In 2011, I had the opportunity to be a part of the world’s greatest and best Nexus team ever in the history of Amor. While this is not exactly an objective fact, we did have some incredible opportunities to serve in Rosarito Baja California, Mexico.
At the time Amor had not built in Rosarito, for 3 years, so we spent the whole summer there and a little time in San Carlos and Tijuana. Because it had been a while since we were in Rosarito, the Pastors board was so excited to have us back and was very involved and they all hold a special place in my heart. One pastor in particular impacted my life in a special way.
My first impression of Pastor Cesar was this jolly man who gave lots of hugs and greeted everyone with a smile, saying “God bless you!” first in Spanish , and then English. As part of our cultural training, our team went to Pastor Cesar’s church. The congregation was so excited to have us and Pastor Cesar invited us to “Give a message.” Pastor Cesar, in the context of his church, is just the coolest thing to witness. He unashamedly loves Jesus and his love for others reaches far beyond language barriers.
I remember during our house training, Pastor Cesar stopped by to help build and asked me a lot of questions about my church back in Kansas City, my walk with the Lord, and other spiritual things. But that wasn’t the extent of it. The man can’t go longer than 15 minutes without cracking a joke or quoting Nacho Libre. He always says “I’m Stephen and my brother Armando is Nacho because he has cauliflower hair!” Everytime I’m around him, my abdominal section becomes sore from laughing so hard.
One week on a worksite in Rosarito, I saw Cesar out and about driving around and he stopped across the street at a neighbor’s home. He said “I got a call from this man who needs prayer. He has prostate cancer and needs $400 for the operation. Please pray for him. We are raising money for him on Sunday at church to help him.” This is a great example of his ministry. He knows his neighborhood and loves his city. He takes every opportunity to pray with people and display the love of Jesus. And this is standard! For 6 weeks I got to see him in action visiting people and praying with them. If his car breaks down he says “The Lord gave me legs, I can walk!” as he heads into his community and prays with people.
The last 2 years as a volunteer with Amor, Cesar and his wife took me in as one of their own. I would go visit them and share meals, laughter, and celebration. His wife Cecilia is all the time offering up her home as my own, and anyone who crosses paths with the family, saying “This is your house! Come in to your house!” His children, Jonathan, Otoniel, and Genesis call me their “American sister,” and I call Cecilia’s mother Abuelita just as the kids do. If you went to visit their family in Vista Marina, this is the treatment! Their family takes hospitality to another level. But also expect to take a trip down memory lane with some photo books. Here are some highlights: