A Special Work God is Doing in Mexico and Latin America
There are times when we get glimpses into God's work that create a sense of awe and worship. I got a glimpse of that kind of God-initiated work in Mexico and Latin America last week when I participated in the Fieles a Su Llamado conference hosted by Iglesia Gracia Soberana, the Sovereign Grace church in Juarez, Mexico. Over 300 pastors and their wives from Mexico and Latin America traveled to Juarez to be equipped, encouraged, and strengthened through teaching, fellowship, worship, and times of praying for one another. Those aspects of Fieles 17 are much like any pastor’s conference. However, Fieles 17 couldn’t be more timely because of the work God is doing in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Below are a few of my observations.
In a part of the world where the Catholic church and Pentecostal denominations are historically predominant, there is a visible reformation occurring as pastors get exposure to reformed doctrine. I met pastors who traveled long distances just to hear solid, reformed, gospel-centered, expository preaching. One pastor I met took a 20-hour bus ride just so he could hear, and be strengthened by, the teaching at this conference. One of the men who spoke at Fieles 17 was Miguel Nunez. Miguel is the Sr. Pastor of International Baptist Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and a friend of Sovereign Grace. God is using Miguel as a strong, enthusiastic reformed voice in Latin America. Join me in praying for Miguel, asking God to use him in the reformation that is occurring in that part of the world.
I left Fieles 17 thanking God for Carlos Contreras, Senior Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Juarez, Mexico and Hellman Avila, Sr. Pastor of Mision de Gracia in El Paso, Texas. These Sovereign Grace pastors, along with their pastoral teams and churches, are being used by God to influence, and care for pastors who are hungry for reformed theology, and yet want to keep their continuationist pneumatology. Because of Carlos’ influence, the number of churches affiliated with Sovereign Grace in the Mexico region has grown to seven, located in cities like, Juarez, El Paso, Arandas, Durango, Guadalajara, and Costa Rica, along with a church in Chihuahua that is in the adoption process. Also, several other churches in this region are interested in joining Sovereign Grace. The favor God is giving Carlos and our other Mexican brothers at a time when there is a reformation occurring in Latin America captures, in part, the special work God is doing in that part of the world. And he is using Sovereign Grace pastors and churches in that grand work. Wow!
Lastly, I left Fieles 17 humbled by the pastors I met at this conference. These men from different parts of Mexico and Latin America face challenges most of us don't face. I met a pastor who has led his church for 24 years in a city that is dangerous because of the activity of the cartels. And yet, he, along with his son, are some of the most faith-filled pastors I’ve ever met. I talked with a pastor who leads a church in a poorer section of Mexico, and despite the lack of resources, he and his church are taking the gospel to some remote tribes in his area who have never heard the gospel before. Even though the pastors and churches in Sovereign Grace want to find ways to serve and support what God is doing through our brothers in Mexico, the reality is that we have far much more to learn from them. May the special work God is doing in Mexico and Latin America shape and change us in Sovereign Grace so that our lives and our mission bring Him even more glory.
Mark Prater is the Executive Director for Sovereign Grace and serves as an elder at Covenant Fellowship Church. He and his wife, Jill, have three married daughters and a growing number of grandchildren.