In the February 2020, the West Texas district arrived to Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico to serve through Work and Witness with the South Border district. The team of 14, representing five churches of the district, worked in various areas of ministry.
The team spent the mornings working with the local congregations on the district convention and campground. They helped to prepare the land for the foundation for a dining area, did landscaping and built the rebar structures for the building. But that was just the start.
For the last year, various local churches have been supporting the immigrants that enter Mexico from Guatemala. The West Texas team came alongside Nazarene Compassionate Ministries medical clinics to visit with the immigrants and play with the children. It was interesting to hear their stories of travels from their home countries (Haiti, countries in Africa, Cuba, etc.) to South America and then through Central America to reach Mexico. The immigrants have entered Mexico legally and are waiting for their paperwork to either stay and work in Mexico or continue their travels to the USA or Canada. The medical clinics helped many people who would otherwise not have access to medical and dental care. In addition, haircuts were offered by local church members.
The team leader, Rev. Steve Pettit, preached in two services on the topic of modern-day slavery. This is a topic that has not been widely discussed in Southern Mexico, so the leaders were interested in ways to help this world-wide crisis. Also, Rev. Pettit spoke with Mexican church leaders who are working with Haitian immigrants about the culture and people of Haiti. As a missionary, Rev. Pettit served in Haiti for two years and his personal experience was impactful for the Mexican pastors.
Rev Pettit shared this about Pastor Socorro of the 2nd Church of the Nazarene in Tapachula. “Pastor Socorro has opened up her church to them (the Haitian immigrants) for a place of worship and they host an 8 AM service followed by a breakfast every Sunday, which her people pay for. She also transports them, around 70 of them, every week, and she does that on her own dime too, and all before her own service at 10 o’clock.”
The team from Texas included four youth, and among them was Bailey, a 17-year-old. She shares this: It was only 1 week. 1 week of working on the camp grounds. 1 week of playing with the kids. 1 week of trying all new, genuine Mexican food. But in that 1 week, I saw God in the world more than I have in my entire life. I saw selfless, passionate, God loving people everywhere I looked. I saw an energy in Tapachula that I wanted to bring home… It was only 1 week, but it was the experience of a life time.”
Some of the West Texas district churches have plans to return to the South Border district to continue to build the relationships that have been started through this first team. The best is yet to come in Jesus!
Source: Partnerships and developing Work and Witness in Mexico