Monday, March 17, 2014

Journey with us to Mexico

The day the vision was born
This April our family will celebrate Jonathan's tenth birthday. That day will always be special for us for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious. God blessed us with a son, no small thing. Jonathan was born Willian Ivan Hernandez Melgar in Amatitlan Guatemala and his little sister, Jackie, was born three years later in Mixco, Guatemala. With the adoption of our children came a heart for Latin America and a vision to one day serve the Lord in the Spanish-speaking world where they were born.

That brings us to the second reason Jonathan's birthday is special to us. Ten years ago over breakfast at the La Casa Grande hotel in Guatemala city a vision was born through our dear friend Bob Henriques who suggested that we quit our jobs, quickly learn Spanish, and move to Latin America so Aaron could teach the Bible and Carrie could use her incredible gifts as a teacher for our new family as well as other missionary families serving in Guatemala. How could all this happen? I thought. That will take at least ten years! And here we are, ten years later.


Preparing a sermon for Franconia Baptist
It blows our minds to think of everything God has done since Bob first issued that challenge. Aaron went back to school at Washington Bible College and eventually left his IT job with America Online. The family packed up and moved to Dallas, TX so Aaron could attend Dallas Theological Seminary. Providentially the same mission agency (Camino Global) that Bob Henriques is a part of needed a computer guy. So for the next three years while Aaron studied Greek, Hebrew, and theology we developed lifelong friendships with many Camino Global missionaries serving Christ throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Initially we thought God would send us to Latin America right after seminary but He clearly had other plans in store for us. As many of you know God instead sent us back to Virginia where Aaron has had the unbelievable privilege of being the pastor of Franconia Baptist Church for the last five and a half years. As we look back now we see God’s hand at work in our lives and in the life of this dear church. God has blessed us with so many new friends and strengthened the foundations of this historic congregation. He has cultivated a new family at Franconia to reach the lost and make disciples in Northern Virginia.

Looking back now it is obvious that God needed to teach us some valuable lessons. We thank Him for we have learned since arriving at Franconia, and for the many friends we have made, and for the humble privilege of seeing Him breathe new life into His people at Franconia.

Teaching a summer module class at PBS
In what is the hardest decision we have had to make in ministry, we now feel that God is calling us to move again. This time to Puebla, Mexico. Aaron has been asked to serve as a professor at Puebla Bible Seminary, teaching Greek and Hebrew, preaching, and whatever else may be needed. He is really looking forward to the opportunity to train future pastors and ministry leaders how to study the Bible, preach God's Word, and make disciples for Jesus Christ. This happens both in the classroom and over steaming mugs of Cafe de Olla (come visit us and find out what it is).

The seminary is strategically located an hour and a half southeast of Mexico City. Its students come from all over Mexico and various parts of Latin America. Some of them even come from remote villages that desperately need the Gospel taught in the Aztec languages that predate the arrival of Spanish in the sixteenth century. These indigenous languages are particular meaningful to us since Jackie was born in a Mayan region in Guatemala.

Carrie's own adoption into an amazing family gives her a special heart for children who have not experienced the love of their own family. Besides raising our children, welcoming U.S. mission teams, and serving fellow missionary families, she hopes to partner with others bringing God's compassionate love and message of hope to needy and orphaned children. Her 15 years of experience teaching socioeconomically disadvantaged children with learning and emotional disabilities will be an asset as she finds ways to serve in an orphan ministry.

Please pray for us. Your encouragement will be very helpful as we seek to take this leap of faith to serve the Lord in a part of the world where the Gospel is not nearly as well known as you might hope.

- Aaron & Carrie

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