Forest Park volunteer helps Mixtec familycomment (0)
October 18, 2012
By Hannah Henderson
Three years ago Donna McCullough, center director of Forest Park Ministry Center in Montgomery, was introduced to a family in a nearby neighborhood. The family was of Mixtec descent, a Native American race from the mountainous regions of southern Mexico and Guatemala. They are one of many such families living in the Montgomery area. They were experiencing difficulty in school because neither the parents nor the children possessed English reading or writing skills, leaving them unable to understand forms and homework sent from school.
It presented an excellent ministry opportunity for Forest Park, an outreach of Montgomery Baptist Association that provides material help and shares the gospel message with the poor.
“The director and volunteers at Forest Park provide compassion and care to every guest who comes through the doors of the center,” said Lisa Rose, Montgomery Association director of church and community missions. “It is a vital part of the transformation of that community.”
The volunteers began teaching conversational English to a small group of Mixtec women.
McCullough noted on the ministry center’s blog that participation of many of the women in the class was sporadic, “as their duties at home took precedence over any outside activities.”
But Joselina and her three youngest children were different. They attended faithfully. “Their two older siblings were learning English in school, but these children, especially 5-year-old Omar, knew only the Mixtec heard at home and were ill-prepared for the kindergarten class which he would enter
the following school year,” McCullough said.
Sherry White, a volunteer who had been on multiple missions trips to Mexico, related well with the women and families — especially Joselina’s — dedicating time and energy to nurturing the children. But despite the progress the family had made learning English, Raoul, Joselina’s husband, was deported to Mexico. Knowing she would now be the sole provider for her family, Joselina learned the bus system and began working outside of the home.
However, the family missed Raoul and moved back to Mexico to be with him.
The center volunteers were disheartened to see them leave, so White promised that on her next missions trip she would locate them.
In July of this year an opportunity arose for White to travel to Mexico.
She corresponded with Oscar, a missionary friend there, and learned Joselina’s children had been ill and their living conditions were poor.
Arriving in Mexico, White met with the family and was shocked by their weight loss and seeming hopelessness.
“My heart was broken. God had plans for this family,” White wrote on the ministry’s blog. “I knew God had not brought me on this journey to find the family in this situation and not help, so I started trying to find out how much would it cost to pay for housing and utilities.”
White and others partnered with a local church that helped them locate an inexpensive house. They offered the house to the family if Joselina and Raoul agreed to send their children to school, attend church and find employment. The family immediately agreed.
In September, White returned to visit the family for accountability, discipleship and mentoring. She found an employed Raoul and a family settling into their home and working toward assimilating into the community.
White feels that through learning about Joselina’s family and helping them in their need, she has been taught an important lesson: Go where God leads.
“We feel that God has shown us that He is working, whether in our neighborhood or in another country, and we must be willing to surrender to the call to go — where He leads,” White wrote on the ministry’s blog.
“You never know — a simple trip into the neighborhood could lead you to the mountains of Mexico.”
For more information about Forest Park Ministry Center, call 334-269-5726 or visit www.forestparkministry.blogspot.com.