Melody Grijalva

Describe a moment when God spoke to you or showed you something during your time here so far. 

I am in my 6th month here in La Gloria as an intern. When I first got here, I had no idea what things God would show me. I have learned how to be a true servant of God and seek him with everything that I have. He has showed me that His purpose is for me to be a friend and how I can be a distributor of his unending love. No matter what a person is going through, nonbeliever or believer, or what they have done in their life, to always love them and be a friend. God showed me this in the book of Matthew when Jesus called Levi to eat with the tax collectors and the sinners. The Pharisees asked Jesus why he would eat with the tax collectors and the sinners, and Jesus replied with “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call righteous, but sinners.” He is with them, because they need Him. He has called me to do the same, everyone needs Him. God has given me great opportunities to put this into action. At the rehab center with the young women there, with the teams that come to serve, and with everyone around me.

Was there anyone or anything specific that has made you feel spiritually encouraged?

Someone that has spiritually encouraged me is both of my parents. They have always encouraged me to be in prayer before I take action. When I talk to them about things going on in my life their first words are “ Have you prayed about it?”. They have raised me to be prayerful and I thank them for that.

Meghan Sytsma

Describe a moment when God spoke to you or showed you something during your time here so far. 

God has been molding me so much in these past months. As I have dived deeper into my relationship with Him, my love for Him and His people has grown. My joy in service to Him has grown as well. Early on, God challenged me that there was little sincerity in my service to Him. I was not recognizing fully that I am serving the great and powerful God of the universe and my fears were keeping me from boldly serving Him. As I have grown to know God personally, I have learned everyday to seek what God wants, to boldly follow that plan, and to love others with full sincerity with the help of the Holy Spirit. It says in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 “We cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well.” That is what I’ve been learning, that with full sincerity in love we find delight in serving others. Uncircumstantial joy comes from serving God with an undivided, sincere heart. God has been drawing out these parts of me that are selfish and single-minded and replacing them with increased love for others, through His power. I am so blessed to be here and to have this time to serve Him and to learn more of His undivided love for us that He modeled so perfectly.

Was there anyone or anything specific that has made you feel spiritually encouraged?

In my first month here, I was rather discouraged by my lack of Spanish, and I think I had even begun to reject the Holy Spirit’s power to break down all barriers, including language. So when we would minister as the youth rehab center I would doubt that anything I was doing was really making an impact. As I grew in relationships with the girls there I became more and more aware of God’s great power to speak despite all. One day, when we were there, one of the girls gave me a card that she had hand written in very broken English. It encouraged me so much in realizing that even if I couldn’t speak their language, God’s great and powerful love in me was ministering to their hearts in unfathomable ways. One of the girls had been so encouraged by me trying to share Jesus’ love through His Word with her, even though it was just a simple conversation. Now my friendship with her is only growing more and more. I was and continue to be so encouraged by the power of God’s Word to transcend everything.

Jesus Hernandez

Describe a moment when God spoke to you or showed you something during your time here so far. 

2 months into Mexico and God has been growing me everyday into the man He wants me to be.  When I came here I did not know what to expect. I was scared that I would be alone and I was confused about what was in store for me in this new season. God calmed my anxiety and fears and filled me with vision. I am continually blessed with new friends and amazing experiences along with new eyes to see what He has planned for me. God has been bringing me down to humble me as a slave of Christ with no rights of my own. He continues to show me that I have to become the least of these and serve my fellow man. God tells me that in order for me to grow I have to decrease and become less so that He may become more in my life. As Galatians 2:20 puts it “I was crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I lived in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” God reminds me that my only aim is to please my master and in order to grow I must die unto myself. While here God has shown me that I do not have all the answers and that I am going to fail because that is who I am. Jesus Christ is bigger than my mistakes and as long as I’m following behind He will lead me where He wants me to be, one step at a time. The calling God has placed in my life is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:12. I am amazed and overwhelmed at how God is blessing me from my fellow interns that are now my closest friends, to the leadership here that helps guide and train me to be a minister of God.  

Was there anyone or anything specific that has made you feel spiritually encouraged?

