Hello from Teculopan! Population: Well, that depends on how many truckies have stopped for dinner... Another week has come & gone & so has Mexico City. A very cool & steep climb took us up to around 4000m above sea level before we descended into the expansive city. I have to say, I didn't see the poverty I expected to. A lot of work has gone into housing developments & so the slums I expected to see everywhere were actually difficult to find along the route we walked. The pollution however, was not difficult to find - it was difficult to escape. I saw one bloke riding his bike with a gas mask on, not a dust mask, but a full-on gas mask. I wouldn't have minded borrowing it at the time either. There was a horrible smell around that reminded me of rotting flesh & sewage in one. It was in truth difficult to breathe. Thankfully it only took three days to cross the city & Nikki & I are now trekking along through beautiful rolling farmland with a gentle cool & clean breeze blowing the whole time, although Nikki is currently having to grit her teeth a bit & push through some pretty major foot/leg/everything pain. My only problem is that my body is so used to walking through stupidly hot weather & the consequent constant sweating that now I'm in nice cool weather, well, my body isn't sweating out what I drink. If I have to take another toilet break Nikki is going to punch a hole in my water container! Nikki celebrated her 25th birthday in Mexico City in style with a few chocolates & a massive lollie-pop but that was about the extent of it. For those following the walk with an itinerary at hand, I'm no longer walking from Mexico City to Monterrey via the route outlined, instead, I'm heading inland up through the centre of Mexico along the major freeway. It turns out this route, though appearing longer on the map is actually shorter (and safer). So from here I head to San Jose del Rio & then straight up through the centre. We are currently 107km down the freeway & the hospitality has been super! The thinner air up here has made it difficult to sing or even make cow noises at the cows... so I've been given an opportunity to pray a lot more. There are many death markers along the side of the road here so I find myself praying for them & particularly for their family left behind. More & more as well I'm praying for & thinking about the unity of all people of faith. Particularly about my continual need for a deepening of coversion, humilty & God's mercy. Nikki & I still get heckled every now & then but that's all part of the deal these days. On one particular day I received a passing slur by a fellow driving a car with a 'Jesus' sticker on the back. I thought to myself, "Your actions are speaking louder than your 'word' mate." My mind heads off on tangents very easily & I quickly found myself remembering a conversation I had with a fellow called Brian Shadbolt 2 years ago at my grandfathers funeral. I grew up on Flinders Island & Brian & his wife Maureen owned the farm down the road from us. I hadn't seen him for quite some time (& haven't seen him since) but we walked & chatted as we made our way down through the cemetery. I noted that I'd only recently discovered that he was a Christian (& had been since before I was born) & this made Brian laugh. He was almost embarassed that I didn't know; that it wasn't obvious. In fact I think his words were along the lines of, "That's not good at all!" But here's the deal, Brian didn't have a Jesus sticker on his ute or wear a huge flashy gold chain with a cross on it but if there was one couple on the island who, as a child, I trusted & looked up to, it was Brain & Maureen. I wasn't keen on getting too close to his beard as a kid but over time I grew to love Brian being around because he was always happy. Always. His actions spoke louder than any words could. And then, as if to make my day complete, I logged on to the website & checked the prayer list & there at number 154 was Brian & Maureen. His actions are still speaking louder than his laugh. I hope you're both well! I've also found time to check up on the Australian Football results & I'm very pleased to see that my team, the Geelong Cats, are on top of the ladder by a mile! Sorry about your Tigers Luke. The walk continues & so does the prayer, "Father, please unite all people of faith in truth and in love." God bless, Sam.
You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:22