The photos below were taken two weeks ago during our first visit to San Luis Potosi, capital of the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The President of the Roundtable (“Mesa Conjunta”) of the Disciples of Christ and Congregational Churches, Rev. Manuel Tovar Ruiz, wanted us to meet and be interviewed by his Board during the annual “Theological Encounter” event of the Roundtable. Global Ministries Executive Rev. Felix Ortiz-Cotto introduced us to the Board members and following our conversation with them, a vote was taken. It was unanimous: we were invited to serve as Long Term Volunteers (a minimum of two years) in the role of Consultants in Mission Development.
After our week of meetings with Board members and many of the fifty plus participants in the Theological Encounter, we returned to Pomona rejoicing in this call to ministry and eager to move to San Luis Potosi in mid-October. You will learn more about us and our current expectations for our missionary assignment in the About section of this blog. Without delay we want to post these pictures and share our excitement that we, Doug and Kate, have been invited to serve with historic, long time partner churches in Mexico.
And now a few words on the background image on this page. This Olmec statue represents for us the universal human longing for rain, for salvation, for revelation of the divine in the midst of the mundane. It was fashioned by the Olmec people – ancestors of the Maya, Huasteca, Zapotec, Aztec and other “pre-Columbian” Mexican cultures – over two thousand years ago, several hundred years before the birth of Jesus. It can now be seen along with Olmec colossal stone heads, weighing over two tons, in the La Venta museum in Villahermosa, Tabasco, the State of Mexico where the Olmec civilization thrived.
Most interesting are the African characteristics of the Olmec stone faces. In his book They Came Before Columbus , Ivan van Sertima makes an intriguing case for an African presence in Mexico three thousand years ago. Regardless of how it came to be, the figure here bears evidence of that which binds each of us to all earth’s peoples. We marvel at the power of Olmec sculpture and this image’s testimony to the mystery and majesty of what it is to be fully human. For us to be complete and whole, the figure seems to proclaim, we must never tire of looking to the skies.