Thanksgiving came to Mexico in late November when the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest Synod met in Puerto Vallarta. Attendees had much to be thankful for. The deanery in Mexico, as one of four deaneries in the Diocese, hosted the Synod for the first time and were proud of the honor. Everyone was thankful that Archbishop Foley Beach was in attendance and participated in services of ordination for several priests and extensive times of prayer and healing. And not to anyone’s surprise, they were thankful for the perfect weather all week in this beautiful town. However, little did anyone realize that after the completion of the Synod, events would turn very dark for one of the participants, and surprisingly turn into another reason for thanksgiving.
“This year they got the chance to be a part of the Synod being held for the first time in Mexico,” said Meredith Omland, a missionary in the Fresnillo church. “It was exciting because most Mexicans in the Diocese could come and be a part of it since most of them do not have visas to attend anything in the United States. For these guys and my congregation, it was exciting for them to feel like they were a part of something bigger, as opposed to just a little congregation in the middle of nowhere.” Meredith further explained, “It was also a good opportunity to come and get a sense of what it means to be part of the Anglican community as well. There’s an interesting dynamic between Mexico and the U.S.
They (Mexicans) appreciate a lot of what goes on in the States, but a lot of times they are only receiving [from the States]: receiving missionaries and receiving funds. Having a chance to be here in Mexico for a Synod and hosting, meant they were giving and serving.”
The group decided to stop by a beach on the way home and play in the waves until one of the waves slammed Buga into the sand. He was able to walk back to the car and appeared to be fine, but he woke up the next morning unable to move his hands and then gradually his legs. At the hospital, the doctors informed him of the terrifying news that he had broken his neck and that he might not be able to walk again.
Meredith shared this news with the network in the Diocese and asked for prayer. “Prayer requests were going out all over the continent because all of the people who had been at the Synod and who knew Buga were concerned about him,” said The Right Rev. Steven Tighe, bishop of the Diocese. “There were people praying in their churches, praying at home, and donating money, which becomes important in the story.” In the nationalized Mexican healthcare system, finding the right doctor in the right hospital is a challenge, so the costs for more timely, appropriate care can go up.
Another doctor was found who diagnosed Buga’s condition from the accident as having exposed a congenital defect that he had in his neck. They were able to find doctors who were able to perform the operation he would need by putting two rods into his neck. “He’s actually lucky that it happened this way because if it had happened under other circumstances, he might not be able to walk again.” Bishop Steven continued, “The cool part was that it was the money that just kept coming in from all the people who had known him at the Synod meeting [or connected] which made the operation possible because his family would have never been able to pay for it.”
The reports now are that Buga manages to walk to church. Currently, he cannot stand and play the bass due to a lack of muscular strength, however, he can play sitting down. Buga recently shared, “Before the accident, I felt distant from God, but I feel this was a wake-up call for me and the other youth in our church.”For Buga, his family, friends, church, and the Anglican Diocese of Southwest, this has been a season of gratefulness to God as they see Buga heal, the Mexican deanery mature, and the church grow in Mexico.
Thanks be to God!
See The Buga Story video here.