In a previous post I covered the actual rooting of the Mexican Ministry into the ABC with the story of Luis. This post is an explanation of the growth.
The Mexican Ministry began to take visible shape about the time I returned to San Diego. My dad’s visits to, and befriending of, the shopkeepers in Tijuana eventually yielded visits to their homes and this brought requests for teachings which meant that homes were needed in Mexico for foundation meetings. Most of the available homes in Tijuana were very small, some had dirt floors and none would accommodate a meeting. Rather than renting a building or hall, a small apartment was rented in the La Playa area of Tijuana on the western edge of town instead. This was not far from San Diego but since the Tijuana roads were seldom maintained this at times made for treacherous driving. It was a long slow commute up the hill as well--especially when it rained. It was not unusual, in a heavy downpour, to encounter a roadway that had become a raging torrent of flood water. Very often in Tijuana the homes would wash down the hills in these downpours as they were built on tires and other debris. There were usually a numbers of deaths from the floods. Poverty can be deadly.
The Crown Victoria and other sedans my dad was using to get to this apartment; as well as to pick up some of the Mexican people on the way; were not suited for the journey over the deeply rutted roads so an offering was requested to buy a large van. The money was raised and the van was purchased but within months it was quite apparent this vehicle as well would not hold up to the strain of the Tijuana roads so another call went out for more money to purchase a large Chevy Suburban with four wheel drive and high clearance suspension. This was a more effective vehicle to maneuver the back roads and alleys of Tijuana and became a bus of sorts for picking up people to take to meetings.
I was at a few of the meetings at the La Playa apartment. There were usually about five or six people from Tijuana and about the same number would travel over from the states. These were typical foundation meeting with singing (one of the Mexican people had translated a few of the songs into Spanish), a teaching in English interpreted into Spanish by a man named Pablo and prayer for any needs. It was not possible to construct a teaching in the same manner as before since the ABC relies heavily on the Greek to develop teaching points. To teach from the Greek would require translating from Greek to English first then from English into Spanish. This was proving extremely difficult and so the teachings moved in very slow motion. Most attending nodded their heads but one never knows if the nodding meant they truly understood or were just being courteous. I suspect it is the latter.
Not long after the apartment was rented in La Playa a large storm completely washed away the main road. This made the apartment inaccessible without a long drive through the side roads which would take more than an hour each way. A search was made for a new location to hold the meetings and a large house was rented closer to central Tijuana. It was up on a hill overlooking all of Tijuana and was constructed of stucco, stone and brick with lots of wrought iron. The pictures below were taken at this house. The first picture was at a kid's birthday party and the second is the view from this house at night. It had quite a view looking out over Tijuana.
This house was too big to justify renting just for meetings and so David North moved his family to the house, enrolled his children in Mexican school and commuted to work each day across the border into San Diego. There was not much kept at the La Playa apartment for meetings; just a whiteboard and some chairs; but after the move to the big house it still needed to be retrieved. I was enlisted for the long drive to retrieve them and David North rode along with me. Since I had to do this after work it meant driving into Tijuana after dark. While there one of my headlights burned out deep into Tijuana. I was stopped by a local police officer who spoke very little English and I spoke very little Spanish. I understood enough to know that wanted to take my car because it was not "legal" and then he was going to drop us at the airport. David paid the officer some money and this caused him to "forget" about impounding my car and he let us go. It was a tense moment. We found a headlamp that night at a little shop in La Playa and changed it before heading back to San Diego.
Meetings were held at the large central Tijuana house for a number of months but the massive flooding in La Playa and other areas had finally forced the Mexican government to address the housing situation. Since flooding problems occurred during every storm season the government decided to build large tenements of solid concrete on the mesa near the Tijuana airport. Flooding was not a problem here since it was on top of a large hill with excellent drainage. A great many people were relocated from central Tijuana to these new housing projects, including most of the people who were coming to the Tijuana meetings. This made it necessary to move the meetings to the plains by the airport. The house was given up and David North and family moved back across the border to the Casa Grande and the idea of having a permanent house in Tijuana was abandoned. Yvonne would later acquire another home in Tijuana, after my father's death, but I will address that separately since it was not an official "sanctioned" part of the ABC.
After the central Tijuana house was given up the meetings were moved to the home of a woman everyone called "mama". On meeting days the Suburban would leave San Diego several hours before the start time, make a "bus run" picking up anyone that lived too far to walk and take them to the meetings. Most of the participants in these meetings were related in some way and all were very poor.
Altogether there was only a small handful of people that were ever touched by "The Mexican Ministry" and it officially ended not long after my father's death. I do not know exactly when since I was not around at that time but I do know, from what I heard, that San Diego became a battleground for power and control. Yvonne, my stepmother, would leave the ABC and continue the Mexican Ministry on her own. During this time she negotiated a permanent pension from the tithes. I was not part of the ABC then but I received regular updates on the progress from Yvonne by form letter.
In the next post, and the one following, I will introduce a threatening letter that was sent to all in the ABC and some of the anomalies that developed...mostly due to the forming of the "Mexican Ministry".