A Leaf on a River
My journey as a mobilizer started at a very difficult point in my life. A challenging experience had immersed me in an unspeakable pain. I felt like a shaky, fragile leaf that had fallen off a high tree into a river, adrift on cold water. Feeling weak and helpless, I just went with the flow, unaware He was about to take me into unfamiliar waters.
On the other hand, being in this position helped me to experience-firsthand-the faithful and generous love of our Lord, and His mercy and amazing power. He provided everything that was needed and surrounded me with caring and loving people. I was able to say, just as Job: My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you (Job 42:5).
How Do I Start Mobilizing, Lord?
In 2010, I received an email from the former director of the missionary agency where I served before moving to Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí (SLP), Mexico, where I currently serve and live.1 Unexpectedly, I read that they had been praying about starting a missions course called "Misión Mundial," by Jonathan Lewis, in my city and they were wondering if I would be the instructor and coordinator. I was speechless.
My first thought was that they, being on the other side of the world, did not know what had just happened to me. To my surprise, he continued, saying they already knew about it and had confirmation from God. I replied to the email and asked them for a praying period for me to seek God's will.
After that, I went to San Luis Potosí-my hometown-to have a meeting with the current director of the mission agency where they already offered the course. He agreed on my starting it. I felt completely nervous and unworthy.
Having confirmation, I needed to get materials, information, and instructions on how to start and carry out the course. The director gave me a box with flyers, a set of books, and prayed for me. I was in shock! I had so many questions: How do I start? Where am I supposed to get the students from? Who will teach me how to teach the course? He serenely said, "Just go visit the churches and invite them. You have taken the course before, so you know how it goes."
As I started, I felt I was going deep in the water, but the Lord kept me afloat. All I could see was the next small step, but He guided me forward step by step. During this time, I learned to depend on Him completely and utterly. Psalm 32:8 was constantly on my mind: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
As I continued forward, our loving Father opened doors I would never have imagined. He gave me His favor to talk to pastors and visit churches to invite them to attend the course. The first generation of students graduated in April 2011. We had 40 students from seven different churches, including three pastors and four denominations represented. At the end of the course, the students organized a missions conference aimed to mobilize their own churches and the city.
People from different churches would start asking when a new one was going to begin. Amazingly, the Lord showed just the next step to be taken before starting every new course.
What Do We Do with the Vision?
There was no map or instruction manual in this journey. Each generation of students was unique, with different backgrounds and needs. Therefore, learning to depend completely on the Lord and following the Holy Spirit's direction was of paramount importance.
One of the challenges we faced was with mindset-our mindset. Mexico has been a missionary field for many years. We are truly thankful for those workers who-in past and present centuries-came and shared the Good News. We praise God that we are the fruit of their obedience.
Nevertheless, Mexico is now becoming a missionary force. Mexican churches have received the blessing and it is our time to be a blessing for all nations. Hence, one of the challenges we face is to shift from a local mindset into a global mindset. Furthermore, we need to adopt a "glocal" mindset, which is taking into account both local and global considerations, i.e. think global, act local. Knowledge and studies on missions are important, but it is equally important to believe we are part of the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our generation and get into action, trusting the Lord will provide all the resources needed.
In 2013, God revealed another step: establish a strategic partnership with four churches in the city. The aim was to work together sharing resources, experiences, and knowledge, while respecting their own personalities. Our vision was to see Potosíno missionaries supported by local churches and sent to the ends of the earth.2 We called it Cooperación Misionera de Valles (COMIVA). As you can imagine, it was not a simple matter. It took us two years to launch the project.
One interesting thing was that some of the churches were teaching their people about missions while others were already training workers to go on the field. Being in different stages made the partnership strong since churches with more experience could share the "dos and don'ts." In 2012, the graduates of the first generation decided to unite efforts and join the Aventura Misionera Infantil project (Missionary Adventure for Kids).3 We continued celebrating it in 2013, 2014, and then every other year as part of the partnership work plan.
