FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – For the second year in a row, Southwesterners trekked to Tekax, Mexico, for one week to come alongside local missionaries and seminaries who work year-round to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to Mayan and Mexican inhabitants.
This year, the group of 17 students and one professor saw 10 people make a carefully weighed decision to profess Christ as Savior.
“The people there are really counting the cost to follow Jesus,” said Donald Kim, assistant professor of Bible in the College at Southwestern. “Some of them will be shunned (for their decision to follow Christ).”
Missionary Shelby Boyd, who has planted 106 churches and several seminaries during his 19 years of service in the Yucatan, keeps detailed records of those who accept Christ so that he can follow up with discipleship and training. This year’s team was able to witness firsthand the progress of those whom last year’s mission team led to the Lord.
“The people from last year [who accepted Christ] are still there and accounted for, and they’re taking leadership positions,” said Kim, who has led the trip the past two years.
During the trip, the team evangelized, preached, performed skits and puppet shows, played sports with people from the town, and spent time with orphans at the Casa Kim orphanage.
The group of college and seminary students divided their time among various villages, missions and churches near Tekax, a town nearly three hours away from the Yucatan’s capital city, Merida.
In Bombahaltun—which had no running water or electricity—the team helped missionaries establish an initial contact with the village by meeting the chief of the village.
In Xul, the team visited a mission that reopened its doors just last year. The mission in Xul will soon establish another mission—the last step in the transfer from mission to church.
In Oxkutzcab—a village in which last year’s team saw several professions of faith—the group held several church services. On the final evening of services in Oxkutzcab, Fred Turnipseed, a junior in the College at Southwestern, preached, and once again, several accepted Christ’s salvation. Turnipseed said the harvest was a work of the Lord and not at all of himself. In fact, at the Lord’s prompting, he even swapped his sermon from 2 Timothy for another based out of 2 Corinthians just before taking the pulpit.
“God said, ‘You’re not going to preach 2 Timothy. Preach 2 Corinthians 5:20 and the Roman’s Road,’” Turnipseed recalled. “It was nothing I did. I was just being obedient to change my sermon.”
Turnipseed said he used a soccer analogy to explain that everyone has fallen short of the glory of God, just as the Mexican soccer team would if they had tied a game with Italy and then lost with one inaccurately aimed goal shot.
The preachers said the congregation’s response “floored him.”
“I don’t speak Spanish, but I could recognize the Sinner’s Prayer,” Turnipseed said. “Amen, glory and hallelujah sound the same in Spanish as they do in English.”
During the trip, Boyd asked Turnipseed if when he returned home, he would find five other willing men and return to the Yucatan for five straight days of evangelism. Turnipseed readily agreed.
“So that is happening,” Turnipseed said, “either in August or during fall break.”
Kim, too, hopes to return to Tekax again to lead another team from Southwestern next January.
“I think the Lord just really opened my heart to keep going, to make time,” Kim said. “I think it opened a lot of students’ hearts to missions [as well.]”