Being a missionary helps you learn what’s important in a certain culture. For instance, the Mexican culture centers around relationships, they are a very relational people and love to spend quality time with their friends, neighbors, pastors, family, etc. That’s how we have found our way into their hearts. My parents have learned to drop everything for relationships. For instance, my dad was building bunk beds for teams that come to the base and our neighbors come over to talk. My dad stops running his tools, leans up against his truck, and invests relationally. Women stop by our house to see what my mom is doing and sometimes it turns into counseling times.
A missionary has to drop what they are doing in order to invest in people and strengthen their relationships.
I explained all this relationship stuff so you can understand how it is here with most of the people/pastors. One of the pastors, Constantino, from the YWAM Queretaro Bible Institute that my parents started, invited YWAM Queretaro (that’s our base) to his church’s sixth anniversary celebration. Pastor Constantino also asked my dad to preach at the anniversary. In Latin America, church anniversaries are a huge deal, so it was a great honor to be allowed to come and preach there.
The team that went was me, my dad, two of my brothers, my sister, and a short-term team of four from Illinois. It was about a three hour drive, and we picked up another pastor from the mountains, Antonio, at a half-way point. One hour into the drive, we saw the mountain that we were gonna be on. The church we were going to was on the other side of the mountain, but we had to go around a mountain range to get there, so it took another two hours. The view, though, was amazing. The village we were going to was actually called, “Piñones,” meaning pinecone seeds.
We left the base at 6:30, and arrived around 9:30. When we got there, we went to the pastor’s daughter’s house to eat breakfast. I don’t drink coffee unless they give it to me. Well, they gave me coffee and I don’t want to be rude, so I drank it. (Praise the Lord for sugar and milk!) After we ate, we went to the church that had a big tarp over the front yard, so a bunch of people can sit down in the shade and not get rained on. In rural Mexico, many people, due to deep Catholic roots, will not go into an Evangelical church. So, Pastor Constantino put up the big tarp so everybody in the village would come to the event, and not have to go into the church building.
The service began, and we sang some older songs which I knew. (It kinda surprised me that I knew them!) After that, my dad started preaching in Spanish, which was really out of his comfort zone, but he did it anyway. (Way to go, dad!) Then, Dominic, a YWAM-er visiting our base, gave his testimony and we went to lunch.
After lunch, I thought there was going to be more preaching, but it turned to be more like a concert with different people singing Norteño/Huapango. This type of music is similar to what you hear when you go to a Mexican restaurant. It’s often played very loud and has a lot of accordion in it, which I liked. A lot of the other people on our YWAM team weren’t used to this kind of music, so they got to have a new experience!
The second half of the day was more relaxed, so we kind of walked around the church grounds and talked to people. At 9:00 p.m., the concert and celebration ended. We thought the service was going to take 3, maybe 4 hours, but it lasted 11 hours!
After a very long church service, we set up our sleeping bags and hammocks in the church building and slept very well that night. We woke up the next morning, and ate at the pastor’s daughter’s house again. Then we led the Sunday morning service. The team from Illinois (the DeSotel family), ministered to the church, and we promptly left at one o’clock to drive three hours back to the base.
That is one of the things I love about being a missionary. We often think of missionaries preaching on streets, visiting houses, orphanages, and preaching in parks, but missionary work isn’t always that way.
Sometimes, you’re drinking coffee with a pastor; other times you’re entertaining guests because they made a surprise visit to your house. Sometimes, being a missionary is sitting through eleven hours of Mexican-style music and listening to sermons. In these situations,
I have to remind myself, “It’s not about me!” But, my main goal in being a missionary is just to love on people and show them that Jesus loves them.