JUAREZ, Mexico - In 2013, Phil Miller, director of Bible Study/Discipleship, and Daniel Rangel, director of River Ministry and Mexico Missions, traveled to Juarez, Mexico, to bring attention to the growing need in the churches to receive training on teaching and sharing the gospel with others. The main focus of the training was how to have an evangelistic Sunday School.
"Being in Juarez, anyone can see that the need is there," said Miller. "The churches have the need to learn."
Pastor Jose Angel Hernandez, River Ministry Coordinator in Juarez, discussed with Miller and Rangel during their first visit that the people of his congregation had a fire within them to want to learn how to prepare and teach the gospel to others. The focus of the first trip was to prepare the Sunday School lessons for the people. They knew the stories and the salvation, but did not understand how to relay what they believed to others; they wanted to be more evangelistic.
Before departing to head back across the border, Rangel supplied Pastor Hernandez with CDs for resources that his congregation could begin to study from, and discussed how future training events might target new needs of the churches.
"Being aware of not only the human needs, but also the spiritual and emotional needs of the people is one step in building that relationship," said Rangel.
When time came to head off on their second trip this March to Juarez, Miller and Rangel had prepared a team of people that would accompany them to the area to better reach the age range within the community. The team consisted of Elizabeth Rangel, Daniel's wife, teaching preschool/children; Jassmine Posada teaching youth; Robert Cotto teaching adults and Rangel teaching pastors and general leadership.
On the day of the training, 64 people attended the conference from a number of churches in and around Juarez. In the training, they found leaders who had served for many years and some who started when they were teens or even children. With the educational backgrounds of the different age groups in Juarez, it is not a difficult task in finding leaders who are looking for better ways to serve more effectively and receive skills and resources to help them teach at their very best.
"Even if situations in their daily lives may be difficult sometimes, the people still have the willingness to learn," said Rangel. "They have a calling from God."
The goal of the trip was the training, but when the team arrived back in the states, they returned with more than just an educational mindset. Instead, they now have the stories of the people in Juarez that they can share with other organizations, people and churches to spark interest for future trips to the border.
"It's more than just a training, it's about helping the needs" said Miller. "It's not just an event, it's a relationship."