Just four hours south of the Texas border, the city of Chihuahua, Mexico is so close to home, and somehow is a different world. It’s rare to find signs in English, and all the sights, sounds, and smells are quite different from what we are used to.
And yet, as the mountains of Chihuahua fade in the distance, we feel we’re already leaving a part of our hearts in Mexico. Through this week spent meeting leadership, fellowshipping with believers, and getting accustomed to the city, we witnessed how great the needs are and can see so clearly why God has called us to be part of it.
It would be impossible to recount all the details of our trip, but here are some of the most precious moments that are etched in our memory.
The Partnership of Believers
Chihuahua City, Mexico. A massive, sprawling metropolis with over a million people, with churches scattered throughout the city. On our first day there, we had the opportunity to attend a local church just a few blocks away from the mission’s office.
There’s nothing like standing alongside other believers and praising the Lord together in song. Even as I fumbled through pronouncing the Spanish lyrics and lacked understanding of most of the concepts, I was floored by the beauty of the global body of believers. It is pivotal for us to realize that we aren’t the center of what God is doing – we are a small part of an international team working to bring His glory to the world. He is the purpose for all we do and He also is the one working through us. What a privilege to join our great God in this wonderful task of reaching the nations!
Missionary Training Center
Outside of the sprawling cityscape of Chihuahua City, Mexico lies a small ranch nestled in the foothills of the mountains. Here Mexican believers, and those from other Spanish speaking countries in the region, receive the cross-cultural training they need to go into tribal groups in Mexico and around the world.
All the staff and a few students prepared a discada for us – a traditional northern Mexican taco dish cooked with onions and bell pepper and different kinds of meat. It was delicious to be sure, but even more heavenly was our fellowship with the people there. Jumping between Spanish and English with the help of some of our bilingual friends, we asked questions about their ministry and found out about the great needs they have for teachers, mentors, and support staff. Together we shared our testimonies of how God had worked in our hearts to bring us to the field of Mexico, and rejoiced at his goodness in orchestrating all of this.
Although we are not likely to start out serving at the Missionary Training Center, if they needed us in the future we would be more than happy to join this team. Their hearts are for equipping students for future ministry, but also for investing in their lives now, pouring out wisdom and encouragement to all who join them.
Our Future Workplace!
The day we got to visit the Bible Institute was what truly filled us with passion and excitement for returning as soon as we can. On this day we got to tour the building that holds the Bible Institute and meet the director. The school is fairly small with about 30 students attending at a time, but this enables the staff to pour into their lives deeply. And even here, in this first phase of training for the mission field, the program is incredibly intentional to prepare students both in understanding Scripture and developing habits that lead to spiritual maturity.
For example, in the first semester students take a class where they are taught the story of Scripture from creation to Christ, just as would be taught in an unreached people group. For some students, this is the first time they’ve heard the gospel in such clarity, and they become true believers rather than legalists trying to work their way to God. For others, it strengthens their faith and impresses on them the importance of teaching all of Scripture. For all, it gives them experience learning what they will one day teach, and emboldens them to begin teaching in their churches and in their communities.
Everything we heard about the Bible Institute gave us excitement and a sense of urgency. For they have great needs on the Bible school staff – currently they only have three full time teachers, and two of those will retire in the next few years. On top of that, teachers are having to take on administrative and support roles in the school that would normally be filled by others, because there’s simply no one to do those tasks. When we look at the ways God has gifted us – in discipleship, in teaching (Ian), and in administration (Abby) – we feel that we are prepared to step in and fill some of these needs. Although we still have support raising and learning Spanish ahead of us, we are thrilled to be returning to Mexico and joining the Bible Institute staff.
Will you join with us in praying for Mexico?
Pray for more workers to fill staff needs at both Bible Institutes (in Chihuahua and Mexico City), and at the Missionary Training Center
Pray for more missionaries, both Mexican and American, to be passionate about reaching the unreached groups in Mexico and to have strength to complete the task. Many of the indigenous languages in Mexico are challenging to learn, and the people often have worldviews directly opposed to Christianity.
Pray for a new group of missionaries currently moving into a new indigenous people group in the south of Mexico. The team is composed of a Mexican/American couple, a Mexican couple, and a couple who are indigenous believers from that people group. Pray for unity for the team and connections with the indigenous people.
Pray for a lower elementary teacher (2/3 grade) to come serve at the missionary kid school this fall.
Pray for the leadership team, composed of Mexican, Columbian, and American missionaries, that they would be able to cast a strong vision for the field and love one another well as they lead.