A prayer request for Mexican pastors who face economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis led to a partnership between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Baptist associations and conventions internationally.
In a recent Texas Baptist River Ministry meeting, missionary Abraham Cervantes mentioned his prayer concern, noting many pastors in Mexico typically live week-to-week and have lost their jobs at factories and local businesses.
Josue Valerio, director of Texas Baptists’ Missions Team, sought to find a way to help the ministers in need. In the process, he learned about other pastors internationally who are struggling to minister in the midst of a global pandemic.
Pastors in Mexico, Peru and Sierra Leone assisted
As a result, Texas Baptists joined resources with associational and convention partners to assist 206 pastors’ families in Mexico, 81 pastors’ families in Peru and 25 pastors’ families in Sierra Leone. Texas Baptists’ gifts to pastoral families were made possible through gifts to BGCT Worldwide and individual donations.
“It made me realize, some of the practices that we have right now—because of the crisis—are going to shape the way that we minister,” Valerio said. “We are focusing on our core values—making disciples, planting churches and caring for those in need. Those in need right now are pastors and their families, and this is a way we can help.”
Valerio challenged ministry partners in Mexico, Peru and Sierra Leone to match the donations given by the BGCT or contribute a portion of the funds to each pastoral family in need.
Most of the funds were used to purchase immediate essentials like food. In Peru, additional funds were provided for ministry to Venezuelan refugees who fled persecution in their home country.
“I can say that all of them have responded very positivity to the point of matching what we are giving or going above and beyond what we are giving,” Valerio said.
Ministers and families express appreciation
Texas Baptists received several notes from pastors and convention leaders who expressed gratitude for the gifts provided during a difficult time.
“The help you all provided to pastoral families in Monterrey is a confirmation that our Lord cares for his children. Thank you for your generous heart that has made this possible and exhibited God’s love,” said Martin Suarez, president of Convencion Regional Bautista Santiago Hickey in Monterrey, Mexico.
Several Texas Baptist churches also reached out to the River Ministry and Missionary Adoption Program missionaries to meet needs in local communities.
First Baptist Church of The Woodlands recently partnered with River Ministry missionary Cristina Lambarria to provide food for 33 pastoral families and several other families in Matamoros, Mexico.
“We are so appreciative to Juan Lambarria, minister of Missions at First Baptist Church in The Woodlands, and our River Ministry missionary Cristina Lambarria for being the feet on the ground to deliver the food and words of encouragement to these families,” Valerio said.
First Baptist Church in El Paso also provided essential food and necessities to pastoral families and church members across the border in Juarez, Mexico.
“This is a time when we have a great opportunity to be present and to be a comfort to others in the name of Jesus,” Valerio said.
To learn more about ministry opportunities or send letters of encouragement to pastors, contact the Missions Team at txb.org/missions, Mario Alberto Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (214) 828-5389.