The Mexico I Didn’t Know

1 Comment » Written on June 15th, 2016     
Filed under: Resources, Testimonies and Stories
Evelmyn Ivens works at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) in Chicago and graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in 2013 with a MA in Theological Studies. Enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. She’s passionate about issues of immigration, hunger, poverty, and human trafficking.

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico, however, this time was a different type of trip. Covenant World Relief graciously invited me to visit some of their partners in Mexico, and in 8 days we travelled to 3 different cities. One of the things I was most excited about this trip, was that I would have the opportunity to see and experience my country of origin from a different perspective, because every time I go to Mexico, it’s always to visit family, and this time I would get to see another side of mi tierra (my land).

Our group left very early on a Wednesday morning and arrived to the city of Monterrey. The last time I had been in Monterrey I was about 5 or 6 years old, and now it very much felt like a first-time visit. There we visited the Family Development Foundation click here:(FUNDEFAM), CWR works with them in peace-making and holistic community development. The first day we joined a group of women, who meet in the community Cerro de la Campana. We were told that this group began to meet in the community because for a number of these women their husbands would not allow then to go to meetings at the FUNDEFAM building, even though it’s walking distance from their neighborhood.

That afternoon it was the first time this group was having a bible study, they have cooking and jewelry classes as well. Yet, that day it was their bible study and it was on John 4, Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman. This is one of my favorite stories, and to listen to it in the context we were in, it was very powerful. As the women were discussing the story at one point the conversation turned into machismo and how to challenge it within their own families. What a moment! Because I know and understand the culture, I was very excited to hear how things are changing in the Mexican culture, and how community transformation is happening and that it usually begins with the women. To listen how they support and empower each other, and build community, was beautiful. FUNDEFAM is doing fantastic ministry, with good and healthy leadership, by breaking down some of the most rooted systems and cultural structures by helping women understand their value and their voice.

Our next stop was Mexico City where we got to meet some of the Mexican covenanters and visited a couple of Covenant churches. We also participated in an activity with MAEM (that ministers to the abused and exploited in Mexico). Before the trip I had been asked to preach in Mexico City, and because this year I’m trying different things I said yes. However, as the day was approaching and even though I had a good idea of what I would be sharing about, I was very nervous. Spanish is my first language but all of biblical and theological knowledge I’ve learned is in English and Western thought, and I was very concern of how this would turn out.  As my anxiety grew and maybe I looked stressed, Meagan Gillian came to me and told me “you are a daughter of this land and you will do great.” I got a bit emotional, because never in my life thought that I would have the privilege of preaching for the first-time ever in Mexico! Sunday came and the preaching went well, I felt overwhelmed with so many emotions because I was experiencing God in a different and profound way.

Then the last part of our trip was Oaxaca City, a place that I always wanted to visit because my mother’s family is from there, so this is kind of the motherland. What a beautiful city, so many color, so much culture, so much history. In Oaxaca we visited Fuentes Libres (micro-finance and kids-clubs). There we had the opportunity to be at a meeting in one of the community banks, and learned how they start, how they work, and how they are impacting the lives of so many women, and as a result the lives of their families and their communities. We also visited a kids club and along with the kids we learned about personal finances, income, and expenses, and budgets, and how to make it fun.

I left Mexico with my heart full, also very encouraged and inspired by all the women we met. To say the least this was a very personal trip for me, it was good for my soul to be in touch with my roots and to be with my people. I reconnected with a friend who I hadn’t seen for many years, and spent half a day with my sisters and cousins, and we laughed so much, and we had great conversations. Sometimes you just need to be with people who have known you for a long time and to remind you who you are, and I am very thankful for that.


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One Response to “The Mexico I Didn’t Know”

Evelmyn – It’s always good when you have the opportunity to get in touch with your roots. So thankful you had this time and for the memories that have been created. Thankful to God for these seasons in our lives.

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