NWC Mexico EI Trip 2006

Blog of the Northwest Chapel Equipo Internacional trip

Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jon returns home, but more work continues

Unfortunately, I had to return home to keep a promise of delivering a presentation on Wednesday. Tuesday morning Martin G. and I traveled to the airport. We had a great time of connecting and debriefing.

I returned home safely and spent some great time catching up with Mindy. Oh yeah, the presentation went well.

The team was scheduled to go to Tecate on Tuesday to visit with the pastor and congregation of a new church plant there. Last year at Equipo, Tony Webb challenged the group to plant a church in Tecate. Teo took the challenge, and just a year later, that church is in place. What a blessing to visit this group. They team was also set to give a banquet for the pastors in Ensenada and Tecate much like we did in SLRC.

We just got a call from Christie G. Martin called and asked me to post about what is going on today. The pastor in Tecate was excited about the team being there today. He wanted to go out on the streets, play music, and evangelize in the city. Please pray for open hearts and opportunities there.

As the team reports back, I'll try to keep this blog up to date. I'm looking forward to adding pictures and seeing what all happened after I left.


As much as our time in SLRC was about encouraging others, we were greatly encouraged by what we experienced in Ensenada. There is so much going on in this resort town and surrounding area. It was great to see what God is doing. (My apologies for not having pictures for this post. They are still on a camera in Mexico. I'll post them once the team gets back)

We left early on Monday and traveled first to Tijuana. We met with Jos' family and picked up Geraldo and Patricia, two Argentinian missionaries to Mexico City. They work at the church Martin and Christie started there. They flew in for the Equipo Internacional conference. They traveled with us the hour or so south to Ensenada.

Once in Ensenada, we met with Teo Huerta, Martin and Estuchio, some pastors there in the city and surrounding area. Teo is the leader of this group along with Armando who together work to grow new congregations and plant churches. Teo is an amazing individual, full of the Holy Spirit and a great man of God. Martin has great gifts of establishing leaders and administration of a church. They make a great team.

First we dropped off Geraldo and Patti. They have been struggling as missionaries in the city, and they were worn out. They were to stay the night in Ensenada for some much needed rest.

Next we consolidated into one van and traveled to a small camp 30 minutes outside Ensenada. The area was very rural. Many people were not there as it was harvest season and most are migrant field workers. We were able to see a wonderful church facility including dorms and some classroom facilities. We are looking at using this location as a place to train and equip new leaders to plant churches. This is very exciting as it could continue to multiply efforts in this location.

Next we traveled about 2 hours south to another rural camp to visit a church pastored by Hugo and his wife. This was a recent plant, and it is bringing much fruit. There are about 40 people attending there already. Hugo and Teo have a vision to plant churches all along the Baja peninsula. Hugo has been discipling two young men that he feels are ready to start churches. We prayed laying hands on them asking for God's wisdom and guidance for them. It was during this time of prayer that I could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of these men. It was overwhelming!

After purchasing some delicious bread from a lady in the camp, we all packed in the van adding Hugo, his wife, and their adorable daughter, Damariz, and headed back to Ensenada. We dropped everyone off in the city and returned to San Diego.

Please pray for Teo and his team there. They are doing some great things and need our support. Please pray for Juan and Ramon, the 2 young men Hugo is discipling. Pray for God's guidance in planting more churches in Baja. Also pray for Geraldo and Patti that God would open doors for them and that they would be encouraged at Equipo.

Monday, September 18, 2006

SLRC Day 2

God provided much fruit this day! We were able to see so much today and understand so much more about what is happening in northern Mexico.

As soon as we woke up the day started to get crazy. Martin had 4 ideas for things to do that we didn’t know about when we went to bed. All of them would happen and be valuable things!
First Martin had the idea to call Pancho Bravo, a former pastor here in SLRC who hasn't been in the ministry since his wife and he divorced. Martin scheduled to have lunch with Pancho after church. More on this later.

Next Martin called one of the pastors that could not attend Saturday night, Angel and his wife Loraina. We had breakfast with them and were about to here about what is going in locally first hand. By the way, Mexican breakfast was incredible!

