Vida Nueva Ministries is devoted to reaching the local people of the mountainous Monterrey region. Located 7,500 feet above sea level, Baratillo is nestled near the top of the Sierra Madre Mountains where The Richardsons now live and work. Mike and his family get to do life with many of the people from their church and their vision continues to burn for reaching the Spanish-speaking families throughout Latin America.
A Mexican lady once asked Pam, “Do you find it hard living among these people—people who are never satisfied with what you give them and always want more?” Pam was quick to let her know that she had a wrong impression of “village people.” She told her that these people, although relatively poor, were among the most generous people that she had ever known. She went on to explain how one lady, Doña Amelia, cooked for us for over a year while we were working on our cabin and how nearly every week someone gives us something they made. She also told how the people shared their harvest with us—sharing not from their abundance but from their lack.
This is just a glimpse of the beautiful people here in Mexico. They are a generous people, and a people that know what’s truly valuable even in the midst of lack. It is for these local people Vida Nueva exists, and it is from these people that Vida Nueva will continue to reach.
Vida Nueva Ministries was founded in the early 90’s to bring the hope and light of Jesus Christ to the Mexican people and the Spanish-speaking world. It is our desire to equip and build the Christian family, and advance the Kingdom of God in this culture. To get a little more of an idea of the people here and the local ministry to the families that happens in our small, rural church, here are a couple stories from Mike’s perspective:
Heart for the Whole Family
The week before our first baptism, God was working in the lives and hearts of several people. Lucio is a dear Christian brother who was experiencing tremendous growth in his relationship with the Lord. He was leading the Bible memory time and praying during the services. His prayers were simple and sweet. You can tell that he is talking to someone whom he knows well. On the Sunday before the baptism, Lucio publicly told his sister that he was sorry for the way that he had treated her before he was saved.
That afternoon God was also working in his sister’s life. When Lucio and I visited her, the conversation turned to one of her daughters. They had not spoken in more than four years. That day she was determined to make things right. When mother and daughter embraced for the first time in many years you could see God’s grace and his goodness reaching out to both of them. They were both crying tears of joy and asking forgiveness.
Lucio and I walked outside to let the ladies catch up in private. Lucio’s brother-in-law, Santos, was in the orchard. When I walked up, Santos made a comment about his wife and daughter working things out. I told him that only one thing was lacking. He asked, “What’s that?” I said, “Your salvation! You’ve seen God working in your family’s life, are you ready to accept Christ for yourself?” Santos quickly responded, “Yes, I’m ready.”
I turned to Lucio and told him to explain the plan of salvation to him. Lucio hesitated at first, but then he clearly explained scripture to him and prayed with him. After they prayed, I turned to Lucio, who was fifty-five at the time, and said, “Now you are Santos’ (who was eighty-five years old) father in the faith.” Standing there in the field Santos said that he wanted to be baptized the following Sunday as a public testimony of his faith.
Nearly four years later, Martha, one of Herminia’s daughters came to me. She said, “I have been watching my mother. I have seen the changes in her life. I want the same thing that she has. What must I do to be saved?”
The first time I rode up to Ramón’s house, he stood at the doorway waving enthusiastically the whole time I was coming down his driveway. He was seventy-eight years old and lived alone for more than twenty years. Ramón shuffled when he walked and has slurred speech yet he was always ready to come to church and sing to the Lord. He now sings in the presence of the Lord.
The men of the church continue to grow in the faith and knowledge of the Lord. I stopped by Tito’s house around eight o’clock one morning. He and his wife, Marina, had just finished their morning devotions. He was very excited about what he had read that morning and asked me to come in so that he could show me. After sharing two chapters with me, he said that he had been thinking about those passages last night while he was in bed. He had gotten up and decided to show his wife what God had been teaching him.
Simple Acts of Service
One Sunday morning, when I arrived for church, Joaquin looked very excited. As soon as I got close enough to hear him, he began to tell me that he had fixed up my pulpit to make it look better. I asked him to show me what he had done. He took me over to the fifty-five-gallon drum that I used as my pulpit and said that he had found some tile in his attic and made a top for the pulpit.
In late November, at 87 years old, Joaquin went to be with the Lord. As I reflected on Joaquin’s life, I thought about his baptism the previous May. His face was shining after he was baptized. It was obvious that he loved the Lord, and now he will be with him throughout eternity.