Andrea and I have been here in San Telmo, Mexico for one month now. I feel like we’ve been here for so much longer. My heart has already fallen in love with the people, children and church that we are serving at. Every time I see their faces I can feel the heart and presence of God. It has been so many years since I’ve felt this free. It has been so many years since I have loved just for the sake of loving with no burden to lead as a pastor. Every time I preach or simply spend time with the children here, I feel so close to God.
Among the many things that God is teaching me, one of the major things is how to love every individual we encounter. Every person, every conversation and every moment is an opportunity to extend the love of Christ. Living in the United States and being a pastor with a demanding schedule, I was always in a hurry. Even though I tried my best to invest into the relationships that God had placed in front of me, I always felt pressure and anxiety that I was not doing enough. However, I have been set free from the religious burden of having to be perfect since being here. I am walking in so much joy and freedom by simply loving the people I come into encounter with.
Before coming here, I wondered what God had in store for us. I knew that we were primarily moving here for Andrea to do research for her Ph.D., but I knew that God had something much deeper waiting for us. I can already sense that He brought us here to teach us about His Kingdom through loving broken, hurting, poor and children. He is teaching me that every individual matters. He is showing me that He loves every nameless person that the world has forgotten about. He is revealing to me that His heart is truly for the broken, hurting and poor. He is showing me that to be a true servant of the Kingdom is to see the world with His eyes. To see hope where it seems hopeless. To see life where it seems lifeless. I am learning that God truly loves every single individual in this broken and fallen world and He wants His people to extend that love.
If you happen to be reading this, I want to ask you for your prayers. As of now Andrea and I are only planning to stay here until January and afterwards we are not sure where God will lead us. Andrea has to finish writing her dissertation for school and return to UCLA to teach this upcoming winter quarter. We have been praying to see if God wants us to stay here longer or if we should even move to another country to serve. The only thing we do know for sure is that God has placed us here for His divine purpose.
Here are some other things that you can keep us in prayer for:
1. Teaching English. Andrea and I teach English to 1st-6th graders Monday-Friday at El Porvenir Primaria. It is a Christian Elementary School started by 4 Christ Mission. I teach 1st-3rd graders and Andrea teaches 4th-6th graders.
2. Rehab Ministry. I have been preaching every other week at a rehab center in our community called, “Esperanza” which means Hope. It has been very fruitful and the brothers in the rehab center have been responding very well. One of our former students at our school is going through the program right now. He is only 16 years old! Please keep him in your prayers.
3. Youth Ministry. We just started a youth ministry at the local church we are serving at every Saturdays. Instead of us leading and executing the entire ministry, we empowered a local leader, Jaime Faustino to be the youth pastor. Andrea and I are helping him lead the ministry. I have been leading worship in Spanish. If you know how bad I sing, you already know you definitely have to pray for me. Maybe even fast.
4. Church Ministry. I am preaching here on Sundays at the local church every other week. Andrea and I also joined their leadership to help them with the vision and direction of their church. Our hearts desire is not to do ministry for them, but to equip and empower the local pastor and leaders to lead the church. Please pray that God will give us wisdom and direction in how we can serve and equip the leaders at the church here.
5. Andrea's Ph.D. I know God has such big plans for my wife and her research on this community. God has given her so many visions and confirmations that he wants her to do her research on the children and people living in this community. Please pray that she would be led by the Holy Spirit for the next few months.
Here are some photos from our journey so far.