Next Martin had the idea for us to talk to our ABF while they were meeting. Originally, we wanted to interview Angel with the group, but that didn’t work out. I was able to share what we experienced the night before. The group seemed to enjoy it.

Next Phil, Martin’s father, called some nephews of his that live in SLRC. They had breakfast while the rest of us met with Angel. This was a great time to connect with the family for the Guerenas. We also met with the 3 nephews and their families later that evening. It was a Guerena family reunion! Martin and Phil were encouraged to see that they were all ministering in this city. One, Filipe, is a deacon in his church!

After breakfast we visited 2 churches. The first is pastored by Bernardo (see first picture above). It was like walking back in time for me, as it reminded me a lot of Liberty Baptist Church where I was baptized. Even the chairs looked much the same. We were able to encourage him, and he was able to encourage us as he told us of the baptism service that night where between 5 and 10 people were being baptized.

The second church we visited is where we worshipped on Sunday. It is pastored by Edgar. The music time was incredible. The passion these folks have for worship is wonderful. For a church of 80 people, they rocked the house! Kurt preached while Phil translated. He spoke from Matthew 5, Jesus sermon on the mount. There were some who cried as the message of Jesus touched them so. Kurt has an amazing gift of teaching. He took this passage and broke it down into the basics. Jesus said Love God and Love one another. The rest of the sermon was a series of examples of the principle.

After church we were treated to lunch by the congregation. It was great to get to know them and talk with them. There was a family who had just moved here from Phoenix. She is a US citizen and they all speak excellent English. She prepared a song during the service for us in English to show their appreciation for our visit. We talked with them over lunch and got to know more about them. I also talked with a man, Filipe, who had just gotten out of prison. He came to know Jesus while in prison, but his wife Maria does not know Jesus. This is causing some tension in their marriage, and they are having a tough time readjusting to their new life. Please pray for Maria that she would be open, and for them as they readjust.

The rest of the day we spent visiting the local churches and pastors. Edgar was our tour guide as we saw where these folks minister. One pastor we visited at the largest GB church in SLRC, Felix, was so discouraged. He was not planning to come to the Equipo conference, but Phil was able to encourage him, and now he and his wife are coming.

While we were visiting the churches Martin met with Pancho. He was able to encourage Pancho and provide him some wisdom and guidance. Pancho has started a Bible study of 100 people in Mexicali, but he is hesitant to plant a church because of the past problems. We met up with Martin and Pancho at Edgar’s house. We were able to pray with Pancho about starting this church. Please pray about this possible new church in Mexicali.

We returned to San Diego last night for much needed rest. Once we stopped for gas, we also enjoyed Dairy Queen, which tasted really good. Monday we are heading to Ensenada and Baja. It will be a very long day. Please pray for continued safety and for time and opportunity to encourage pastors.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they see your good works, and glorify your father who is in heaven - Matthew 5:16

SLRC Day 1

After some planning and preparation Saturday morning, we made the 4 hour journey from San Diego to San Luis Rio Colorado just over the boarder in Mexico from Yuma, New Mexico. When we arrived, we checked into our hotel, quickly, and then moved to the restaurant where we were to minister to about 15 of the local pastors and their wives.

The dinner, worship, encouragement, and games were fantastic. A great time was had by everyone there. We were able to meet and begin building and re-building relationships with the pastors. During introductions, we got to see the evangelistic hearts of these folks. Martin asked them to share their name and favorite Bible verse. These folks took the opportunity to share loudly, so other people not with our party in the restaurant could here the Gospel of Jesus. They shared John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9 among others. It was great!

The focus of this evening was to encourage the marriage relationships of the pastors. Tony Webb and Kurt Miller spoke to the group while Martin translated. One of the local pastors, Edgar, led the Newly Weds game, which provided many laughs and fun.

Martin also led 2 sessions of praise and worship. It was great worshipping our God together with these pastors in their language and lifting them up in prayer. I still have some of the Spanish songs in my head! This was a great time to serve them and let them know we love them and support their efforts.

