As we make preparations for our move down to Mexico, we wanted to take some time to express to you our vision and plans for our new work down in Mexico. While our location for ministry has changed, much of who we are and what we are all about has not changed. In the same way, everything about who the Lord is and how He desires to use us is also the same. God remains passionate about bringing people into a loving relationship with Himself and we remain passionate about being a part of God’s heart beat- PEOPLE! In light of this we are super excited about all that this new direction holds for us as we trust the Lord!
If you don’t feel like reading the entire blog, here are the highlights:
- We are all about church planting among the unreached
- Because of this, we are moving down to Mexico in November
- We will start by learning Spanish & studying Mexican culture
- During this time, we will seek the Lord on how to best fit into the church planting work going on down there
Church Planting Among the Unreached in the Heart Language
We are serving with an international, theologically evangelical Christian mission organization. It coordinates missionaries, sent by local churches, to plant churches among the least reached tribal people groups. Using the vernacular of the people, missionaries evangelize unbelievers, disciple believers, translate the Scriptures, and train teachers and leaders, who in turn reach out to their own people and to neighboring tribes.
At the end of Matthew’s Gospel account, Christ gave His final words to His disciples. He told them to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. In the book of Acts, we see the Apostles, empowered by the Holy Spirit, fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission. In the example of the Apostle Paul we see him planting churches in the surrounding Gentile areas of the world, specifically among those how had yet to hear. Our desire is to participate in the spread of the gospel to those who have yet to hear clearly, to see them built up in Him and to see churches established!
As we sorted through this change of direction, we contacted a lot of different people working in different places all over the globe. Consistently, we felt like the Lord kept bringing the needs of the field of Mexico to the forefront. We contacted the field and some missionaries working there and to make a long story short, really felt like the Lord had given us His green light to move in that direction.
Here are few things we know about Mexico:
The country of Mexico is home to over 113 million people. It is 83% Catholic, having the second largest Catholic community in the world. While the majority of the population speaks Spanish, you may find it surprising to learn that the National Institute of Indigenous Languages recognizes 68 linguistic groups and some 364 different specific varieties of indigenous languages in Mexico! Many of these groups of people remain isolated from a clear gospel witness.
It seems strange to head down to the south, so close to the States, and even stranger to realize that there are more language groups down there than just Spanish! This has been surprising for us. The more we learn about the work going on down there, the more excited we get to consider how the Lord would have us fit in!
The Plan Once We Get Down There
Our first task upon moving down to Mexico is to spend time learning the Spanish language and Mexican culture. This will take place in the city and is vital to our future in the country for obvious reasons. Learning language and culture takes time, but it is worth it for the sake of clear communication and deep relationships. Of course the idea of restarting in a new country is already daunting, and to add starting a new language on top of that (our third foreign language for that matter!), well, lets just say its another opportunity to trust the Lord! At least we have lots of practice in language learning… 🙂
Once we near completion of Spanish language and Mexican culture study, we will begin to make some final decisions about how we will serve the church planting endeavors down there. Here are our options as we understand them at this point:
- We can start a new work with like-minded teammates with the shared goal of starting a work in a new language group. There are many needs in Mexico to begin new works. This will require us to learn another language after finishing Spanish language study.
- We can join an existing team of church planters currently working within an indigenous language group that needs partners (like we did in joining the Tigak church plant). There are a number of church plants in Mexico that need new church planters. This will require us to learn another language after completing Spanish study.
- Another option is that we join on staff at the national Bible school or Missionary Training Center that focuses on training national Mexicans in Spanish in the Word and church planting among the unreached. This will require a high level of Spanish language fluency.
We are open to, and excited about, all of these choices, because ultimately whether we are on a church planting team or training church planters, we get to have a part in seeing churches established where there is no clear gospel witness!
A Final Thought
We have been through all of this before, of course, and at times this has made it difficult to really put our hearts into planning and making decisions. We are tempted to feel beaten down by starting over, especially in the area of starting a new language. However, what keeps us going is our firm commitment that the Lord, in His mercy, has not only saved us and placed us in right relationship to Himself, but has also given us the awesome privilege to participate in the spread of His life-changing (and eternity-altering) wonderful news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. As hard as it may be at times, there is nothing we would rather do with our lives. So we press on, depending more than ever in His strength to sustain us!