Now being in my 4th year as a GEM teacher, one of the sweetest connections I have made since moving to Mexico is with the students. Even though my first year was very challenging, God softened my heart over the summer after my 1st year. Since my 2nd year here, I have felt called to reach out to a few of the middle school girls and to also be genuine with the students I am teaching and tutoring.
God has blessed me so much by being able to connect with them and get to know them, and even their families more and more each year. Having students over to my house for dinner and playing games or being silly with them during class or getting hugs has been so sweet.
However, I have felt called to be more intentional in my interactions with them because I want to be a light for the gospel in their lives. So when I was given the opportunity to lead a small group of girls through a Bible study I was so excited! I would have never imagined four years ago that I would be in such a pivotal role in these girls’ lives.
I was also asked unexpectedly to teach 5th grade for a whole semester due to another teacher’s health. My time teaching the 5th grade had its difficulties, but I can see how God was using me in little ways in those kids lives. I was very nervous and felt very unprepared for both of those roles, but I knew God had a plan far greater than I could imagine and I knew He would give me strength in my weakness.
I have been so thankful for the different conversations I have had with several students! I can see how God is working in their hearts and I’m looking forward to what else God will do in their lives. I am even amazed at how God is using these students to show me how loved I am by Him. I write this as a reminder for myself and others – that God can use ANYONE to make a difference for the gospel. And He will often call you to step up in unexpected ways to lead others, and through Him, we are completely qualified for these important roles. I am thankful for this semester of unexpected opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone for Jesus!
If you’d like to support Tracy as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!
My summer was busy. Actually, busy is a bit of an understatement. In my six weeks away from Puerto, I spent time in four US states and all four time zones. Most of the time, I felt overwhelmed. Beyond anything I could manage or accomplish on my own. Through it all, God remained steadfast and faithful. He even graciously gave me quiet moments of solitude and rest in coffee shops, restaurants, and rooms where I was able to step away and experience peace amidst my chaotic schedule. Despite the busyness of my travels, once I arrived, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. Right, where God wanted me. I felt at home.
Now I consider myself to be a bit of a wanderer, so home is an interesting construct. I have lived quite a few places and visited even more throughout my life. As a result, I have many homes and none simultaneously. I feel at home and like a foreigner all at the same time, no matter where I am physically located. This may have been how many people in the Bible felt…
These people all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. But they now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Three of the four places I visited I consider home – surrounded by people I love; my friends and family. I was excited to be there and to see everyone. It was not the place that made it home, but the people. I was filled with mixed emotions each time I left one place for the next; often leaving before I was ready to go.
Surprisingly, I felt this same peace and excitement to be home when I landed in Puerto. The journey back was longer and more trying than anticipated but knowing I was back, I was filled with unexpected contentment. I am right where God wants me; in the center of His will. I am home. My home is not on this earth, but with God. If I remain in obedience to Him, I will get a semblance of home regardless of where I find myself. I long for the day I find myself truly home, face-to-face with the Lord. Until then, I will continue to seek His will in obedience.
The result of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness
will be quiet confidence forever.
Then my people will dwell in a peaceful place,
in safe and secure dwellings. (Isaiah 32:17-18)
-Angela Fontanelli, GEM Missionary
If you’d like to support Angela as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!
F I E S T A .
If you were to ask me to describe Mexico in one word, it would be “fiesta”. Mexicans love to have an excuse to throw a party, and everyone is always invited.
I remember the first time we moved into our house in Puerto, our neighbors had a “fiesta” for their dad, who turned 93 at the time. This party had a full band, tons of food (good authentic Mexican food), drinks, and dancing. This party must have started around 7 and lasted until about midnight. Parties like this happened over and over as our neighbors celebrated their families lives.
On the other end of the spectrum, our other neighbor celebrated the birthday of their two-year-old daughter. This party started around 6 pm and lasted well past midnight. Again, there was music, food, and plenty of dancing to celebrate the birthday of their two-year-old (who most definitely didn’t stay up for the whole thing).
I mention both of these things because I think it is amazing. I believe that this shows the heart of God. As Christians, we should be the most celebratory people in the world celebrating all that God has done. We should take the time to slow down and celebrate those around us.
In his book called “A Meal with Jesus”, Tim Chester said, “Jesus spent his time eating and drinking—a lot of his time. He was a party animal. His mission strategy was a long meal, stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship around a table with some grilled fish, a loaf of bread, and a pitcher of wine.”
Jesus spent much of his ministry around a meal. He spent so much of his time eating and drinking that he was called a glutton and a drunk. He used the meal as to build relationships with others (sinners and tax collectors). How much more should we, the body of Christ, get to know others around a meal at a party?
May we learn from our Mexican brothers and sisters and learn to throw good parties celebrating all that God is doing in those around us. Let us use this as an example for us while looking to Jesus who is our greatest example.
God has led me to the country of Mexico after college, but why? Why am I going? How did He “lead me” there?
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
Global Education Ministries
Life here in Puerto has become very busy for me. I have a new wife, Soco, and a large extended family to go with her. I love them all, and they are all wonderful. Sometimes the responsibility can be a little overwhelming. God has faithfully worked out all of our problems and in the process, is working on my patience and my reliance on Him.
We are currently building a house. It should be finished near the end of March. God provided a man, Mike Albutt, to manage the construction, and I could not have done this on my own. I am very pleased with the outcome so far and expect to have a wonderful house for Soco in a few weeks.
Yesterday, my step-grandson Mario fainted in worship time at school. He is ok, but it caused a stir. His parents are in another state, 12 hours away, and he is staying with his grandmother and me. God is helping me learn how to deal with the unexpected. I know I need a lot more work in this area, but I see His hand in almost everything. That word ‘almost’ is still a problem for me. But He is faithful and true to His word.
School is going reasonably well, praise God. The sixth graders are doing better in math than my previous years of teaching the subject in the middle school. I think part of that is because more of them speak English fluently because they have been in our school longer. And the other part of that is due to God growing me as a teacher.
God is faithful in showing Himself to students in school. There are a few students that are obviously struggling with God. That is good because we can see Him working in their lives.
God is also faithful in my personal life and my life in school and to the students that we are serving. I am so thankful that He has put me here. I will keep struggling with turning everything over to Him, but He will faithfully keep pulling me through.
-David Coulter, GEM Missionary