How would you describe the mission of our partner in Mexico?
INESIN is a civil-society organization that strives to contribute to the construction of peace in Chiapas through promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue in projects focusing on topics such as prevention of domestic violence, positive conflict transformation, migration, personal spiritual growth, Biblical translation, and strengthening Chiapanecan communities. They also work to unite a group of people committed to the advancement of studies related to holistic human development and the social, economic, historical and environmental context of Chiapas in order to analyze daily life, education, family, religion and work. INESIN dedicates their work to the service of society in and from an intercultural perspective. You may learn more about INESIN by going to www.insesin-mx.org.
How do you fit into their mission?
I am an assistant to the Institutional Strengthening department of INESIN. I provide any assistance needed, including translation from Spanish to English, writing newsletters, updating INESIN’s website, and other various communication needs. I provide a link for INESIN to easily reach out to partners in the United States, including Global Ministries, and other English speaking friends. Also, when delegations come for a visit, my job is to be their host.
What led you to engage in this calling?
When I was a child, a large group of people from my church went to Jamaica to start a partnership, or sister church, in Discovery Bay. During their visit, they helped build a school the church was trying to construct. Even though I was too young to attend this trip, it still struck a cord on me, and I knew I wanted to do something special like that one day. In the past few years, I have felt a calling to do some sort of missionary work in Latin America. When I was offered the GMI position to work in Chiapas, Mexico it just felt right to me. I knew this was the path that God wanted me to seek, and I am certainly glad that I followed my heart.
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?
Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
What are some of the challenges facing the people that live in the regions where INESIN works?
INESIN is building a multi-purpose building on their property to have more room for ecumenical assemblies and will provide common ground for groups to meet. This building will also be large enough so that they could rent it out to other organizations to help with their revenue during the year. It is a great need for them but lack of funds are causing them to halt construction. They currently have the foundation laid but need to complete the rest of the building. Please pray that they receive the funds needed so they are able to complete this building. This building will be named Samuel Ruiz Garcia Salon, after the late mediator and supporter for the indigenous communities in Chiapas, especially during the Zapatista uprising in 1994. jTatic Samuel (Father Samuel), as the indigenous people called him, was their cuidador, or protector, and now after his passing two years ago, he has passed the torch to organizations, such as INESIN, to continue in his legacy.
What lesson have you learned working alongside the staff and students of ICF that you would like to share with churches in the U.S.?
The number one thing that I enjoy about INESIN is that they envision we all would be a society in which religious and cultural diversity enrich our coexistence through bonds of justice, respect, tolerance and solidarity. They believe that diversity is a tangible gift of God’s grace. This is a lesson that I wish everyone would learn to embrace in their lives.
Are there books that have shaped your understanding of your work?
- When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
- We Are Not the Hero: A Missionary's Guide to Sharing Christ, Not a Culture of Dependency, by Jean Johnson
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Zapatista Reader, by Tom Hayden
Which movies have shaped your understanding of your work?
- "A Place Called Chiapas"
- "The Pursuit of Happyness"