Walking Epiphany: encountering Christ in Chiquila, Mexico

Adiel Dominguez + Amy Carol Wolff

Chiquilá, Mexico

 

I'm excited to share with you the second in a in a series of guest posts to celebrate the liturgical season of Epiphany. I've asked a few friends who live around the world to take a walk through their neighborhoods, and share some of the ways they encounter and exhibit the presence of Christ. Amy and Adiel are two new friends who make me feel like we've been buddies for a very long time. Amy worships at Church of the Apostles, and is one of the mightiest encouragers I've ever met.  Through her, we've had the privilege of meeting Adiel, and learn about his heart for his hometown. Since our very first conversation around our kitchen table a few months, I've been excited for the day I get to visit Chiquilá for myself. (Brian goes in March, and, yes, I'm a tiny bit jealous.) 

Before I turn it over to Amy & Adiel, here's a brief summary of Epiphany, in case you're not sure.

What is Epiphany?

 Throughout the daily readings in the Epiphany lectionary, we follow the early life and ministry of Jesus as He is revealed as the Son of God, appearing as light to a dark world. He is the very God shining forth, manifesting the glory of God. Oftentimes the accounts are private affairs (Transfiguration), other times public (Wedding at Cana, Baptism).  All of them take place, though, in the places Jesus lived and worked, within the context of his relationships of family, friends, and followers -- the sick, possessed, poor, celebrating, drinking, seeking, religious, fearful, apathetic, discouraged neighbors.  

Walking EPIPHANY blog series

Each of the friends contributing to the series this year has selected from a variety of thoughtful prompts (collected from my subscription to these excellent daily readings) to consider the ways the Light has moved into their neighborhoods. 

Will you join us?

p.s., Don't miss the opportunity to engage with thought-provoking questions for your own neighborhood, listed following each prompt.


Chiquilá, Mexico is a small fishing village off of the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Her people are hardworking, weathered by life. Her children are vibrant, loud, alive and delight in the small pleasures of a lone wandering crab or a colorful candy from the local tienda.

Adiel calls Chiquilá home. He grew up in this small village supported by a loving family to go to college and explore the world outside. Amy calls Chiquilá home. She found this little town on service trip she took at age 15 and never stopped visiting and bringing anyone she could to see the beauty of this place.. The two of them met in 2002 and in 2016, by God’s artistic muse, fell in love. And every time they walk the dirt roads Chiquilá, these are the moments that capture them both. 


Prompt: Liked so much as this place

Ma hummed softly to herself while the iron smoothed all the wrinkles out of the little dresses. All around them, to the very edge of the world, there was nothing but grasses waving in the wind. Far overhead, a few white puffs of cloud sailed in the thin blue air.  Laura was very happy. The wind sang a low, rustling song in the grass. Grasshoppers' rasping quivered up from all the immense prairie.  A buzzing came faintly from all the trees in the creek bottoms. But all these sounds made a great, warm, happy silence. Laura had never seen a place she liked so much as this place.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House On the Prairie*

In your own neighborhood, when do you have the sense that you’ve ‘never seen a place you liked as much as this place’?

What does it sound and look like in those moments?

Where are you walking when you feel this way
THE DAWN BREAKS IN CHIQUILA AND WHETHER WE ARE WALKING TO TOWN OR VISITING THE LOCAL PASTOR, THIS LIGHT DEMANDS AN INHALE AND PROFOUND EXHALE OF GRATITUDE

THE DAWN BREAKS IN CHIQUILA AND WHETHER WE ARE WALKING TO TOWN OR VISITING THE LOCAL PASTOR, THIS LIGHT DEMANDS AN INHALE AND PROFOUND EXHALE OF GRATITUDE


Prompt: Foreigners as Neighbors

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

Pope Francis, from "Pope Francis' Address to Congress" on Sep. 24, 2015

How does your neighborhood embrace foreigners?

Are there organizations set up specifically for that purpose?

What other signs of “immigrant” culture can you find in your neighborhood?
“Tres Reyes Hug”: Every year the town throws a great celebration to begin Epiphany - when the three kings find Jesus and bring him gifts. This moment, captured by a dear friend, demonstrates the wildly open heart of this town to those who offer pure, intentional and unconditional love. 

“Tres Reyes Hug”: Every year the town throws a great celebration to begin Epiphany - when the three kings find Jesus and bring him gifts. This moment, captured by a dear friend, demonstrates the wildly open heart of this town to those who offer pure, intentional and unconditional love. 


