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In 1998 John and I answered the call on our lives to go to Mexico on our first missions trip. We were changed forever, and ever since 1998 we have been on at least one mission trip outside the US every year. That is of course with the exception of 2001-2002 when we actually moved to Mazatlan, Mexico to help our friends, Joe and Laurie Pacheco in their work there at their invitation.
...And again we traveled in 2008 to Mexico twice. First in March to spend time with Pastor Jose Pacheco and his wife Laurie Pacheco and members of the church there that they planted, Centro Cristiano Espiritu y Verdad and then again in June for 2 weddings!
Jose "Joe" and Laurie Pacheco were "Valley students" of Pastor Dale and Joan Evrist, our pastors at NewSong Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, when they all lived in California together. Joe and Laurie have loved the people of Mazatlan and other parts of Mexico for over 25 years of ministry and are tenacious in the area of raising up leaders.
They have been available "onsite" for such a long time there that it is definitely home for them.
Within their chuch are men and women of courage and conviction of the love of Christ. Here are 4 of those people....
"Therefore Go and make disciples of men, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
Alfonso Martinez has a gift of being able to touch the hearts of many people with just a smile, a hello... and a delay in moving on. He truly has a relational gift of drawing people to him and he is so on fire for God that after going with us on the teams to Mexico he completed the student internship at NewSong CF and immediately answered the call to move to Escuinapa Mexico under the leadership of the Pacheco's.
He met Erika a few years ago and fell in love with her and she with him. I remember talking to Alfonso over the years and always speaking to him as being like a Joshua who would enter the land of promise. The one thing I recall saying to him was that he should always "be strong and courageous". He is that.
He has already in the short time that he and wife Erika have been reaching out to the Tepehuane Indians, a people group in the mid section of Mexico that actually extend into North America, and seen people of the Tepehuane village give their lives to Christ and they continue to lead and guide them in discipleship. We have been partnering with them with teams to help them build a stronger well for the village and to plant Marengue trees that will help them as well.
Please pray with me that this exceptional duo would impact the nation of Mexico for the release of the people there into the blessings of God with every year that passes!
When I met Erika I knew that the Lord was not joking. Alfonso was definitely to have gone to Mexico, returned to the place of his family, to find a woman striking in appearance, strength, energy, and tenacity for getting the job done and with EXCELLENCE! She is beautiful inside and out and radiates the love of Christ to all who meet her. She has a servants heart and the skill to lead an army. She is such an asset to Alfonso and his pastoral/relational attributes.
They now have a little Alfonsito of their own who just turned 2 years old so they don't have to borrow other people's children to take photos with :) That's just me and my sense of humor....
In June 2008, we returned to the same place, Mazatlan, for the weddings of our NewSong missionary Alfonso Martinez to his new bride Erika....
...AND that same year within a few days...we enjoyed being among the honored guests "Padrinos de la boda" (Godfathers of the wedding) of Carlos and Rocio Gonzalez at their wedding a few days before the Martinez!
Devoted to the church, Carlos has been serving in every capacity of servant and leadership that he can possibly serve in, since as far back as I can remember.