We wove our way through the open air market filled with punchy Mexican colors, bright fabrics, and sweet-talking salesmen who saw peso signs at the sight of foreigners. My friend and I were browsing the shops on our free day when one of the vendors stopped us.
“Welcome to Cancun! You speak English? My name is Victor.”
When he grinned he practically oozed saccharine salesman charm. We laughed and introduced ourselves. We let him show us around his store and try to sell us ridiculously-priced items while he asked us a million questions about our time so far in Mexico and where we were from.
“How about you, Victor?” we asked. “Where are you from?”
He looked up, a little surprised, and told us about the place he grew up. His eyes grew wide and excited as he showed us pictures and told us what his family was like, why he moved to Cancun, what he liked most, what he hoped to someday do in the future. We listened with intently as he shared all about his life and dreams. He glowed in an entirely new way as he spoke.
After a while we told Victor we needed to go back home to meet up with some other missionaries we had plans with.
Suddenly, he jumped up and darted in the opposite direction.
He came back a couple seconds later and plopped a big, fat book on the counter where we had been talking.
“This is my Bible! Someone gave it to me. Give me something to read.”
We felt that God wanted to speak to Victor through the story of the woman at the well.
“Ok! I will read it tonight,” he grinned.
We came back the next day to give him the address of the church we were staying at because he had never gone before. As soon as we appeared in his store, he called out to us. “Good! You’re back!” He kissed us each on the cheek in a traditional Mexican greeting. “Now you can teach me. Come, let’s have Bible study!”
My friend and I exchanged quick glances.
Then we both shrugged. “Ok!”
So we found a sunny little outdoor cafe in the middle of the marketplace and sat down. He asked questions and told us his thoughts about the story of the woman at the well, and we talked all about God. He stared amazed as we explained that Jesus actually wanted to have relationship with him–wanted to speak to him, hang out with him, enjoy his company.
“I think I want that,” he said thoughtfully.
And it’s things like these that drive me crazy with joy. Because not only did we meet our friend Victor in Cancun, but Victor met Jesus there, too. In a hidden cafe in the middle of a busy marketplace in Mexico.