Texans help Mexico City team strive for global impact

MEXICO CITY—When you’re a team of 12, how do you even start to reach a city of more than 28 million people? That’s a question Todd Beel’s team in Mexico City asks itself a lot.

He and fellow IMB missionaries in the megacity hail from places ranging from Colombia to Cuba and from Korea to Texas. They represent a diverse collection of backgrounds and skillsets all working together. Some work with young families, others specialize in theological training, or working with university students. Some team members are single, some are married and some have children.

But they all have one vision—to see the world worship Jesus, and for it to start right where they are.

“This is a massive city,” Beel, the team leader, said. “There are unreached people and places within it, and we want to take the gospel to those places.”

Daily life in the historic district of Coyoacan in Mexico City. The city of more than 20 million draws a steady stream of internationals coming for business and tourism. (IMB Photo)

The team is seeing it start to happen already, and they’re seeing new believers catch a vision for reaching the nations. That’s exactly what they pray for. “Because this is a world-class city, it has connections around the world and people are coming and going every day, so this city has a reach worldwide,” Beel said.

Beel’s wife, Anne, grew up in Houston. He attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Fisher, Texas, in the Hill Country, was their base for about eight years when they returned to the United States, and they plan to spend their next stateside assignment in Houston, he told the TEXAN.

From the Beels’ home in Mexico City, they can spot planes coming in every five minutes or so. “Each time, that’s another couple hundred people coming in from Europe, multiple cities across Europe, cities across South America, many cities in the United States and Canada,” Beel said.

Each time one lands, the vast city opens its arms to a little more diversity, and each time the task of reaching them for Christ gets a little bigger. But that’s exactly why the team is compelled to be there.

“Those are people coming and going all day long for business, work, sports and study,” Beel said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Who has the Lord brought to this city today who needs to be reached with the gospel?’ Many of them are coming from unreached people groups around the world.”

And as those planes leave again, they could be taking the gospel back with them, he said. That’s the hope of the team, a dozen people working together to equip new believers to take the gospel to unreached pockets of Mexico City and the world.

Christian workers teach a Saturday-morning class in Mexico City. These national believers are eager to grow in their faith. As well as Bible study, these classes teach the students the practical skills of English-language translation. (IMB Photo)

Will Wright, a 20-something who recently joined the team, said it’s a big vision, but at the micro level, he can already see God at work. Wright has been working to build a strategy to reach the city’s universities, and in getting to know the students, a recent conversation turned into a four-hour discussion about the gospel. The next thing he knew, a young man named Daniel chose Christ over all the other things that had seemed good in his life before.

“Within a very short amount of time, there’s drastic changes in his life,” Wright said. “He’s wanting to live for the Lord. I see him broken over the sins of other people. I see him with a passion that other people come to know the Lord.”

Wright, Beel and others are praising God for those kinds of transformations and hoping to fan the flames of that kind of passion into a fire that reaches the whole world for Christ.

“I’m just excited to think about the potential in what may be happening in the years to come, not only within but also without, as the people of the city, those who will come to know the Lord or already do, are mobilized to make a difference,” Beel said.

Learn more about Southern Baptists’ IMB team in Mexico.

Erin Roach is a TEXAN correspondent.

This story was first published by the Southern Baptist TEXAN as a story online and in print in May 2018.