by Kelly Godzwa
My recent Mexican tianguis adventure (More Than I Bargained For Part 1) was one I will not easily forget. Spending a morning with friends looking for bargains is sure to include great moments and lasting memories. However, this later portion of the excursion didn’t include my friends. You see, as I was paying for my clothing items, I was also typing the amount into my phone app for budgeting. (This is me, trying to keep good track of our spending.) I typed in 380 pesos while the vendor counted my change into my other hand. Only halfway paying attention to the actual transaction, I stuck the bills and coins into the side pocket of my purse. Unfortunately, I later realized I had received 60 pesos too much! Did she forget to charge me for an item? Count incorrectly? Sigh. You know that moment when you vacillate between the easy thing and the right thing? Yup. This was one of those moments. I decided I needed to return; but I couldn’t that day since everything had ended earlier that afternoon.
So, the following Friday I returned. Maneuvering my way to that particular booth, I was glad I had given directions to my friends to find it the previous week. Looking around, I noticed the lady vendor was not there, but her partner was. I asked for a moment of his time with a hand gesture, and he came aside to talk with me. I briefly explained the situation, handed him the amount owed him and shook his hand. His face expressed shock regarding this rare interaction as I imagine mine did when he said, “Kelly, ¿verdad?” (Kelly, right?) He had remembered my name from the previous week! I confirmed his great memory and said, “Dios lo bendiga” (God bless you) as I left his booth, knowing in my heart that I had done the right thing. Now he has a face, a name, and an unusual act to put together. I pray it is a positive connection that communicates his value to me, not simply as a salesperson, but as a human made in God’s image and worthy of a correct business transaction. I also hope it opens the door to further conversations about Christ living in and through me. These impressions left by small actions like that of my friend (see Part 1) or this one with the vendor can have such a lasting impact, in me or in others!
How do we affect our communities? We certainly influence the people around us – by what we say and what we don’t say, what we do and what we fail to do. People see us, evaluate us, and make judgments. What kind of impression do we leave? With the store clerk? With our neighbor? With our boss or co-worker? On the phone with customer service? We make a difference in our world, whether we’re immediately aware of it or not. As people extend grace to us, may it remind us of God’s ultimate grace as we, in turn, extend grace to others. Let’s take courage by choosing to do the right thing, expressing value to those we encounter (especially when it’s not the easy thing), knowing that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness so that we may be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:3-4)
I certainly got more than I bargained for at this tianguis, but the meaningful interactions, the lasting impressions, and reminders of grace and acceptance I experienced are clearly better than any ‘good deal’ I could have found there!
Kelly and her husband, Dave, have served as Southern Missouri District missionaries to Mexico since 2006. While one of her ministry roles includes a position as Mexico field treasurer, she also has been active online in the Refresh Connect groups and leadership team. They have 3 teenage children and a mini schnauzer.