Mexico Missions Trip 2018
Thank you so much to all the ones who have partnered with us either in prayer and/or financially! We have seen God doing some amazing things!
As part of a group of young adults from Cross Church, I (Derick) was blessed to be a part of a mission journey to Guadalajara, Mexico. I traveled with most of my family, including my wife Jill and our youngest son, Samuel. Though Jill and I have a lot of experience in Latin America, having worked in/visited half of the Central American countries, neither of us had ever been to Mexico before this journey. So, needless to say, we were definitely ready to get back to Central America, but also open and excited to see how God would work in this new place.
This particular mission journey was centered around helping a pastor friend of our church, plugging into however we could help his ministry for the Kingdom of Heaven. He had recently returned back to his native Mexico with his wife and kids to plant a church in Guadalajara and much of our work centered around what the Lord is doing through his work there. We hit the ground running the day after our arrival when we worked with the pastor’s church on Sunday morning, mainly assisting with kids and worship ministry. That afternoon, we returned to the church to join the youth ministry in water sports activities.
The next day we had more of a relaxed day to hang out and be tourists with the pastor and his family on and around Lake Chapala, about an hour South of Guadalajara. Part of what I learned about being open-minded in ministry is seeking to be vigilant in order to better perceive how God could be working at any moment, no matter the immediate context. Even though this wasn’t as structured of a ministry day, our team took advantage of multiple opportunities to share the Gospel. While we were in Tlaquepaque for the afternoon I even ran into a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks from Nepal, whose eyes lit up when I greeted them with “Tashi Delek” and a smile, surprised to hear that I had lived 5 minutes down the street from their monastery for 2 years. Nothing says globalization like speaking English with Tibetan Buddhist Monks in Mexico!
Most of our time on Tuesday and Wednesday were specifically set aside for street evangelism. Jill had Sam in tow, and he is particularly good at starting conversations 😉 Sometimes I find myself skeptical of street evangelism efforts. However, done the right way, I have seen it to be very fruitful in numerous ministry contexts. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong sharing the Word of God with people because, after all, it is life for all of us, and God can use even the most pathetic human efforts for his glory; sometimes we just may not see the results if there are any. During our days of street evangelism, we were able to, not only share the Gospel, but also point people to pastor’s church as well as receive their information for follow-up contact. For this reason, I believe it’s important to work with indigenous churches while on short-term mission journeys. I’m encouraged to see this pastor’s leadership, and I truly believe that God’s blessing in this area has a lot to do with why their church is the fastest growing church in Guadalajara.
Wednesday night we were back at the church preparing for, and then leading, breakout training sessions on various aspects of local church ministry. I had the privilege of being part of the discipleship training for a handful of church leaders. By Thursday, most of us had a little better understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by God’s work in the church, and we spent the morning prayer walking many of the neighborhoods surrounding the area. Before going on to work at a local elementary school, we strengthened ourselves with some delicious torta ahogadas. If you want an authentic Guadalajaran experience while trying to avoid tequila, I highly recommend this Mexican delicacy! One thing to note about most Latin cultures is the relaxed sense of time. This is a nice change from what we’re used to in the U.S. regarding the relational aspect of ministry to people. I’m reminded of this because Wednesday and Thursday nights proved to be our latest nights, as we had settled a little more into Mexican culture. After a wonderful Mexican dining experience with the pastor and his family on Thursday, we said our goodbyes, and then reality hit when we were informed that we needed to be in the lobby of our hotel after a 3-hour-night’s sleep before departing for the airport at 2 in the morning. We had an awesome time with the people of Guadalajara and will not soon forget it!
To see a full album of our pictures from our trip, follow this link to our website: www.dillardfamily.com
Prayer Requests & Praises:
-We were very excited to see many people give their lives to Jesus Christ and get connected with the pastor for follow-up!
-Please pray for continued growth of the church and wisdom, strength and health for the pastor and his family.
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