The days when I am full of doubt and I wonder whether or not I am even making a difference or doing something with my life, I have been blessed with Brennan’s (the director here at CTC) guidance and Meghan’s (a fellow intern) encouragement to reel me back in and get focused on what’s important, Jesus Christ.  It is awesome knowing you are part of a team that feels more like a family that is so full of love and compassion! I’ve truly been blessed by those God has given me the privilege to serve alongside with in ministry here in Mexico.

Kailey Torres

Describe a moment when God spoke to you or showed you something during your time here so far. 

In the daily reading of God’s word, Jesus has shown me how His work in me is day by day. He has opened my eyes to the truth that, even in the moments and days when I feel like I’ve made no progress, He is still working. Sometimes I think about God as a king that’s distant and in-the-sky, but He is personal and He lives in us, and He isn’t afraid of the messes we make, or the spiritual splinters, bruises, and wounds that He has to remove and heal from our hearts and lives. God has taught me that He doesn’t sit up in heaven with a magic wand, and then zap us once He’s like, “Alright, I’m tired of seeing that sin,” or “Okay, they’ve struggled and become spiritual enough, they don’t have to suffer with this anymore.” Instead, our maturing and our progress is in the daily choices we make; the times that we choose to obey, to embrace the merciful pain of discipline, to humble ourselves, and to consider our trials as joy.

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 (AMP)

Trials are not just big, life changes, like someone in our family passing away, being diagnosed with an illness, or our parents getting a divorce. Those situations are definitely trialing, but it isn’t limited to those big things. Trials can also be the headache we wake up with, a badly timed joke that hurts our feelings, or just a day where we feel off. Our growth, maturing, and progress is made when, despite these small or big things, we decide to glorify God by responding in these situations with trust and reliance on God. Jesus, through His Holy Spirit has opened my eyes and reminded me of these truths, and with this knowledge, I can face my days, confident that each decision I make has the potential to bring me closer to Christlikeness.

Was there anyone or anything specific that has made you feel spiritually encouraged?

Something that has encouraged me greatly is the leadership of Brennan and Angelina (Director and a Leader of Ministry here at CTC). After talking to them, I always feel motivated to mature in the Lord. Brennan and Angelina have been a great blessing to me, and all of the interns, because they relate to us like friends would, and at the same time, like parents. I am greatly encouraged by their example of faithful, joyful perseverance in trials and the consecrated, down-to-earth lifestyle they live. Angelina’s mothering of her boys has taught me a lot about the nature and character of God and how He relates to us. She is always gracious, patient, gentle, loving, and kind. I thank God for both Brennan and Angelina, and their three boys that are always an encouragement to me.

Julia Whittaker

Describe a moment when God spoke to you or showed you something during your time here so far. 

In the couple of months that I have been here God has shown me so much about what it means to be His servant. He has been showing me how to glorify Him in all I do here, whether it be serving in outreaches or making beds to pour the same amount of love in to it. Now, whatever task I do, I am filled with joy because I know that all I am doing is in service to the Lord. I am trying my best to keep my thoughts focused on God whatever I am working on in order to glorify Him. It brings me great joy to work and serve the Lord and makes any task a lot easier and fulfilling!

Was there anyone or anything specific that has made you feel spiritually encouraged?

Recently we had a team come down from CCBC Murrieta to serve here for the first time and it was many of the team members first ever missions experience. Despite the language barrier for many and inexperience, they jumped right in and poured out God’s love into everyone they served. Whether it be to the children at the orphanage or the Haitian Refugees at the border I could see God shining through them in their willingness to serve. This encouraged me to open my heart to God fully, so He can use me according to His will, not my own. I often struggle with being hesitant when there is a language or even cultural barrier and this can inhibit others from hearing the Word of God. God continues to push me and give me challenges that would be impossible to handle without His strength, all I need to do is fall on my knees to Him and ask Him for help. We also had a team part of a discipleship program known as Youth Call serve with us for the past month and they greatly encouraged me in their readiness and desire to minister to others. It did not matter where they were sharing or to whom, they would always answer God’s call on them to be distributers of His word and great love. Despite possible nervousness or reluctancy they never backed down from their responsibility to evangelize to God’s people. This is and continues to be an encouragement to me to share God’s love and message every opportunity I get.