from Honduras... nope, can't think of a link-in, better move on. In typical Walk4one style, Nikki & I came within a whisker of being here illegally (& being sent home) after encountering visa troubles, which, after a few days of trying, were finally sorted out an hour after expiring. So technically we were 'illegals' for one hour. That's my claim anyway. It was a relief to finally get it sorted out. It's a complicated tale that's not particularly interesting, just lots of wrong information, an immigration department mistake & no one to sign off on the paper work. So, with our new visa expiring two months after I intend to cross over the border it's on towards Mexico City over the next 3 days with another 1000m climb ahead (we think). Please continue to pray for unity & a very big thankyou to everyone who sent my mum a brithday greeting - she wasn't overly impressed with me, but loved the emails.
God bless! Sam.
"He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, & reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, & treads the high places of the earth — the LORD God Almighty is his name." Amos 4:13