Guadalajara, Mexico, is home to nearly 1.4 million people, with approximately 92.5% identifying as Roman Catholic. So, when Bellevue sends a small team of Southern Baptists to reach the city for Christ, where do you possibly begin? For Silvia, a Bellevue member and native of Mexico herself, the plan was simple: Plant a seed and watch it grow—the same way the Gospel reached her as a child.
Growing up in a devout Catholic home, Silvia and her siblings watched as their mom, Elvia, strongly adhered to the practices of her faith. She held fast to her belief in the deity of the Virgin Mary, the saints, and Juan Diego. At one point, Elvia had even considered becoming a nun. She took her faith very seriously and taught those practices to her children.
However, God has many ways of drawing people to Himself. For Silvia’s mom, the path toward faith in Christ alone came through a weekly reprieve from her four rambunctious kids.
“There was a Christian girl who used to help my mom at home,” Silvia shared. “She invited us kids to church, and I think my mom just saw this as a chance to get a break!”
One Wednesday night, church ran late, and it was getting close to the kids’ bedtime. Elvia knew where the church was located, so she decided to go check it out. The people at the church welcomed her, shared food with her, and invited her to service that Sunday. Not wanting to be rude, she accepted the invitation.
“I think everything she heard while she was at that church was different from what she thought it would be,” Silvia said. “My mom started to believe but still held on to things like the saints and the Virgin Mary. The pastor met with her and walked her through Exodus 20. Soon she put her faith in Jesus, got baptized, and started taking us to church with her.”
As an eight-year-old girl, Silvia heard a sermon on repentance while attending a baptist church with her mother. The pastor shared that everyone is a sinner and that we need Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. That day, Silvia repented of her sins, believed in Jesus, and received Him into her life as her Lord and Savior. By faith alone. In Christ alone.
So, what does one girl’s salvation in a town in Mexico have to do with a Bellevue missions project? Because one woman, decades ago, invited Silvia to church, she now desires to share Jesus anywhere she can.
“My mom has a big heart for missions,” Silvia explained. “I’ve known since I was a teenager that we are supposed to go and make disciples. When I heard about Bellevue’s trip to Mexico this year, I knew it was what we needed to do.”
Sylvia and her 13-year-old daughter, Anna, went on this year's missions project to Mexico. Anna was born in the United States and speaks minimal Spanish. As she shared the Gospel in Mexico, others on her team, including her mom, translated.
The Gospel came to Silvia’s mom through the intentionality of a local church. The Gospel came to Silvia through her mom. Silvia grew up, moved to the U.S., started a family, and shared that same Gospel with her daughter. Anna had the opportunity to take the Gospel back to Mexico where it all began.
“You don’t realize how far a little invitation will go,” Silvia said. “This girl invited us to church, and God worked through all of that. You begin to realize that we have to tell people about Jesus.”
We believe God is going to use Bellevue to be a catalyst for spiritual awakening in Memphis and beyond. This is a big, God-sized vision. But, revival sprouts through daily interactions with the people around us. Engaging in the missionary task means, as one person has said, “starting where you are, using what you have, doing what you can.”
There are many ways you can get involved in missions at Bellevue, locally, nationally, and internationally. “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). An awakening begins with willing, obedient followers planting small seeds along the way.
Join us in taking the Gospel to the nation and the nations. Learn more at bellevue.org/missions.