If you were to hop on the back of a bird and fly South past Texas, 100 miles past the North-East Mexican border, to the city of Monterrey, you might find a bus to ride. If you were to get on that bus and drive 75 miles West in a straight line, you would eventually come to a rough dirt road in the middle of the desert. If you took that road for about five hours, you would come to a small village nestled in a valley, a small village where big dreams are being fulfilled. While you are still a long way off, the first sign of the village that would come to your eyes would be a shiny sheet-metal roof on top of a small church where only cacti once stood. For most of us, the sight of a church is mundane and not of worthy note, but for the people of La Costancia it just might resemble a little bit of a miracle.
For the 24 of us who joined Ministry Partners International on the journey that I’ve just described to you last March, it also resembles a miracle. We had the privilege of leaving our American schedules, our American perspectives, and our eleven different American churches, and taking a ten day journey of faith to help build a church and build the Kingdom of God. When we left, we were strangers with differences of opinion, when we came back, the denominational barriers had been blown away by a vision bigger than our own, and we were family!
God gave us the opportunity of ministering along side each other to complete the local villager’s dreams of finally having a Christian church in town. We were able to put a roof, doors, and windows on, and pay to put a floor in, this newly constructed structure! We were also able to build benches for the people to sit on! (-The people have been standing out in the blowing dust and the weather, under a sheet-metal roof supported by four-by-four posts to meet. Now they can sit down, and the local body of Christ has a place to call home!)
Eleven of us men were also able to spend one day completing last year’s unfinished church project in the nearby village of Seite De Enero! The women, and a few of the men of our group, were given the privilege of ministering directly to the people of La Costancia, and the same nearby village mentioned above, four different times. Passing out many Spanish coloring books and tracts, playing music, doing puppet shows, and witnessing outright, the ministry team saw many children, and three teens come to Christ! God only knows of the seeds of encouragement and salvation that we and the missionary we worked with were able to plant in the lives of everyone else.
The Christian women of the village, who graciously moved out of their homes so we could stay in them, were very blessed to see us men and women working together for the glory of God. Their own husbands are very opposed to committing to anything to do with church and Christianity. Such “nonsense” is supposedly a crutch for the weak. The women walk with their God alone and un-equally yoked. I think that seeing us helped them to take heart!
We laughed and we cried together. We worked and slept beside each other. We all worried together about problems that arose, and then together we watched God come rushing in and solve them for us as only He can. Through all of this, We received a blessed gift. We were able to catch a small glimpse of what the Kingdom of heaven is really all about, God’s people.
We received a gift, and we gave a gift away, the gift of a dream. Now the village doesn’t just have a church building. It has a light house right in the middle of the desert! This church is a light that will shine into the darkness of Mexico!
Part of the people of La Costancia’s dream has been fulfilled, but the dream lives on. The people long for the day when God will provide them with a full time missionary shepherd to lead them. The missionary who works with them now is so busy with the Lord’s work that He is only able to make it to their village a couple times per month. When Juan, the missionary, does show up, the people are so excited! A great number of them come out of the woodwork at a moments notice just upon simply hearing that there will be a church service! They are hungry for more than empty religion. They want the power of truth. The Truth has a name, Jesus Christ. Please pray that God will raise up someone who can work amongst these people and share that Truth with them!
We spent less than two weeks, about the length of most people’s vacations, south of the border, but what we did in the short time that we were there will influence us, and the kingdom of God, forever. The Lord gave us the privilege of spending ten days to help fulfill someone else’s dreams, and build His Kingdom.
When was the last time you could say that you helped fulfill someone else’s dreams? …Maybe it is time to start thinking about a short term missions trip. If you ever get the opportunity, hop aboard one of God’s shuttles to adventure, no matter what its destination is. You never know, your face might also take the shape of a miracle for someone in need!