Please pray for the marriages of these folks. Pray for continued growth in the relationships among the local pastors. They know each other, but they do not yet work closely together. There are over 6 Grace Bretheren Churches in SLRC that minister to different areas of this 300,000 person town. Pray for growth in relationships with GBIM and GBNAM as they work to support the efforts of the pastors in this movement.

After we finished at the restaurant, we tore down the sound and video and went back to the hotel for a much needed nights sleep. The next day would be a long one!

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:8-10

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Imagine 75,000 people, passionate about their country, 10,000 flags waiving in the air, patriotic music playing in the background, building a crescendo until the entire crowd screams at the top of their lungs, "Viva Mexico!" That is what we experienced last night as we took part in Mexican Independence festivities in Tijauana. This amazing combination of sites and sounds was then followed by a fireworks display rivaling Red White and Boom in Columbus. This was el grito, or the cry for independence that traditionally begins the Independence day. We likened it to a combination of New Years, 4th of July, and Mardi Gras. It was amazing.

The team all arrived safely yesterday with little delay or complication. Martin and Phil almost missed a flight in Newark, but God intervened and the airline pulled the tunnel back to the terminal for them. I (Jon) arrived at 11:00 PST, and Jack and Rosa Churchill picked me up and brought me to home base, their house just south of San Diego near the border. Kurt Miller and Tony Webb are also on our team for this trip. We have all started to bond and develop team work and strategies for future work together.

Last night, we drove to Tijuana and met with 2 pastors from churches there. They and their families accompanied us to the celebration. We greatly enjoyed spending time with them, getting to know them, and encouraging them in the Lord. Martin and Jos are working hard there in secular jobs as well as in the ministry. Pray for them and their families as they blaze new trails in Tijuana building churches there.

Today we leave for San Luis Rio Colorado (SLRC), where we will be giving a dinner celebration for the local pastors and their familes. We'll spend the night there and participate in the local church service. Kurt is preaching tomorrow, and I get to help with A/V duties. We'll return tomorrow night to home base. Monday is our busiest day as we'll be heading to Tecate and Baja California.

Pray for safety for us. Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people we meet. Pray for our health, as we'll be out of control of food over the next few days. Pray for Kurt as he prepares for the message in SLRC tomorrow. Pray that the people we minister to tonight will feel the love of God through us.

For God so loved the world, that He sent is only Son, so that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

2 Days to Go

The count down has started. Just 2 days until we leave for Mexico. The last week has been a whirlwind! God is so Amazing!!! So, to catch up everyone who I haven't told already here's the story so far.

Last Wednesday, I had lunch with Pastor Martin Guerena. He was telling me about his Equipo Internacional trip coming up, where the team will be equiping and ministering to Pastors and congregations of new churches being planted in Mexico. He mentioned that Josh F. was supposed to go, but was not able to. Then Rob and Mindy R. were supposed to go, but plans changed. As it stood, he was going without someone to setup and run the sound and computer equipment. Almost jokingly, Martin asked if I was free. As it turned out, my calendar was pretty empty. I had a few deadlines at a customer for late next week, but if I could be back in Ohio by 9/20, I could make it work. So, we began praying about it, and we both started to ge excited for this opportunity. You see, Martin and I have wanted to work together in missions for awhile. The timing has never worked out, until now.

After lunch I went back to the office and started clearing my calendar, and praying hard. I found a speaking engagement for 9/20 that I forgotten to add to my calendar. Checking with the event sponsor, I could not get out of it. So I called Martin to see if it would be possible to get me to the airport on 9/19. The original itinerary did not work with that schedule. However, God was at work! Later that evening, Martin called to tell me the entire itinerary had changed, and we would be working out of San Diego more frequently than he thought. I could get to the airport on 9/19 with no issues.

The next question was my health. The next day marked 3 weeks since I had vertigo symptoms, and my Dr. approved my travel.

The last issue in the back of my mind was being able to meet deadlines for my customer. On Friday, the deadlines were all pushed back 2 weeks.

As we continue to pray, we continue to see God work. Please pray with us through this trip. As we have time and an internet connection, I'll be updating this site with blogs and pictures. Feel free to post comments, as we would love to hear from you. We can add specific prayer requests and praises, as well.

Jon Baker