In 2019, we also became part of COMIMEX (Cooperación Misionera de México), the Mexican Missions Partnership.4
By the end of 2015, an extraordinary burden was set upon me. Some of the questions that came with that were: What are all these graduates doing for the kingdom? Are they practicing what they've learned? Are we producing fruit? The Lord once again revealed the next step: organize a graduates forum. We held the first forum at the end of 2015 and the second one in 2017. At these events, we prayed for one another, shared our experiences, and received instruction and information on different training courses and field opportunities.
Sending the Fruit
As I mentioned, it is time for the Mexican church to become a missionary force. Even so, there is a region in the central part of Mexico which is called "El Círculo del Silencio" (The Circle of Silence).5 In 2011, one of the churches in the city sent a couple to one of these states to share the Good News. After that, they also sent a young lady to a neighboring state. Others continue to be sent and move to that region. At the present time, two local churches have sent missionaries abroad: one to Africa and the other to the Middle East. Another church has sent candidates on short-term trips to Southeastern Europe and Southeast Asia.
In 2016, a pastor in the Huasteca heard the word "Eureka" in a dream. It continued to happen so she asked me about the meaning of the word. We found out some options, but she felt none of them were accurate. Then, she discovered that a small community in the mountains about an hour away from where she lives is called Eureka. She went there and discovered people were hungry to hear from God. They said that a long time ago, a Christian family lived there, but they had all passed away. She continued visiting the town and there is now a thriving group of disciples in this community.
As some pastors started to direct their programs, efforts, and resources to become a missionary church, some members of the congregations left. They did not agree with new focus and did not like the idea of abandoning their comfort zones. There were also some spirited graduates who were convinced their churches needed an immediate change. They talked to their pastors and leaders, but did not obtain the response they were looking for. They were dismayed and also left the church.
Without doubt, the pandemic was also an unexpected diversion in the flow, since most of our activities include courses, conferences, and gatherings. So, we were on standby. However, churches continued working and managed to keep active on missions.
In 2022, we were invited by a Christian camp in Rioverde, SLP to organize an Aventura Misionera as part their 50th anniversary celebrations. This was a major opportunity to get back on track and recover strength.
It was essential to learn how to take a good care of those who have been sent, in order to ensure their continuance. In 2018 the partnership organized an integral care course, delivered by a Mexican expert in the field, aimed for pastors and sending churches. Since this is a critical factor for us, we will need to keep learning and improving our processes.
Churches have developed their own agendas according to their needs. This is also an important asset since it helps us to learn from others' experiences and allows us to see how God is moving among the Potosíno churches. Nevertheless, networking provides the opportunity to be the body of Christ, supporting and encouraging each other. I strongly believe unity among churches is of the utmost importance in order to fulfill the Great Commission.
Our journey in mobilization has not been a smooth one, but we have witnessed the power and mercy of God. Many times, a sense of unworthiness and uncertainty filled me. Many times, I felt adrift. Above all, it has been a blessing to work together for the kingdom.
A characteristic of a river is that the water is continuously flowing. The Lord has kept us continuously moving forward even though all we can see is the next small step. Our Father has always been in control of the current. We are expectant of what the Lord will do in the next years and I am truly confident He will continue moving in and through us, in spite of being just fragile leaves on the water. Ephesians 3:20-21 has strongly spoken to me:
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.
Timeline of Events
July 2012-Second generation graduated.
October 2013-First generation in Tamuín, San Luis Potosí graduated.
July 2015-Third generation graduated.
February 2016-First generation, a group of 48 pastors and leaders from the Wesleyan Church in Mexico, in the Huasteca region graduated.2
July 2017-Fourth generation graduated.
June 2019-Fifth generation graduated.
February 2021-First generation in the Huasteca Mountains with the Ríos de Agua Viva churches graduated.
1 Located in the central part of Mexico, Ciudad Valles is the second largest city in the eastern part of the state of San Luis Potosí. It is two hours away from the Gulf of Mexico.
2 "Potosino" is the term used to refer to the inhabitants of San Luis Potosí, a geographical region located in northeast Mexico. It includes 20 municipalities and two major ethnic groups: Náhuatl and Tének.
3 For more information visit Aventura Misionera Infantil Página Oficial on Facebook.
5 The Circle of Silence includes eight states in the central part of Mexico with an average of 4 percent of evangelicals. https://converge org/b.ajio/about
Note, all Scripture references are NIV