ROSENDO SALAZAR, Chiapas, Mexico – Fourteen people from Lawrence County Baptist Association recently returned from a week-long mission trip to this 5,000-resident village where God is a work.
The Lawrence County Association has had a partnership with the local Chiapas Convention for the past three years and is praying about returning again next summer, said Arturo Nunez, a regional Hispanic pastor in Southwest Missouri who partnered with the Lawrence County group. Although he primarily ministers in Missouri, Nunez is originally from Chiapas, about half-an-hour from Rosendo Salazar.
A thousand miles from the nearest point in Texas, Chiapas is the southern-most state in Mexico and shares a border with Guatemala. Instead of beaches or desert, it sports high mountains, low valleys and waterfalls. Its population of 4.7 million people has just as much in common culturally with Central America as they do with the Mexico more familiar to Missourians. Nunez said there are 17 indigenous people groups in the state.
“Most of those are unreached,” Nunez said.
The team from Lawrence County “did a little bit of everything” while sharing the Gospel: they staffed Medical clinic, hosted revival services and a Vacation Bible School (VBS), and finished some construction work at a local Baptist camp. They also provided backpacks full of supplies to each child at VBS. Four pastors from Missouri participated in a “pastors summit” for 40 local pastors and church leaders on leading churches in missions.
“There are a lot of indigenous groups in that area,” said Ken McCune, multicultural church planting strategist for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). “There is a seminary and some churches that I got to see among the Tzeltal and Tzotzil people groups.”
“The local state convention has seen the partnership model and adopted those people groups in the mountains with the seminary and church plants. It’s neat to see the generational growth there,” Strauch said.
“Thing we like best about this partnership is that it’s a true partnership,” said Steven Strauch, director of missions for Lawrence County Association. “The local church and pastor we work with are very organized and do all the work coordinating manpower for the clinic and revival. The partnership has worked. I feel like it’s one of the Lawrence County churches.”
There has been great partnering in Lawrence County as well: Six churches from the association were represented on the trip, and 15 churches helped financially.
“God is using this partnership very well,” Nunez said. “He is bringing the good news to that community and communities surrounding, too. They come from all around to the medical clinics and stay for revival. We counted 250 that came from different places.”
Evangelism teams would share the Gospel while the people where waiting in line at the medical clinics.
“The Gospel is definitely being shared in Chiapas, both with the Spanish speaking and native-speakers,” McCune said.
In all, there were 80 decisions for Christ during the trip.
BRIAN KOONCE/staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org