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When people come to Mexico, they always notice the large numbers of VW bugs. We're so used to every other car being a bug that we don't even notice them any more (in case you didn't know, Mexico is the only place in the world where the old bug is still made).

VW in southern Mexico most taxis are VW bugs
Note: place your cursor over any photo to view description

Another reality of life here that we take for granted is the large number of youth. Everywhere you go in Mexico you see teenagers; they're waiting for the bus, walking to school, standing in line for tortillas, sitting on park benches talking with their friends, hanging out at the mall. We spend so much time around teenagers and young adults that we forget to be amazed that according to the 2000 Mexican census there are 70 million people here under the age of 29. Yes, that is about 67% of the total population.

As we drive around and I love to watch the people on the sidewalks. I frequently wonder where they're going and what their life is like. There are times my heart just goes out to someone. Who wouldn't feel something for the old lady stooped under the huge bundle of firewood she is carrying on her back, or the young girl, with the dirt streaked face and the baby strapped to her back, selling gum at the stoplight.

country girl selling at stoplight elderly woman carrying burden

But I also think about the 15-year-old girl in the skintight jeans whose boyfriend has arm draped heavily, possessively over her shoulder or the earnest, studious-looking group of young adults talking outside their school. I think how that possessive boyfriend will probably treat her as badly as her father treats her mother and how those students' hard work and sacrifice will not bring them the bright economic future they hope for. You may think that sounds very pessimistic. After seven years here I feel it's the reality. And the world around us shows us that if no outside force intervenes, things left on their own get worse, not better.

But I'm not a fatalist. I do have hope for these people; hope that they can have a fulfilling, good life in spite of their circumstances. So as we drive by I frequently turn my thoughts about them into prayers, "Lord, please reach into their life and bring them the joy that comes from really knowing you." But as Paul says in Romans 10:14, "And how can they hear if no one tells them?"

So now you have a glimpse into what keeps us motivated. 70 million people with only a handful of people specifically focused on trying to meet their spiritual needs. And of those who share this burden, who are pouring out their life to bring hope specifically to the teenagers and young adults in Mexico 86.3% of them have had no training specifically for youth work. As we mentioned last month, we are so excited about the possibility of 500 people being able to receive the highest quality, comprehensive training in youth ministry this summer through the two "Raices" conferences in Mexico City and Veracruz.

Mexican youth and life - tim and annette gulick

We are so grateful for the part you have played in this project, for putting and keeping us here with your prayers and financial support! And as part of our support team we want you to know these are going to be a few extra-ordinary months for us, both in terms of workload and for the Mexican church in terms of opportunity.

Because we know that "some reap and some sow, but God brings the harvest", we would love it if you would feel called to extra-ordinary prayer support for this project: for the organizing committees, for all those conference details that need to be dealt with, and that God would bring the right people to attend them.

We would also love it if you would feel called to make a one-time donation to these conferences, providing scholarship money so we can lower the price tag, which now stands at $200/person, so money wouldn't keep away the people who need to be there.

For your convenience you can contribute online by clicking here, or by clicking on any of the "contribute" links found at the bottom or left of most pages.

We'll keep you posted!

tim annette gulick - patzcuaro, mexico
Annette & Tim

P.S. - If you like any of our pictures above and are
interested in viewing more click here -- you will be
taken to our "happenings" section.  There you will
find links to animations, hundreds of still photos, a
multimedia slideshow, and anecdotes from our life.

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