As Christians, we are commanded to spread the gospel to every tribe, nation, and tongue. We are called to go, send, and support.
Depending on your individual circumstances, overseas travel may not be right for you. But, since begining our partnership with Food for the Hungry in Bolivia more than 10 years ago, it has been right for more than 70 of our congregation! An astonishing number for the size of our church!
But not everyone has to travel overseas to be a part of mission work! Many others participate locally, through prayer, encouragement, financial contributions, sponsoring children in Bolivia, and participating on our Missions Team. Our church was founded years ago by a group of believers who thought missions programs were a critically important part of our being Christians, this commitment carries on today.
We have designed our missions program to spread the gospel locally, overseas through organized short-term mission trips, and through engagement of native missionaries in remote areas of the world. Below are short descriptions of some of our missions’ programs.
Juntos is a program located in Albuquerque’s International District. They focus on reaching at risk youth by giving them a place and programs where they can be safe while hearing and reading God’s Word. As part of the Navigators urban ministry, paid Navigator staff work with volunteers from several partner churches, including MCC, to provide evening, after school and summer programs to more than 100 regularly attending youth. This year with generous giving from our church, we are supporting a new program of workshops requested by the youth to introduce them to art, cartooning, pottery, wood working, and robotics.
International Students, Inc. (ISI) is a faith-based program at the University of New Mexico providing support to newly arriving international students from all over the world. With approximately 500 international students attending UNM each year, the opportunity to reach out and welcome new students is significant. ISI provides furniture, beds, housewares, transportation assistance, English training, Bible studies, and mentoring through volunteers who have a heart for working with international students.
Bolivia, through our relationship with Food for the Hungry, has been a vital MCC missions program for more than ten years. A short-term mission trip is held each year, usually in March/April. FH works with our team leader to organize the activities of these week-long visits to Villa Margarita near Sucre, Bolivia. These trips are about relationships that are led by the Holy Spirit to be transformational both for those who go from MCC and the Bolivians they meet in country.
Reaching unreached people, primarily in Peru and Ethiopia, is another focus of the MCC Missions Program. In Peru we work with a local organization (AMFA) to bring clean water to remote and mostly forgotten villages in the jungles where the Amazon River starts. As part of the team that drills and constructs the well, a native pastor teaches the gospel and shares about Jesus Christ through oral teaching and the Jesus movie. In Ethiopia, we support four native missionary pastors who have traveled to remote regions to share the gospel and plant churches in remote villages. In both Peru and Ethiopia, our efforts are bringing souls to Christ while transforming lives and communities.
As you can see, having a missional focus can take you across the world or just to Albuquerque. The programs with Juntos and ISI are a good starting point for becoming involved in our missions programs locally. If overseas travel is appealing, then joining our annual short-term mission trip to Bolivia is a great way to participate in a well-organized trip working with FH staff and our team leader in Villa Margarita Bolivia. Our missions programs in Peru and Ethiopia need prayer support and financial support. The native missionary pastors we support face many challenges including disease, venomous snakes and dangerous animals, armed robbers and attackers, and resistance from witch doctors.
I hope you are encouraged to learn more about our missions programs and to get involved. Please see me, Tom O'brien, or any member of our missions team (Emily Gray, Jake Gray, Sami Guiterrez, Tom Young, Vince Tidwell, Joann Talent, and Jennifer Ward) to ask questions or learn more about MCC Missions.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.