Last week we published the report of a missions trip in South Mexico Five Stops, Hundreds of Changed Lives. Today we will share the testimony of one of the teens that served as a volunteer missionary during that cross-cultural experience. If you are interested in this type of activity or in missions in general, let us know in the comment section below!
I’m Abner Gutiérrez Rivera, and I am part of the “Door of Faith” Church of the Nazarene in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, in the Ribera Zone of the Mexico South District.
I want to testify to the fact that my experience thus far in missions has been incredible. Everything started when I decided to enroll in the Cross-Cultural Missions course, and one of its assignments was to participate in a missions trip in which we would visit five towns in the state of Chiapas during 23 days.
After our Director of Missions and leader of the event, Freivy López, prayed and commissioned us, we started our adventure November 23, 2019. Up until that moment I had felt quite a bit of uncertainty regarding my missions call. I got to know the other group members on the trip, and I knew that we were placing ourselves at the service of the Lord during the coming weeks. Being able to testify to what He has done in my life is incredible!
The first place we visited was Soyatitán, and seeing the excitement that the brothers and sisters of the church had when they received us was amazing. For the first time, I heard them call me “our missionary brother,” and I wanted to clarify that this was my first experience and that we were all just learning. I smiled nervously, but inside I was filled with joy because I love serving God like that. However, I was worried that the church members had set their expectations too high upon seeing that they were so eager to meet us.
Something that touched my heart was getting to know some church members that work as Christian clowns in that area and are called: “The Pancholines.” As they watched us evangelize, they came up to us, invited us to their homes, and donated many materials that they work with in their ministry. The Lord had impressed on them to give us a complete clown costume, make-up, and a lot of games that could be played with the kids. I learned a big lesson: our God is alive, and he makes all things possible. All we had up until that point was a little make-up to put on for our kids’ program. It was incredible to hear the voice of God through the people that received Christ and through the clown ministry.
The second town we came to was Comitán, where we came up against some opposition to our ministry. The city is predominantly Catholic and tied to tradition, and there was even one Catholic group that had created specific literature designed to contradict evangelicals. But God was there, giving us his words for every conversation, based on the Scriptures. Freivy and Pastor David gave us some advice, and we witnessed the fact that the Word of the Lord never returns void. It was a nice challenge for me, to be sure.
I truly felt the presence of the Lord touching my life and making me understand the entire world’s need to know Him; it was an unforgettable experience. Each night I went up to the roof of the church building to pray and look at the sky, recognizing that he is always present in our lives.
The next area we ministered in was a rural town called Michoacán Colony. It was there that I had to confront several personal discomforts and even fears mainly, for example, due to the large amounts of spiders and cockroaches. Nevertheless, I learned another lesson: we must depend fully on God and give even those fears to Him.
I was taught a lot in the city of La Trinitaria, because Freivy helped me correct a lot of the ways I had been taught to evangelize. I am definitely still learning, and I got better going forward. That was certainly a challenge, but God and my teammates helped me in my weakness, making me feel part of a family.
The fourth place we went to was Union Juárez, which was also an incredible experience. We had the full support of the local church as we ministered through the clown show, and we saw an excellent response from the children as we shared the gospel with them. We ended up traveling to a community close-by named San Marcos Jalal, where we were able to perceive how God used us in ministry. For the majority of the children there, it was the first time they had ever seen a clown, and even the first time they had ever heard about Jesus Christ. There we learned one more tremendous lesson: according to the gifting that you have, God gives you favor before the people you come in contact with and works in your life in incredible ways if you are willing.
The final place we visited was Lázaro Cárdenas. How wonderful to be able to evangelize a person who started out arguing with me but ended up crying and asking the Lord to change his life. That moment was undeniably transformational in my life as a Christian.
With every new day of the missions trip I felt more and more strengthened by God in my life, and I know that this is my call, my ministry. I will keep working in order to seek entire sanctification and total dependence on Him. The neatest thing was remembering that at the start of the trip I had said, “Here am I, send me,” and was open to all that God would call me to do. And here I am, serving Him. I can only give thanks to God for protecting us and using us in that time.