Lost and Found An Emerging Hispanic Ministry

“People come together Strange as neighbors Our blood is one. Children of generations Of every nationOf kingdom come.” -Hillsong Worship.

Go, and make disciples.

 

This is the life work of a Christ follower. As a body of believers, it is our passion, our purpose, and our greatest commission – to make Christ known and to love Christ’s people. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….” Jesus commands us to love our neighbors. Although going requires a destination, it also requires a beginning.

For Ricky Maxwell, his journey with a new ministry opportunity began one morning during quiet time with the Lord. Shortly after reading scripture and praying, Ricky felt compelled to contact his friend Mark Bennett, a Mill member and missionary in Mexico. “The Lord laid on my heart that I needed to look into a Hispanic ministry in Spartanburg, so I called Mark right then and there,” Ricky said.  This conversation allowed him to discover a unique opportunity that he says he “never saw coming.”

Although Ricky has previous experience with mission work, he had no particular attraction to one people group or ethnicity. However, this notion did not prevent him from obeying Christ. Mark informed Ricky of a long-lasting friendship with Pastor Greg Castillo at La Reunion, “The Gathering,” here in Spartanburg. Following an invitation to a member’s Quinceañera (a coming of of age celebration for 15 year old girls in Hispanic culture), Ricky acknowledged this was the beginning of something beautiful. Since then, Ricky has involved other members of the Mill to meet regularly with the people of La Reunion. Together, they attend worship, pray, and even play soccer. The Mill is currently assembling a volleyball team for which The Mill will be sponsoring the uniforms. From those effortsOn March 2 of this year, the churches will connect for food, fellowship, and a photo booth. However, the story does not end there.

Many of the people involved in this ministry are immigrants from Mexico. They are learning to adapt to American ideologies, cultural norms, and day to day struggles. They come from all walks of life and work hard to maintain integrity in a divided nation. For years, they have experienced a perpetuated sense of vulnerability and immobility that comes with being “different.” This intersection of lost and found is where The Mill can step in to help.

Take a moment to think about it, and put yourself in their position. You arrive in a new place that is foreign to you, perhaps with a language barrier, with feelings of isolation; and despite this, people choose to love you anyway. This is our story too: a story of redemption. Because of this, God reminds us, we too are immigrants. This world is not our home. Hebrews 13:14 tells us, “For we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” This is what The Mill is all about – a place of new beginnings and real relationships. The vision of this ministry is a simple one, resulting from pure obedience and sincere hearts, “To be a living conduit of God’s grace,” according to Mark Bennett.

This partnership does not stop with the city of Spartanburg. Mark Bennett’s ministry, “La Esperanza” (“The Hope”), addresses the needs of native Mexican tribes – mostly Aztec descendants – in La Nogalera, Mexico. The Mill assists this outreach from a “Behind the Scenes” support group as well as hands-on teams guided by Mark Bennett; and Greg Castillo has involved members of La Reunion in the ministry as well. Our Mill missions staff views it as the perfect chance to foster relationships at La Reunion while also impacting indigenous tribes of Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and Michoacán. While teams have completed successful construction and infrastructure projects in the past, the primary goal is to invest in the people. Hoping to “gather some steam,” Mark encourages all to go to on missions across borders. Whether coming from a native Mexican or United States background, his key emphasis is just to go and make disciples of Jesus.

How can you get involved? What is the Lord saying to you? Several mission opportunities are in the works, including a trip to Mexico in July. Whether serving 2,000 miles away or close to home, God can use YOU to transform hearts.

READ MORE MISSION STORIES

Love Without Limits

From 249-262 AD, a plague ravaged the Roman Empire—from North Africa, across all Europe and the Middle East. Some historical accounts claim that as many as 5,000 people a day died in Rome alone. Dionysus, Bishop of Alexandria, notes that from the first appearance of the disease, pagans “pushed sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into

Small Business Makes a Big Difference

Watch our July newsletter!

Upward: More Than Just a Game

“Upward Sports is the best story that’s never been told,” said Kevin Drake, the new Executive Director of the 25-year-old organization whose Upward Star Center has become a fixture on the Highway 29 corridor between Spartanburg and Wellford. Kevin, his wife Deborah and their children Jordan, 26, Nicholas, 24, Luke, 16, and Emily, 13, are…

The Journey of Foster Care

“God wants every child to come to know Him in a real and personal way.” – Vickie West, foster parent Fifteen families at Church at The Mill have already answered the call to foster children. They have the support of the church’s F.A.C.T. (Foster and Adoption Care Team) ministry. From encouragement to supplies, F.A.C.T.  offers…

More Than Just a Dress

At the beginning of this year, Church at The Mill received notice that one of our ministry partners, Montana Indian Ministries, had a need. The ministry wanted to provide prom dresses for the high school girls on the Indian reservation they serve in order for them to be able to have a full prom experience.

One Meal at a Time

There is nothing that tugs at the heartstrings more than a child going hungry. You would hope that such poverty does not exist in Spartanburg, but any teacher, pastor or community worker knows that it does. Other vulnerable neighbors are affected as well – the elderly, disabled and housebounds who, because of COVID-19 have found…

Living Room

The ladies gather, take their seats and prepare for our meeting. Some are tired, some are energized, some are happy, some are downcast, some are chatty and some are quiet. We are sitting in a recently renovated living room; fresh paint, new furnishings, vibrant art and books align the coffee table. It is a pretty environment, a feel good space. This could be any living room of any friend, but it is not.

Going on Mission

Matthew Darnell went on a Mission Trip that changed his life. Listen to his testimony about how Missions now has a special place in his heart and how he has been called to Go. Matthew Darnell for Mission Connect Feb 2020 from Church at The Mill on Vimeo.

Operation Christmas Child at Church at The Mill

Each year, Church at The Mill partners with the Operation Christmas Child ministry through Samaritan’s Purse to send gifts and the Gospel to children overseas. It is a way in which Church at The Mill members can minister to children whom they may or may not ever get to meet in person. Several small groups…

That They Might Know The Name Above All Names!

Having already been to Uganda this summer, Jacob Martin wasn’t expecting to go on another international mission trip this year. So, when he was asked to join a team to East Asia, his heart said “yes,” but his mind had some questions. “I had just asked and raised money for Uganda; and, I’m immediately turning…