An Amazing Servant in Mexico

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Pastor Jose Padilla

One of the amazing people I met on my recent trip to Mexico was Professor Jose Padilla.  He is a man of no formal education, but who has a deep faith and a desire to help his community.  He taught himself and God used him to build a Christian school in his village, Kilometro 29, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez. This school began as a one-room school in a cardboard shack and now educates 300 students on its campus which also includes a church. The school has received numerous awards for excellence in education and the students regularly win contests for academic achievement.  The school charges no fees and many of the teachers and other workers volunteer their time.  It’s graduates have gone on to meaningful work throughout the area and many come back to volunteer at the school.  What Professor Jose has done with his school in these circumstances is a powerful testimony of his own faithfulness and the power of the Lord to work though men and women who are sold out to Him.  He is an inspiration to me and to many others.

There is no way humanly-speaking that this school should have the success that it has.  It is located in a village of desperate poverty that to this day has no running water or even any water source.  All the water is trucked-in weekly.  Each family receives three 50-gallon drums a week to use for all household needs.  They also receive 2 gallons a day of clean drinking water per household. However, the water station is only open a few hours a day and many families face the choice of traveling to the city for work, or staying home for clean drinking water for the family.  Unemployment, broken families, poor health, and drug and alcohol abuse are rampant.

Pastor Jose knows all of this and has been praying about what to do next in their ministry.  When he attended our training, he learned what God wanted him to do next. He said, “we know we need to reach out to our community.  Now we have the way to do it through Community Health Evangelism.” I was amazed that this godly man could have learned anything from us. I am encouraged because I know his commitment to the Lord and to sharing Christ with his community means that great things will happen in the days ahead in Kilometro 29, to the glory of God!

A Visit to Ocampo

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Ocampo, at the base of the mine.

We met Dr. Melchiales at the main road where he drove to escort us into his village of Ocampo.  It was only another 24 km but the last 17 km was on a gravel road.  However, the road surface wasn’t the difficult part, it was the fact the the 1st half the trip was straight up, then we traveled straight down a curvy mountain road into the village.  Ocampo is a village at the base of a gold mine. There are about 580 people living there, plus about 600 miners in the company housing at the top of the mine.

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Pastor Theresa and her husband Omar

As we arrived we were hosted by Pastor Theresa and her husband Omar.  We met with the small band of Christians in the church, about 10 people out of the whole village.  We shared the vision for holistic ministry through CHE.  There was passion and excitement for reaching the people for Christ.  The next morning we walked back up to the church 6 am for prayer.  It was a blessed time of seeking the Lord together.  The amazing thing was that they do this together every morning!  They are a small band but a true fellowship of Christ followers and I was blessed to be there.  They were very open and hospitable, fed us well and even filled our vehicle with gas for the trip.  I pray that God will use our time there to encourage them and that great things will happen there.

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Dr. Melchiales and Dr. Frick

I was also amazed at the dedication of Dr. Melchiales.  He has been attending the church there for a little over a year.  He only came to Christ about 8 months ago.  He said he really wanted to be sure about his decision because if he became a Christian, he was going to totally commit his life to serving God.  He is the only doctor manning the small clinic in the village.  He lives in one room of the clinic building.  He is clearly bright and gifted and could be serving in a much larger hospital with many more comforts, but he is truly dedicated to the people there.  As we made our way on the roads in the area, he was making several house calls, checking on patients, delivering needed medicines.  He is already sharing Christ with his patients and is making plans to take the gospel to nearby villages as well.  I am so blessed the we’ve gotten to know this servant of God and can’t wait to see how the Lord uses him to establish CHE ministry in Ocampo and beyond and transform lives and communities as a result.