Unexpected Blessings

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!

– Tracy Frohlich, GEM Missionary

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!

God is Faithful

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

Angela to Mexico

In many ways, God has been preparing me for this season in my life for many years.

In 2014, I chose to pursue a different career path. I have always loved working with children. I spent much of my life volunteering with kids and was a dedicated member of my church’s Children’s Ministry team. I chose to work in the local school district and pursue a degree in elementary education. This crossroad led to some major lifestyle changes. I went from working a well-paid job and spending extravagantly, to working a minimum wage job. Despite the hardships, I loved the job and loved my students. I knew this was right where God wanted me.

My home church has a strategic partnership with an organization in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. I had the opportunity to drive down with a team and provide support a couple of times. I loved being with the children there and experiencing a different culture. These experiences provided me with an appreciation of Mexican culture.

This past year, I finished my BS and began working on my MAT. I knew I had to find a position that would allow me to student teach in my own classroom and satisfy my university’s requirements. This meant pursuing a new position. My university had a job search available on the website. On the site, I stumbled upon the opportunity to teach in Puerto.

When I began talking with the staff, I had not yet officially applied. I gathered some information about the position and began the application process, unsure I would go any further. As I got further into the process, I spent time in prayer and sought the counsel of trusted people. There were concerns about finances, but I determined if I was called, God would provide. Confirmation came through my time spent with God. Lyrics from songs, confirmation from those closest to me, and a general assurance this was what I was supposed to do. God had been preparing me through interactions with the culture, change of career, downsizing of my lifestyle, and a desire to live more simply. I was at peace with my decision to move, knowing this was where God wanted me for this season.

Angela Fontanelli, GEM missionary

Two Years with GEM

I leave Mexico to move back to the United States in a couple weeks and I have so many emotions stirring within me. I’m in a tension of being overjoyed at the thought of getting married in 2 months and then deep sadness to say goodbye to Mexico. God has made Puerto Escondido a home and the people that fill it, family.

In moments I take to be still and reflect, God’s faithfulness overwhelms me. I could write a list and never stop over the ways that God has been faithful in the last two years here. In the relationships he has blessed me with, the way He has sustained and grown Brett and I, the way He has given me the skills, wisdom, and strength to teach on the hard days. The ways He has protected the school and given it incredible growth. He has provided the most quality people to teach at the school. I could go on. It is so humbling to reflect on the faithfulness of God because it shows you His sovereignty and proves true that all is for His glory.

When I moved to Mexico, I was excited but I was honestly asking God how I was going to love these kids well. I had been working with children the entire year before and it was a struggle to enjoy it. God had gifted me with being around children and relating to them, but I did not love it.

As I moved here, I compared myself with the o I was working with who had a real passion for teaching and a passion for children. I would have days where I had no desire to be at school. Through the struggle, I heard God whispering, “keep going.” God was doing a work and it is only now at the end of my two years teaching that I can look back and be amazed by what God has done.

God has let me enter into the cares and depths of His heart. As you seek the Lord, He transforms your heart! My expectation coming here was that I would fall in love with teaching and with children. Instead, I have fallen in love with Jesus. I have joy to wake up and go to school now because I know that I will meet Jesus there. Children are a gift from the Lord and they are made in His image. Getting to spend all of my days with them is incredible. I have not only learned most of my Spanish from these cuties, but I have learned unconditional, pure love.

And teaching them is now something I enjoy because God has opened my eyes to the opportunity and the mission. He has crushed my pride that said, “You do not have the passion and skills to be a teacher.” He has replaced that with, “My love is better than life and you get to show these children that.”

Now I do not have to strive after attaining some joy, passion, or skill because when seeking the Lord, He gives me everything I need to do whatever it is He has. He doesn’t only give us the strength, but He gives us His joy, peace, patience, all of it. I can truly say that I love teaching at Manantial because the love of Jesus has overcome.

I’m amazed. And I will carry this into this next season. I feel so comforted and secure because I know that wherever the Lord leads me, whether it’s into a job where I feel completely inadequate or into a circumstance where I do not feel fit to be in, He will meet me there and He will overcome every expectation and every fear. His love is truly better than life!

Over the last two years, in many of the seasons that have come, I have prayed that these verses would be true over my life, and God has and is faithfully making it so.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63: 1-8

Annie Hindin, GEM Missionary