Ah, Cancun! Beautiful beaches and good times can be found here. But Cancun is also home to an entire region of real people, with real struggles and hopes and dreams.
We came at the invitation of Mundo de Fe Church for a Marketplace Missions week. We would visit numerous businesses and conduct a Global Advance Marketplace Leaders conference. But within five minutes of meeting our host pastor named Lalo, we learned of a tragedy that had struck too close to home that very week.
“Three members of our sister church were murdered this week. They think the Narcos mistook them for someone else.”
Then it sunk in.
I’ve traveled to Lebanon, Egypt, Africa, and Asia. Cancun is facing serious challenges too.
Our team was expectant that God was going to do something special during our days there. But our expectancy was small compared to the people we were privileged to meet.
Meet “The Chef” Luis and his wife Nilma. Together, with their son and daughter-in-law, they create some of the finest casual cuisines in the Yucatan. Strategically placed next to a large high school, they see their restaurant as a ministry.
Covering the walls are unique artistic chalk drawings of Biblical scenes with Scripture. “I am the Way and the Life,” declares one creative drawing of Jesus offering a hand to all who are willing.
Hundreds of students and their families crowd their little place in the mornings and afternoons. “My passion is to provide hope to the young people,” says the Chef. “They come here every day and need to know they are loved and have a future.”
The Chef’s other passion?
“I want to help feed the hungry in my city.” They already host outreaches and provide meals to the downtrodden, and serve their local church by providing meals for special events.
(The first Bible recipient at El Chef's restaurant, thanks to a generous donation from a Global Advance Ambassador.)
Israel is being primed by his father to take over a three generation family-run windows and mirrors business. They’ve built a legacy of integrity and generosity, now selling thousands of mirrors and windows annually. Their family generously supports their local church and other ministries in the region.
Jessica has taken territory in a man’s world. Her custom tools and construction appliance shop has grown for two decades. In a machismo culture, somehow God’s favor has allowed her to prosper with a majority-women staffed team.
“I cannot put my name on the other store location because the Narcos might threaten me to pay for protection.” This is a common problem in Mexico. If you are perceived as prosperous, you might be targeted to pay a monthly fee to gangs for protection of your business. If you don’t pay, you might face the threat of kidnapping... or worse.
We had the privilege of visiting a dozen businesses in Yucatan that are run by believers. God has strategically placed them in the marketplace for His glory. They are called to bless the city. They are Gospel bearers. They are problem solvers and nation builders.
Almost 200 attended our Global Advance Marketplace Leaders conference. Hungry for training and a touch from God, they cried, cheered, and committed their lives to further His Kingdom.
These wonderful people were challenged and affirmed as missionaries to the marketplace. They are raising the spiritual and moral capital of the nation. Pray for God to raise up millions like them around the world!
Thank you for supporting Global Advance to empower God’s frontline leaders around the world.
Jonathan Shibley serves as president of Global Advance. He started the Marketplace Missions initiative in 2003 to encourage and equip Christians in the marketplace in developing nations.