An Update From the Reddekops
MEXICO - Two and a half years in Mexico! This time was filled with focused Spanish and cultural learning, adjustments to a world with COVID-19 and a year of apprenticeship overseen by our colleagues, Steve and Lois Dresselhaus. We have been working with a new front-yard church in their community. These years have been full of learning, one-on-one conversations, growing in our faith and deepening relationships.
The Esterito church plant remains small, but God’s hand is at work. There has been a softening of hearts of those who are coming as they seek to understand how a God who holds the wind can love them unconditionally. Working through the book of John has been a springboard to discover who Jesus is. We pray that the Holy Spirit’s power, revelation and intimacy will grip this church and it will be a beacon of hope within this community that is shackled with addictions and heartache.
We were supposed to go on a home assignment this summer but due to the extra costs of quarantine hotels, and the extras of COVID, we had to postpone it for one year. We decided that it was a good time to visit our colleagues in Guadalajara, Mexico to see their ministries; and while we were on the mainland, we planned to visit family and friends in Guillermo’s home area of Nuevo Ideal, Durango. The kids had never been there, and Guillermo and I had not been there since 2004.
As we drove, we prayed that our hearts would be soft to hear what God wanted us to learn on the way. Travelling to Nuevo Ideal, Durango, we experienced changes of both landscape and the spiritual climate of the regions we passed through. Arriving in Nuevo Ideal, we expected it to be like what we had seen almost 20 years earlier, but a surprise was waiting for us.
As we walked into the Leawens Kjoakj, the German Mennonite church where Guillermo found Christ as a child, we were amazed at how God’s tangible presence was evident. Having the opportunity to preach, Guillermo shared his heart with tears as God worked in him and through him powerfully. Our “holiday” ended up being packed full of ministry opportunities and all of our hearts grew to deeply love the people there. Our children came alive in ways we have not seen in years. When we left, we all grieved, and it was difficult to return home.
Once home, as we prayed about the future, Durango was in all our hearts, and we started asking God if He would like us to go there in the years to come. This surprised us because, in the past, neither Guillermo nor I had any desire to serve in Durango. The love for the people of Nuevo Ideal, continued to grow in our hearts as we asked the Lord for His wisdom. In time we spoke to SIM Canada (our sending office) and then the leadership of TEAM Mexico (with whom we are serving here in Mexico) to ask for their advice. They both encouraged us towards moving forward with the possibility of serving in Durango.
Conversations with the church in Durango began and they are enthusiastic about us joining in the work there. God has been at work both in the community of Nuevo Ideal and also in our hearts to prepare us for this next chapter.
We hope to move to Nuevo Ideal, Durango at the beginning of February 2022. We will still be sent by SIM Canada on loan to TEAM Mexico and we will be working with the local church in Durango. As it looks now, our ministry will be training up leadership for home group ministries, personal/family counselling, and evangelism. It will involve a lot of visitation and hospitality. There is a Spanish Christian school there. Lavinia hopes to attend it for one year (2022-2023), and Joshua is also planning to attend. Samuel will be doing high school on-line, and I will be supporting him with that. Both Guillermo and I are amazed at how it feels like we are a hand fitting perfectly into a glove. These roles fit our hearts’ cry so well, and we believe that God has been preparing us over several years for this next chapter.
Home church: Aylmer EMMC, Ontario
This article was originally published in the EMMC Recorder, Vol 58 no. 5