I was part of a mission team that traveled to Mexico to provide assistance to a ministry in Ensenada. It was a very short-term mission (2 days). Since it was the off-season for tourism, our coordinator was able to book rooms for approximately 15 people at a fancy resort for a very reasonable rate. The reservation was made weeks in advance and confirmed the day before we were to arrive.
We arrived at the Estero Beach Hotel on our scheduled check-in day. The resort seemed nearly deserted and it appeared that we would have a few hours to relax before the work began at the host ministry. Our team leader went to the front desk while we waited in our vehicles. Some of us got restless after waiting for over 30 minutes, so I stepped into the parking lot and did this quick painting.
No Room at the Inn
Finally, our leader came outside and said that the Hotel had no record of our reservation, nor did they have any rooms available. Of course, our leader showed the resort manager our confirmation number and reminded them that we had confirmed the previous day. She also pointed out to them that the hotel appeared to have very little activity for there not to be any vacancies. Despite all her efforts, the hotel pulled in and put away the red carpet. We all came to the same conclusion; that they didn’t realize that they had rented rooms to a group of African-Americans from south-central Los Angeles.
The Upper Room
We had to hustle to find another hotel. We finally found one in Ensenada with enough rooms available for our large group. It was the San Nicolas Hotel. They greeted us warmly and gave us keys to our rooms. All of our R&R time had been eaten up by the Estero Beach foolishness and our search for another place to stay, so we dropped our bags in our room and went streight to the host ministry.
Centro Pan de Vide
When we arrived at the Centro Pan de Vide mission, we repainted most of the interior of the facility and fed children from the neighborhood. When we returned to the San Nicolas Hotel late that evening, I was so tired that I skipped dinner and went streight to bed. It didn’t take but a few minutes to realize that I wasn’t alone. No, there wasn’t anyone else in the room, however, there was a lot of commotion outside my window. When I looked out the window, I realized that my room overlooked a carnival site. As evening turned to night, loud music and flashing lights filled my room. Unfortunately, there were no other rooms available in the hotel away from the noise below, so I was awake past 1:00 AM praying with rock music, bells and hawkers in the background.
But it’s just like God to ‘turn water into wine’. When morning came, our leader asked the hotel staff where we our group could meet. We were expecting something like a small conference room. However, they took us up into a small room that sat atop the hotel. It reminded us of the upper room where Jesus met with his disciples before His death, burial and resurrection. God manifested in our midst as we sought Him for victory in our outreach.
San Nicolas in the Booklands
I chose to use the San Nicolas Hotel as a model for a set in the Booklands because of the upper room experience. I’ll be telling you more about what will happen in the Booklands as time moves on.