“I can see that God loves the Mixtecs.” This brave young mom, Tayde Mendoza, lost her husband, Odilon, to COVID-19 last year but still has a passion to reach the people her husband sought to reach. Some years ago, SBCV church planter Fernando Mangieri (of Iglesia Bautista Nueva Esperanza near Richmond, VA) shared with the SBCV his desire to reach the Mixtecs living in the Richmond area. The Mixtecs are an indigenous community from Mexico and are considered unreached. They primarily speak the Mixteco language; some also speak Spanish. Odilon (or Oddi) was the main connection to reach the Mixtec community in Richmond. SBCV Hispanic churches hosted outreach events to reach them, and Odilon was set to start a future church plant among them.
Pastor Mangieri ended up moving to Texas, and Pastor Ronaldo Muñoz became the pastor of Nueva Esperanza. Pastor Muñoz also supported Odilon in his desire to reach the Mixtecs. Kym and Matt Satterwhite, members of Bethany Place Baptist Church in Richmond, started supporting the outreach in 2017, ministering to children and helping teach English. When Odilon passed away, it seemed the ministry to the Mixtecs might be over, but God was not finished. Against all odds, He was working.
Raúl Santamaría (SBCV church planting strategist, Hispanic Ministries) and Sergio Guardia (SBCV director of Hispanic Ministries) met with Pastor Muñoz and the team from Bethany Place and saw their passion to reach this people group. As a bi-vocational pastor, Muñoz already had a lot on his plate. The Satterwhites had the desire to help and reach the children so that they could help reach the parents, but neither Kym nor Matt could speak Mixteco. Nevertheless, neither lack of time nor capacity to speak Mixteco would quench their desire to reach this community. That night, with tears in his eyes, Pastor Muñoz said, “Who will reach them if we don’t?” Likewise, Kym and Matt shared the same passion and urgency to reach the Mixtecs with the Gospel.
This was no surprise. Passion and urgency have been part of this outreach since the beginning. Odilon came to faith in Christ through Pastor Mangieri’s ministry. Odilon was zealous for the Lord and realized, “Somebody has to teach the Mixtecs about God’s Word and His love for them.” He started visiting the Mixtecs, and Pastor Muñoz began supporting him and going with him to reach them. There were believers from Lynchburg who came to help Odilon, driving two hours to be part of what God was doing.
Meanwhile, Kym Satterwhite had gone on a mission trip and returned on fire, asking the Lord what He wanted her to do with the remaining 51 weeks of that year. Several IMB missionaries mentioned the Mixtec group and helped Kym connect with Odilon and Pastor Muñoz. Although it seemed the ministry would end after Odilon’s death, the team had a heart for this community, and they decided to keep going. They trusted God wanted them to reach the Mixtec community for Jesus.
When Odilon’s widow, Tayde, was interviewed, she seemed shy until she was asked about the Mixtec people. Suddenly she lit up and spoke faster and with passion. Tayde shared that she is teaching a young woman, Socorro, to read in Spanish. She said that when her pastor announced they would keep going to reach the Mixtecs and continue the work Odilon started, she expressed with a big smile, “Now I know God loves the Mixtecs!”
God loves the Mixtecs indeed, but “how can they believe without hearing about Him?” (Romans 10:14b, HCSB). SBCV rejoices in the partnership between a Spanish-speaking church and an English-speaking church to tell an unreached group about Jesus!
God has a plan—will you join Him in what He is doing? ■