23

The number 23 has a general significant meaning for many. When we see it, we either think of one of the greatest basketball players, Michael Jordan, or one of the most known Bible Scriptures Psalm 23. I am personally fond of the number because it has a significant meaning for Amy (my wife) and I. Since dates are important to me, I always remember specific things. So, I would like to share a few dates that involved the number 23:

  •  May 23, 1997 is Amy’s spiritual birthday.  
  • Amy & I became Facebook friends on October 23, 2013 (this may sound silly, but it involves the number).
  • On February 23, 2014, I made it known to her that I was interested in pursuing a relationship.
  • The span between my birthday (June 9) to Amy’s birthday (July 2) is 23 days.
  • On December 23, 2014, I packed my car with all my belongings, and I drove off to my new home, Atlanta, GA from Dallas, TX.
  • On December 23, 2016, Amy and I stepped foot into Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico. 

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why the number 23 is significant to me. On top of them all, the number 23 in Biblical terms signifies “God is with us.” Let me explain. After Amy and I realized some of our relationship events that happened on those dates I mentioned, we decided to look up what 23 meant in the Bible. We saw verses from Matthew 1:23 that talk about Mary conceiving Jesus and states “God with us.” In Psalm 23:4, it also speaks about God being with us through the “valley of the shadow of death.” Jeremiah 23:23 says, “Am I a God who is near,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far off?” We know this is rhetorical because He is a near God. Even in the distance, He knows our hiding places. 

My parents have longed for the day Amy and I could go visit them in Juarez. Every time I spoke to my mom on the phone, she had a countdown and was excited about us going to visit them. “Ya mero se acerca el dia!” she would say (the day is surely approaching!). Amy and I flew out from Atlanta to Dallas on December 22, and we got to spend time with my little sister Alma and some friends. The next morning on the 23rd, we arrived at our gate at American Airlines, and nearly missed our plane due to a last minute gate change.

 Amy and I on the way to Juarez

Amy and I on the way to Juarez

When we landed in El Paso, TX, one of my dad’s cousins, Alejandro, picked us up. Supposedly in my culture he would be my uncle (but I don’t even want to explain it because it kind of gets confusing). Alejandro drove us across the border to meet my parents outside The El Rio Grande Mall. Even though he lives in El Paso, he has hardly traveled to Juarez due to the drug infestations. He and my dad had a happy reunion.

 Welcome to Mexico!

Welcome to Mexico!

As I returned to Juarez, I could only imagine how different it would be since going the previous year. This was my second time seeing my parents in about 12 years. Above all, I was most excited for my parents to meet Amy. They were delighted to see us and took us from place to place to visit various family members. It was overwhelming and tiring at the same time, but I was glad to see as many as possible.

 Family!

Family!

The awesome thing about being in Mexico is that we got to eat real Mexican food! I love me some Enchiladas! Amy doesn’t speak Spanish, so I tried my best to make her feel as welcome as possible. My dad knows choppy English—or you can call it choppy Spanglish—but It makes me glad they try. My mom told Amy they would have to find a way to communicate, so sign language would be the best way. I thought that was funny. They kept saying, “Thank you, Amy. Thank you, thank you.” They said that through the whole weekend because thanks to Amy, we were able to get my Green Card.

Many people take for granted what a privilege it is to travel to be with family. It was such a blessing for me and it was my first Christmas with both of my parents since 2003. We were also able to celebrate my Grandmother's birthday. It was a short 3 day trip, but thankfully due to my Green Card, I know it will not be the last time I see my family again. Now that I am able to travel to Mexico, I hope the Lord opens more doors for me. 

 I hope this helps you understand why the number 23 is significant to me. Whenever you see the number 23, I hope the name “Immanuel” comes to your mind and you remember, “God with us.”

I posted a few pictures for you to enjoy!