I have been to Mexico numerous times throughout my lifetime…on vacation. I must admit that rarely had I ever gone to Mexico on a mission trip, other than along the border (which is a world of difference from the interior of Mexico).
So, when the opportunity to lead a mission team deep down into south central Mexico on a mission trip came up, I was both excited and concerned. Where exactly would we go? How would we get there? Would anyone want to go? Well, to say that the trip as a whole exceeded my expectations is an understatement.
It was amazing to see how God orchestrated every phase of our trip for his honor and glory! I made contact with a wonderful pastor with a heart for Jesus who lived in Mexico City and who was the mission outreach coordinator for the area. The experience was a wonderful blessing. Was it always easy? No. Was it fruitful? Absolutely!
The fearless Coker UMC mission team arrived in Mexico City on a warm sunny Monday afternoon and made our way to Cuernavaca, Morelos, that same day. That night, I tried to sleep through the loudest thunderstorm I have ever heard! By the way, Cuernavaca is known as the “City of the Eternal Spring” because everything is green year round due to the rain and mild weather.
On Tuesday morning, we were introduced to the wonderful people of la Misión Juan Wesley in La Joya. They were great throughout our entire time there. Everyday, they prepared delicious homemade food for us to enjoy.
The purpose of our mission trip was to establish a relationship with a mission church in Mexico in which we could partner with them long-term in order to help them fulfill their missional objectives. La Misión Juan Wesley is a Methodist mission church that has a long-standing medical clinic that has been serving the La Joya community for years. Due to lack of resources, their ministry to the mission field had plateaued.
One of their main needs was to secure the perimeter of the property so that they would be able to furnish and secure their medical clinic and mission church a little more. Therefore, through their financial support, Coker UMC was able to provide all of the materials and labor to complete the cinder block fence around the church property.
Throughout the week, the Coker UMC team provided physical labor towards the building of the fence. In addition, we were blessed to have had a medical doctor and two nurses on our team so we also provided daily medical consultations free of charge. Coker UMC was able to provide a much needed supply of medication to the clinic. The local pastor of Juan Wesley is also a medical doctor.
The stories of the people we met were incredible. One brother we met was legally blind and yet led an aerobics class twice a week at Juan Wesley. Another brother came in with severe redness in one of his eyes and our doctor was able to help him bring relief to his eye. He called me over and expressed his sincere gratitude for Coker, and he promised that the next day he would bring some of his wife’s homemade tortillas for our lunch; he kept his promise the next day (seems like a small detail, but it was done with genuine and wholehearted gratitude).
On the third day we were there, we began to help paint the outside of the medical clinic. It was great to see Coker UMC and Juan Wesley brothers and sisters side by side working for the kingdom. One young man, Omar, was passing by and asked what was going on. He was told that Coker UMC was there to help the church and community. Omar offered to help paint and stayed the rest of the day. He was there during our time of farewell on the last day. The pastor said he continued to attend church after we returned home, and about a month ago, Omar accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior!
Our farewell was tearful and emotional. We had made a connection, and it was felt; it showed and it was genuine. They presented us with simple, but significant expressions of thanks. Time and time again through the words of witness that they shared we heard the words, “You all have come to give us hope again.”
We returned feeling blessed, and knowing that by God’s grace, we had been a blessing as well. The pastor at Juan Wesley texted me a couple of weeks later and told me the church was in revival mode. Since our visit, the people had a new excitement and enthusiasm for the Lord!
In the last three months, the pastor has shared with me that 9 new people have been received into membership at Juan Wesley and 5 others have been baptized! And Omar accepted Jesus… ¡Vamos a Mexico!
Next time I hear that, I’ll be excited, but not so much concerned. God has taught us that when we say, “Here am I, send me”, he doesn’t send us alone, his Holy Spirit is right there.
To God be the glory, Pastor David