a place to belong, a place to become

We are finishing 17+ years of ministry in Mexico; we are sorting through our stuff, passing the baton… and my husband has been putting up (very) old pictures on Facebook. Some of those years of ministry were amazing – incredible growth, excitement, impact. As I reflected on that time, I realized we were living out our values. Those values are still relevant today as we move forward…

Faith: We all trusted God for big things and took steps of faith. We moved our family – with four young children – to a different country and started something new where there was nothing. We led an international team; many of them had also left their comfort zone and moved from their homes. Students took steps of faith to begin a relationship with God even when they faced family and friends’ rejection. Staff and students shared their faith boldly with others, took on new responsibilities, asked God to take charge of their future.

Where is God asking me to take a step of faith?

Development – Growth:  We committed to growing in community and building others to be all they could be. We prayed for our teammates and disciples, and created and followed through with semester plans for basic teaching, experiences, retreats, summer projects, etc. to provide an environment for growth. We worked in teams and shared leadership often. We moved out of the way and let others lead. We invited in teams from other places. We learned from them; they learned from us.

What am I doing to develop personally and those around me?

Effectiveness – Fruitfulness: We cared about results. Effectiveness meant fruit of changed lives – for eternity. We evaluated our goals and progress regularly – individually and organizationally. We asked for feedback from others and willingly changed the format of the meetings, tried crazy ideas, invented new materials. Sometimes we did something different to compensate for a weakness, sometimes to adjust for incredible growth. We did not settle for status quo.

Have I done an honest evaluation lately? Do I need to make some changes for greater effectiveness?

Unity: Our work on campus had incredible unity in purpose and personal relationships. Different cultures, backgrounds, fields of study, ages came to learn and grow together. Our early theme was ” a place to belong, a place to become“. Our teams of staff and students worked hard, side by side to create amazing skits, parties, outreaches, and conferences for a vision and passion bigger than themselves. Students sacrificed their time and money for each other. New people were welcome and deep, authentic, caring, long-lasting friendships came from studying the Word, praying, …and eating and playing together!  

What am I doing to build unity with my team or my organization?  

Integrity: Along with all the fun, there were also tough times. We confronted lying, bribery, immorality, interpersonal conflicts, suicide attempts – temptations and spiritual battles of all kinds. We did not ignore, hide, or excuse any behavior that might be a seed of division between people and God. We taught that God cares about every part of us; we cannot have sin in one area without it affecting the rest of us. We tried to live that example also.

Is there an area of my life that lacks integrity?

How would you respond to those questions? How do you make where you work or minister a place to belong and a place to become?

(**If you were involved in the ministry, please share with us what you remember!)

11 thoughts on “a place to belong, a place to become

  1. Pingback: Win-Build-Send Blog Tour 2015 | eQuipping for eMinistry

  2. I could write a book with so many memories and anecdotes of those years (maybe I should!) Xalapa was my first assignment as a staff. I’ve always been very thankful to God he sent me there as I was trained so well by you Terry and Steve. Not only ministry knowledge and skills but life. I find myself these days raising three boys and I’m reminded of the godly example I saw in you two as you raised your kids. Your family is impacting my family even now. Thanks!! I gave birth to Paul three weeks ago and my hormones are all over the place (together with all the testosterone that is flooding my home) so I’m in tears now as I think of yo guys leaving Mexico. I’m happy for the great new adventure God has prepare for you as you continue to impact the lives of so many people like me. God bless you and may He provide all you need for your changes and transitions. Love, Paola


    • I think a book would be a great idea, Paola! 🙂 It has been a privilege and a blessing to serve Him with you – and I am so grateful that we can stay in touch as God sends us in different directions. A good friend once told us, “It is the Great Commission that brings us together, and the Great Commission that takes us apart.” I look forward to when our paths will cross again! Much love to you and all your rowdy, wonderful boys!


  3. wow, can’t stop thinking of all those great moments I had with Vida and the the awesome friends I made. And I believe nothing of this would have been possible if you hadn’t accepted God’s call. I have always thought you two are amazing. 😀


  4. Wow! The “end” of an era!–and the beginning of a new one! This is exciting and significant… 17 years in Mexico! ¡Muchísimas felicidades… y gloria a Dios! 🙂 … So, my memories of your time there (in Xalapa) include the following: being at your home and seeing your youngest son scale his door-frame in a matter of one second AND hold himself there at the top like a cute, little monkey (maybe he was 6?). I also remember seeing all the home-school supplies and how impressed I felt just thinking that you, Terry, were homeschooling your kids in Mexico–talk about diligence and flexibility! I also remember the JOY of you guys–even waaaay back when I did my STINT and you two (Steve and Terry) spoke at our STINT debrief. Steve’s dry, measured humor complimented Terry’s warm, bubbly personality even back then… and every other encounter with you guys at CSU was also such a blessing and a testimony/picture of Christ and the Church (Eph 5). Thank you for being an example to the believers! Also, I admire how you guys really worked diligently to put out cutting- edge materials in Spanish at a time when they were more than scarce (what was that little cartoon character guy that had the orange outlining and looked sort of like an X-shape?). Anyway, thank you for all of your diligent and enthusiastic service to Christ and His Church. Saludos a toda la familia y que estén llenos de la expectativa de ver Su bondad en esta nueva época de su vida.


  5. Reblogged this on Leader Impact and commented:
    Enjoying learning and reflecting on the past successes of 17+ years of ministry in Mexico. Past success however never guarantees future success. Terry has captured some great thoughts on 5 values we need to carry with us as we step into our new future together.


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