Reflections on our time in Mexico
by Sally Frostad
How does one pick a highlight or two when you can honestly say the whole past eleven years has been a highlight of my life? Maybe we should ask Joel first what his were.
Joel would say hands down it was witnessing six of the local pastors from the surrounding areas of Campo Cristiano, learning, growing and graduating from the Bible College, Palabra de Vida, which was established while we were serving in the area. In the past five years we have seen God do amazing things through this little country Bible College. We saw eyes of understanding opened, false doctrines crushed, captives set free and one of the hugest victories was the unity it brought amongst the churches. Since that first graduation in 2010 we have seen another twelve students graduate, and it was awesome to be a part of this miracle.
We have had the extreme pleasure of having young people from Mexico, Canada, and the USA live with us over these past years. Most came as interns and we shared our lives openly with them, we learned together (they taught us a lot) grew together, traveled, worked and ministered together. We have seen them mature into fine men and women of God and we delight in their victories. This by no means has always been easy. It is like giving birth, once you see the fruit of your labor it makes the pain and stretching worth it and it fades away and all you see is the beauty.
It all boils down to relationship and relationship takes time and effort, few things are instant and our time in Mexico is a testimony to this. You cannot see lives changed without walking with people. One of those people would be a little girl that lived across the street from us in Rosarito with her Mum and brother. They were without food, water and heat when Joel and I, along with our coworkers, the Hoeben’s, reached out to help them. From there our friendship grew. Joel and I were a constant source of laughs for them as we tried to learn Spanish; Zulema was learning English much faster than we were Spanish. Zulema would spend as much time as possible with us and would join us in the summers working with the teams, all the time learning more English. That first year we saw Zulema and her family accept Christ as Lord and Savior, later being baptized in the Pacific Ocean, by Joel and a Pastor from the U.S. Zulema has lived and worked as a translator with us on and off over the years and has matured into a wonderful young women and now is married to a wonderful man and they live in Cabo San Lucas. They both have a heart for God and his Kingdom. There are a number of such stories, each intern tells another story of God’s mercy and grace.
Another highlight for Joel and I was going with a Mexican Missionary into the Baja. We traveled from Tijuana, south to Constitucion visiting seventeen churches. Churches that had been hit hard by floods the previous winter and churches that were so far off the beaten path that they rarely saw visitors or got out to see others. We visited fishing villages along rabbit trails, bringing encouragement to people who felt forgotten. We are humbled by the love and care we were shown by the Mexican people and honored to be used for God's glory, our lives were enriched.
When we first arrived in Mexico we lived in the girls’ dorm at Vida (Life) Mexican Foursquare Bible College in Tijuana. Joel had his bunk and I mine. It was noisier than either of us had experienced in our lives and the smell of burning garbage would often waft through our window on those hot nights. On the plus side, we would awaken to the sound of Guillermo singing, Socorro talking to her birds and the male students praying with all their might.
When teams arrived we were shifted around making room for the female members. We were in the middle of all the activity. The resident male students and the District Office were there also. We ate, slept, worked, learned and played with these people 24/7 and it was in this place that God cemented us in relationship with many of the people that would be a part of our lives for the next eleven years.
After a few months of living at Vida we had the privilege of living with a family from Calvary Foursquare Church in Tijuana. Oscar and Alma insisted that we be their guests for several months. It seemed to us like we were invading their home but it was God helping us learn more about the culture and customs which would prove to be invaluable as the years passed.
By the time we made our fourth move in the Baja we had more language skills and understood the culture a little better, but moving from city life to ranch life was a bigger culture awakening than either of us had realized. Although we were well known in Tijuana and amongst many in Foursquare, out in this new area they had little knowledge of who we were. Very little English was spoken in this area, so it was another adventure of learning and growing.
Over the past years we have worked with many of the Foursquare Churches in Baja California and the many teams that came to help the Mexican churches, this filled our lives with constant challenges and adventures putting many skills that we had acquired over the years into practice. Joel and I have traveled all over Tijuana, its back streets and main streets the good and the bad, and tasted the many wonderful tacos and other delights throughout the Baja. We have explored and visited many parts of Mexico. We have seen blind receive their site, literally, tumors de-solved, many healed of all kinds of diseases and trauma but I would say the biggest wonders have been the relationships that God has enabled us to build where ever He has taken us.
I don’t think Joel or I ever dreamed that we would have had the privilege of doing all that we have and all that we have seen and participated in, truly we are blessed beyond measure. We have loved serving in this capacity. There are so many who need the truth, “The Good News” and many more who need encouragement, words of life and helping hands. If you are wondering about missions or what you have to offer anyone, let me assure you God has so much more for you. As we give our all to him He opens doors that we never even knew were there before. It is a great adventure in the Kingdom of God
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever, Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21