I try to take the time every once in a while to write about the places I’ve called home. I shared my impressions of Angeles City back in 2011–this was a big move after spending the previous nine years in Manila. I’ve also shared what it was like to move back to the USA and experience all the reverse culture shock that comes with being back here.
I suppose I’ve been a bit of a slacker in terms of this blog–it’s just not quite as high a priority as it once was. But I do look over these old posts from time to time, and doing so always puts a smile on my face. These little digital memoirs are vivid reminders of God’s faithfulness and abundant blessings.
It’s been a little over six months since we moved to our current location. I’m reflecting on this adventure while Mare Cris cooks some longganisa and eggs for our (late) breakfast on this sunny morning. Here are a few of my thoughts (in no particular order) about the city known as El Paso.
The Franklin Mountains
I have the privilege of seeing God’s majestic handiwork every time I drive to the church office. The Franklin Mountains are magnificent, colossal monuments to the glory of God. These majestic ridges from His fingerprint speak volumes to all who are willing to spend just a few moments in contemplation (Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:20).
Where the Wind Blows
Each place I’ve lived has it’s own type of natural disasters. Earthquakes and typhoons were a regular part of life in the Philippines. Alabama has had more than it’s fair share of tornadoes. El Paso is generally free of these, but it does have it’s own brand of destructive (or at least disruptive) weather: straight-line winds. They can howl angrily for hours (sometimes for days) and displace anything that isn’t securely anchored to solid ground. There’s probably a sermon illustration in there somewhere.
El Paso is home to Fort Bliss, a US Army post. My dad was actually stationed here back in the 60’s when he was in the Army. The military presence is pervasive–we regularly see men and women in uniform at restaurants, stores, etc. Many who have chosen to live here permanently have done so after lengthy military careers.
This military presence is reflected in the congregation I lead–most of our church members are active or retired soldiers (and their spouses/widows). It’s an honor to serve men and women who have sacrificed so much for the sake of this great nation.
El Paso is located right on the border of Juarez, Mexico. It still feels strange to look over into another country while driving through certain parts of the city. Mare Cris and I haven’t visited Juarez yet, but maybe we will one of these days. It would be a shame to live a few miles away from Mexico and never go visit.
The demographics of El Paso have been radically influenced by its proximity to Mexico. The city is now about 80% Latino/Hispanic.
Spanish is ubiquitous here, and a significant percentage of the population is bilingual as far as I can tell. I have occasionally encountered situations in which I’m unable to communicate with someone due to the language barrier (this is rare, but it does happen). Sometimes it reminds me of my first few months in Manila–feeling like the odd man out because I don’t speak one of most-used languages. The longer I’m here the more I want to learn Spanish. I just ordered some flash cards (this is how I began learning Tagalog), so we’ll see if I can make some headway.
To be continued . . .