Dear Reading Friends, this is David Telbat. My short story – Fix-it Man of Mexico, is a story that I hope keeps the attention on the situations around the world during this Christmas season. Just to the south of us in Mexico, dreadful persecution exists against Christians. But thanks to God, Jesus Christ has overcome the world, and He shows Himself as mighty through men like Cecilio Barajas. Have a wonderful Christmas season. I pray you share your love abroad!
The Fix-it Man of Mexico
by D.I. Telbat
Cecilio Barajas had resigned to dying by Christmas in Southern Mexico. But here it was Christmas Day, and he was still alive. He couldn’t imagine lasting another year traveling between Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero, but it wasn’t up to him. His life was in God’s hands, and if God called him home, then he would accept that honor. And if God delayed that upward summons, then Cecilio would continue to live for Christ amongst the hurting families in the rural communities.
When Cecilio entered villages across the southern states of Mexico, he sometimes saw signs that read, “No Other Religions Allowed.” That was the policy of the local Catholic fundamentalists. They were syncretizers, blending their traditional worship of saints with worldly culture and a bit of truth. In some villages, Cecilio had been viewed as a threat to the local customs since he didn’t participate in their ceremonies and intoxicating parties. He often left towns in the middle of the night to avoid certain dangers that God warned him of through prayer. As a born-again Christian, Cecilio focused on only one message for the people: Jesus Christ was coming again soon, and everyone needed to get ready!
Looking back on his first year as a traveling fix-it man, he’d seen persecution that few in the United States ever saw. The Mexican men he’d led to Christ in the past year had followed by leading their whole families to the truth. In their zeal for Christ, word got out about their conversions, and they were often run out of town by their neighbors. Some were even threatened with death, their homes sometimes desecrated, or their cars burned. Cecilio had contacts in Mexico City, far to the north, to take in families who were under the most extreme danger.
It was that Christmas Day that brought Cecilio to stand on the dirt road before the town called Fantasma. In Spanish, the name meant ghost. He placed his hand on the welcome sign. He was certain to find spiritists in this town, as he’d found in others, but they would be people who honored demonic spirits and not the God of the Bible. The true gospel of the grace of God would be strange to them. Their way of life would revolve around superstitions and a deep desire to fix their lives by begging for favor from candles and statues and ornaments.
But Cecilio prayed that he would accurately communicate God’s love for them, seeking to liberate them from the death-worship that held them in bondage.
Entering the village, Cecilio pulled his two-wheeled wagon of tools behind him. He was low on food and money, but before too long, someone would invite him as a guest of their home. He’d been born in the Yucatan, so he spoke the local dialect. At first, they would think he was simply an innovative tinkerer. But as he fixed their vehicles and radios, and installed generators, they would hear that his conversation included much more than the gossip from the previous village.
Next, he would gently learn of the family’s spiritual concerns. Carefully, he would expose flaws in their counterfeit religious dependencies. And then, expressing his love for them, he would teach them about the true Jesus of the Bible. The gospel would appeal to their consciences and tug at their hearts. There would be no need for him to be specific about what the people needed to give up. He would simply teach repentance from dead works, and once they believed in their Savior, the Spirit in them would open their eyes to what was necessary to eliminate from their lives.
While he was in the villages, God had always kept the conversation about the families and their well-being. And if he had enough food, he would work for free, or barter for something simple he could use or sell elsewhere. He had one priority: to love people to the truth of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, he left town without the whole village even knowing his name.
No one seemed to care where he’d learned to become an electrician or small engine repairman. As long as he fixed their leaky roofs or rebuilt their small sheds after windstorms, they didn’t ask where he’d learned his carpentry trade. This, of course, was a matter of some humor to Cecilio, as to how God had turned what was once meant for evil into something good. He’d learned it all in prison.
For twenty years, Cecilio had done time in a California state prison. But he’d not sat still. Once God took hold of his life, Cecilio spent the rest of his years learning the Bible, and the state had taught him his vocational skills.
When the time had come for his release, he’d instead been deported to Mexico. It would’ve been a death sentence, since he didn’t share the religious or gang affiliations of his past Yucatan community. Yet, none of that had mattered. He hadn’t needed to remain in that community. Rather, he’d built his wagon, collected some cheap tools, and started walking—a Bible in one hand and his wagon handle in the other.
Once, he’d been a convict, but now he was sharing the compassion of Christ to hundreds. And since it was Christmas Day, he knew just the story to share with the people of Fantasma!
The End of Short Story – Fix-it Man of Mexico
See David Telbat’s book review on this delightful book, “Adventures of a Christian Santa,” by Clay Conboy.
Prayer Prompt: Please be praying for the safety and release of American Pastor Andrew Brunson, held in Turkey under trumped-up charges. He has served as a Protestant missionary there for over 20 years. Read an update from Oct 2017 here.
COMING UP: Join us next time for a post from David’s Writer’s Tablet, “3 Lessons Learned from Writing Experts.” And for the following post, we have another short story by D.I. Telbat, “An Eritrean Christmas.”