In an ongoing effort to expand already existing mission projects in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America, CERI recently launched its newest initiative designed to make a difference in the lives of a large poverty-stricken populace in Mexico’s southernmost region.
During two separate weeks in August, two different teams of CERI volunteers kicked off a developing ministry in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. A medical clinic was established in the local Baptist Church during the first week. Dr. Saul Camacho of Matamoros and Dr. David Marks of San Antonio volunteered their time, talents and resources to minister to the health needs of adults and children in the area.
In three days, the two doctors saw more than 300 patients, treating respiratory infections, colds, flu and general aches and pains. Vitamins were distributed and medications were dispensed from a well-stocked pharmacy, and each recipient received a thorough medical examination.
The second CERI team was made up of nine volunteers from Cross Lanes Baptist Church in West Virginia, led by Pastor Seth Polk. The team ministered to more than 500 children in four days, sharing the gospel and displaying the love of Christ to some of the poorest children in Chiapas through puppet shows, Bible stories, songs, crafts and games.
“It was humbling to receive such a warm welcome from the adults, teenagers and children we served. They were so grateful for the small things we did during our time there,” said Lisa Stover, volunteer from Cross Lanes Baptist Church. “They have so little; yet freely share what little they have. If only we as Americans were as willing to share from our bounty of blessings.”
The strength of the relationships so quickly forged was evident in the tears, hugs and heartfelt “Dios te bendida’s” (God Bless You) given on the final day’s departure.
“I am looking forward to the day when I get to travel back and see my brothers and sisters again, and am already looking around to see who I can take with me,” said Richard Marsh, volunteer from Cross Lanes Baptist Church. “Instead of me going to change the lives of the people of Mexico, God is using the people of Mexico to change my life.”
CERI mission opportunities are offered year-round to Chiapas and will include medical and dental care teams, Bible camps, residential renovation and clean-up of unsafe and inadequate housing, vocational training and distribution of humanitarian aid.
“We praise the Lord for the hearts of the volunteers who participated in our trip to Mexico and successfully launched the start of an everlasting ministry to the children in Latin America,” said Russ Massey, CERI Project Director.