Short-term Missions in Mexico: A Life Changed

By Katherine Spearing, Mar 23, 2015

MTW missionary Jamie Burkemper, along with Mexican national church planter Fernando and his wife Miralda, met Claudia during a short-term outreach in Claudia’s Ciudad Juarez neighborhood this summer. During a prayer walk through the city, they noticed a neighborhood they’d never been able to access before. Today, the gate was open.

It was in this neighborhood that they encountered Claudia. She said that she’d been given a Bible by her daughter but had trouble understanding it. Claudia welcomed them into her home. By the end of the visit, she hadn’t just found a church, she’d found Christ.

After praying with Jamie and the others, an excited Claudia asked them to stay put while she ran to the bedroom. When she returned, she was holding her cell phone with the text message conversation she’d just had with her daughter. “Have you found a church yet?” her daughter had texted. “I am praying you find one tonight.”

Encounters like the one with Claudia are repeated around the city. Jamie explained the method used by the volunteer teams who come each summer: “We spread out in groups of two and three … and walk around the city, praying, handing out flyers, and inviting people to English camp.” The previous summer, English camps—run primarily by short-term teams—helped many women in the community come to Christ and caused their congregation to triple in size.

Are short-term trips effective?
Even though stories like Claudia’s happen regularly, missionaries often hear the question: Is it really effective to spend eight days onsite with missionaries in a foreign country?

“One of the elders from Denver asked that question,” said MTW missionary Dave Diaso. “This is what I told him: The church in Ensenada hadn’t done a VBS in three years. When they heard a church from the States was visiting, it gave them the energy and excitement to pull a VBS together. We had 60 kids come and 80 percent of those kids didn’t go to the church. It was an amazing outreach opportunity.”

Dave also explained that the Denver team provided an unexpected opportunity for him to develop relationships with the people in Ensenada. After the team was gone, they left behind a foundation that Dave could build upon.

Room for the Holy Spirit
Short-term teams are full of unexpected opportunities. They create space for the Holy Spirit to work, and you never know how He will work. Or what opportunities He has waiting—like Claudia meeting Jesus for the first time..

Claudia herself marveled at God’s sovereign design. She asked Jamie, Fernando, and Miralda how they’d gotten into her neighborhood, as it was usually closed. They pointed out the open gate through which they had entered and with renewed awe, Claudia assured them that the gate was never open.


Except when the Lord decides to unlock it, just so He can send one of His messengers to answer the prayer of one of His children.

Join us this summer in Mexico! Visit to learn more.

Please login to continue
Forgot your password?
Recover it here.
Don't have an account?
Create an Account
Sign Up for Free
Choose Password
Confirm Password


Monterrey, Mexico | Summer Trips
Mission Trips
Durango, Mexico | Summer Trips
Mission Trips
Saltillo, Mexico | Summer Trips
Mission Trips

Video: Church-Planting Center in Northern Mexico

A dream 14 years in the making is now a reality—a church-planting center for a Reformed church-planting movement in Northern Mexico.


Stories From the Border: God’s Faithfulness Among Sojourners

Living just a short walk from the border means that we regularly meet and have opportunity to serve those who are passing through.


Ellen Barnett: The Extraordinary Life of MTW’s Last Original Missionary

Over nearly half a century of service, Ellen has helped start churches, a presbytery, a music program, a school, and even a seminary.


Last summer, Claudia came to faith through a summer trip. She has since been baptized. Pray for those who come to faith in Mexico as a result of short-term trips to plug into the church.

Pray for God's work among migrants and refugees on the U.S./Mexico border. 

Pray for the national pastors serving in Mexico and Cuba, many of whom are bi-vocational, and the work God is doing among them.

Pray for the kids in Aquiles Serdan neighborhood of Reynosa, Mexico, and the outreach of Isaiah 55 ministry there.

Pray for a woman in Mexico City who recently came to faith in the midst of a personal crisis. 

Pray for Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and our church-planting work there. Pray for God to grow, expand, and deepen the churches and draw many to Himself.

Pray for women forced by poverty into sex work. Pray for MTW ministries around the globe seeking to rescue and minister to these women.

Pray for those living in poverty in Guadalajara, Mexico, and for the gospel to bring life and hope to people there. 

Pray for the children at Casa Hogar in Acapulco, Mexico, to know the love of Christ and the hope of family.

Pray for the men and women who cross paths with missionaries in Guadalajara to come to know Christ personally and to find a church home.


Good news in your inbox, once per week.