(First off, bear with me. This blog post will probably be the longest. It's hard to condense the story of how we got to where we are that has spanned the past 10 years. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this short novel!)
We are excited to announce we are moving to Mexico in the end of June! Although we officially decided to move in December 2017, serving in Mexico has been on our hearts for the past 10 years. As most of you know my parents having been serving as missionaries in Mexico for going on 15 years now. Rich and I first met in Mexico when he came down on a mission’s trip with his church. We both knew we would one day end up back on the mission’s field, most likely in Mexico. But since then, life went on. We started having kids and got content living in California. Our initial desire to one day be missionaries was replaced by career goals and wanting to stay in our comfort zone.
Recently this past year, the Lord started to lay Mexico on our hearts again. At first, I was very resistant. Any time Rich would bring up serving in Mexico, I would quickly shut down the conversation. Between the two of us, I had the hardest time with the idea of giving up all the comforts of living in the States. In December 2017, we went down to Mexico to visit my family for Christmas. During the trip, I asked the Lord to soften my heart if He wanted us to move. While on our trip we saw the Lord moving in the local ministries. A passion to serve ignited in our hearts in a way that we could only say was the Lord’s doing. It was shortly after this trip, that after much time of prayer we decided to make the decision to move.
We are moving to a city called Vicente Guerrero which lies 169 miles south of the San Diego border (about 4 hours driving time). Within Vicente Guerrero is a community called Zarahembla. Several missionaries from the States and Canada live in this community. Interestingly, the community of Zarahembla has a lot of Mormon history and several Mormons still live there today. There are other close by communities that reside in Vicente Guerrero as well. These communities are inhabited by indigenous people groups from southern Mexico. Some of these locals don’t speak Spanish but their native languages of Mesteco and Triqui. There is a lot of poverty in this area of Mexico and its surrounding cities. It’s unfortunately common to find people living out of houses they’ve constructed from pieces of plastic, tarps, and cardboard. Most locals work in the fields and survive off very little income.
( part of Zarahembla, Vicente Guerrero, Baja California)
As I mentioned before, there are several different families of missionaries living in Zarahembla. They each have different ministries. One of the bigger ministries is called Heart Ministries. Groups from the States and Canada come down for a week and build houses for the locals who desperately need a better shelter. Building houses as become a great tool to connect with locals and share the gospel. Though it is the groups that come down to build the houses, the missionaries follow up and stay connected with the families receiving the houses to help them get plugged in to local churches.
My parents have a few different ministries. Since they first moved down, the Lord started bringing children to them through the local children’s protective service to take into their home and care for. Most of these children are not orphans but cannot live with their families due to neglect or physical/sexual abuse. Over the years some children have come and gone but most of them have stayed permanently and have now lived with my parents for several years. In fact, my parents are in the process of trying to adopt 8 of them! Currently my parents are caring for 11 children, most of them are in their teens, but as some move out, the Lord keeps bringing more. Caring for so many children is not easy, especially with the difficult pasts that the children have.
My parents are also board members of a local ministry called Missionaries in Training (MIT). This ministry raises up local young men, most of them with rough pasts, to get back on their feet and serve in ministry.
How do we see ourselves serving?
We don’t feel we are supposed to start our own ministry or church but rather come alongside what God is already doing through the local missionaries. We see ourselves as supporters to help in areas that are needed.
In terms of my parent’s, they’ve needed help for a long time. For years they had been praying for the right couple to come down and help ease the work load that comes with caring for so many people. Over the past few years I have seen my parent’s starting to burn out and have even seen their health decline. My mom said it this way, “We are surviving but not thriving.”. We knew of this need, and so were praying also, but until recently I didn’t realize it would be us! We will help my parents by taking on the time consuming everyday tasks that come with taking care of a large household. This could be cooking meals, overseeing the teens with their homework and chores, driving the kids to school…etc. This will enable my parents to have time to address administration needs of their ministry and have some recuperating sanity time when needed. Recently they’ve seen their ministries growing internationally, so at times we will take care of all the kids while they are away on trips.
As mentioned above, my parents are also on the board of a ministry called MIT. Part of this ministry involves teaching music, and Rich has been asked to become one of the teachers. Having another music teacher will allow for more students to attend.
Another local missionary is teaching a group of young adults how to play instruments in order that they could become a worship band for their church. Upon hearing that we would be moving down, he asked Rich if he would help teach.
Alongside homeschooling my own three kids, my mom has asked that I help to homeschool some of the young kids they care for who she is currently homeschooling.
We don’t know how long we will be living in Vicente Guerrero but we are committing to at least one year. (My parents said the same thing and have now been there for 15!)
We are being sent out as missionaries through Loving the World Ministries, a mission’s organization through Journey the Church. Journey is already very connected to the same area we are going to live and serve. They take groups down twice a year and their mission’s director, Kim Rodriguez, is a long-time friend of ours and has also served as a missionary in Mexico. She was even my high school English teacher. As a prayer covering and supporting church for us they have a great understanding of what life will be like for us living in Mexico. They also have the capability to accept donations from those who would like to financially support us.
We have a lot of prayer requests and would love for you to join us in praying over them.
Continued guidance and wisdom from the Lord in making decisions that involve the move.
Favor from the Mexican government in obtaining Temporary Resident Visas
Housing : we are still looking for the right home to settle in. At this point we might be temporarily staying with other missionaries or in a classroom as well continue to search for our place.
Financial support. We are not sure how we will financially be supported, but we have complete faith in the Lord that if He has called us to move to Mexico, he will provide.
Please pray for the health of our family. Ever since Christmas our family has been hit nonstop by one illness after the other
Lastly, please pray for us as a couple that we will be united in every decision being made and won’t let the tension and stress that typically comes with moving or a major life change get between us. (just being real!)
If the Lord lays it on your heart to financially support us, you can do so by sending a check to:
Loving the World Ministries
P.O. box 235 Somis, CA 93066
We would love to stay connected and keep you updated with our adventures in Mexico.