I was debating giving up this blog, but then a new friend of mine stopped me on Sunday and asked if I blogged. She told me that she read this when she was looking for information (or maybe simply ANYTHING she could find) on Saltillo before she moved here two weeks ago.
Well, shoot. That is why I write this, after all. So I'll keep singing Saltillo's praises here.
How did I meet my new friend Beth? Though one of my very favorite organizations, the Saltillo International Church. Despite Saltillo's smallish size, there are an impressive number of expatriates here, thanks to a slew of multinational companies that have plants here. However, after nearly a year of living here, I couldn't figure out where they were.
[Long Side Story, but I will make my point eventually] One weekend we were in Parras, buying wine, and the other customers were also speaking native English. Curious (and so lonely I was willing to approach people at wine counters), I found out that one of the couples lived in Saltillo. They were Jehovah Witness missionaries, but instead of targeting the Mexican population, they were in town to evangelize all the expats. So lonely that I was, I gave her my phone number, essentially saying, "please evangelize me! Just call me, talk to me, anything!" I was so excited to meet this woman.
Alas, she never called. I guess those Jehovah's Witness missionaries like the hard-to-get type.
So I resorted to internet stalking. And on facebook I found a gringa who was also married to a Mexican and living in Saltillo. Thank goodness I did not creep her out. Furthermore, she knew where the expats were hanging out! (I'd love to hang out with Mexicans, too, but those circles are apparently a bit harder to break into.) She knew of a secular coffee group that meets on Fridays, and a Wednesday morning Bible study for women. The Bible study offered free babysitting. I went to Bible study.
It turns out that the Jehova's Witnesses aren't the only ones who target the expats. The Tripps, a missionary family who came to Mexico almost 17 years ago, came also to minister to the expat community. Or, in their words, they came to "be family away from family." For me, they really are. Four years ago, the Saltillo International Church, a nondenominational, English-dominant church, officially formed (having held services for a few years previously). It began with a mainly expat membership, but now Mexicans make up at least 60% of the members. So for those sent to Saltillo for a few years, it provides an easy means to hobnob with not just other expats, but to form meaningful relationships with Mexicans, too--even if your Spanish is nonexistent.
They have services at 11am on Sundays with about a half hour of worship (singing) in both English and Spanish, followed by a sermon in English (Spanish translation is available). Nursery service and kid's classes are held for kids (babies through 6th grade) during the sermon. They also have my women's Bible study on Wednesday mornings, a youth group, men's groups, and a variety of other small groups throughout the week.
I can't explain how much I appreciate this community. And I can't quite imagine where I'd be mentally if I hadn't resorted to internet stalking and Missy was understanding enough to introduce me to this community.
By the way, if you're in Saltillo and looking for the expats, they're all way out north.
And those who want to go to church in English, the International Church is way out on Los Gonzalez, smack between Blvd. Colosio and Los Rodriguez--right next to the bar La Milla--and La Milla graciously lets the church borrow their parking lot.