Prompt: What is important

The availability of places where we are invited to stop and enjoy our rest provides a tacit reminder of what is important. If these places invite us to stay because we are consumers or producers, we will learn to see ourselves as valuable only insofar as we contribute to the economy. If our public spaces are ugly or inconvenient, we learn tacitly that our value as human beings is minimal.

Eric Jacobsen, The Space Between*

What sort of public “rest stops” are available in your neighborhood? Are they used well or barely noticed?
When waiting for the ferry or a transport from the Island back to Cancun, you often find groups like this against the back drop of a stunning sunset. Road side conversations are a way of living here. 
 

When waiting for the ferry or a transport from the Island back to Cancun, you often find groups like this against the back drop of a stunning sunset. Road side conversations are a way of living here. 
 


Prompt: Homegrown economy

Losing local businesses to national chains stores is by no means inevitable. Indeed, the growth of chain stores has been aided in no small part by public policy. Land use rules have all too often ignored the needs of communities and undermined the stability of existing business districts. Development incentives frequently favor national corporations over locally owned businesses. Increasing numbers of communities are rewriting the rules around a different set of priorities that encourage a homegrown economy of humanly scaled, diverse, neighborhood-serving businesses.... Active decision making at the local level and a creative approach to zoning can provide a powerful arsenal for defending community.

Stacy Mitchell, The Home Town Advantage*

Are there are any signs of a “homegrown economy of humanly scaled, diverse, neighborhood-serving businesses” in your neighborhood? If so, tell us about them.
“On the Lancha at Sunset” Fishing is a way of life here. Though tourism has started to encroach upon the culture of this place, it has yet to inhibit the founding industry. 
 

“On the Lancha at Sunset” Fishing is a way of life here. Though tourism has started to encroach upon the culture of this place, it has yet to inhibit the founding industry. 
 


Prompt: God's household

Life, breath, food, companionship -- every good thing is a gift from the abundant providence of God. The kingdom of God, this great economy, is embodied in the world when God's people respond to God's provision with gratitude, sharing God's gifts generously with others. The word economy reminds us again that creation is God's household; we are tasked with sustaining it and keeping it in the order God intended. It should be a place where all humans and all creatures are loved and honored and where generosity is commonplace.

C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison, Slow Church*

What are some ways your neighborhood is generous to each other?

Put another way, what are some of ways your neighborhood naturally loves and honors others?
Together: While the life is not easy in Chiquilá, scattered throughout the town are these couples who are so committed to one another. This is not of wild, passionate romance. It’s a strong, sturdy partnership of faithfulness. This love and honor grows from places of suffering, wanting and pain, but births joyful peace, fervent prayer and faithful love.  

Together: While the life is not easy in Chiquilá, scattered throughout the town are these couples who are so committed to one another. This is not of wild, passionate romance. It’s a strong, sturdy partnership of faithfulness. This love and honor grows from places of suffering, wanting and pain, but births joyful peace, fervent prayer and faithful love.  


Prompt: To suffer with

To be an American is to move on, as if we could outrun change. To attach oneself to place is to surrender to it, and to suffer with it.

Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk*

What are some common things you and your neighbor suffer because of where you live?
Resting outside after a hard day of work. Women labor every day - cooking, cleaning, preparing the home. The heat also adds a weight to the work that requires an afternoon siesta. 

Resting outside after a hard day of work. Women labor every day - cooking, cleaning, preparing the home. The heat also adds a weight to the work that requires an afternoon siesta. 


Wolff.bio.jpg

Adiel Dominguez Rivera is a photographer and artist living in Holbox Island in Mexico. He works as a social media manager for various companies and hotels. His passion is capturing the special moments in life through the lens and the brush. When he's not behind the camera, you can often find him dancing salsa, taking a long run, or being uncle to his 9 nephews and nieces. 

Amy Carol Wolff loves coffee, great food and travel. She is the President of Hands Offering Hope Foundation, an organization committing to offering opportunity, hope and empowerment to youth and children around the world through a global network of experts. She lives in Trumbull, Connecticut and thoroughly enjoys hosting people at her home whenever possible.


IMAGE: TRAMPOLINES BY BRIAN KERSHISNIK (SOURCE)

IMAGE: TRAMPOLINES BY BRIAN KERSHISNIK (SOURCE)

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