One of the most challenging and fastest growing mission opportunities is the urban challenge, particularly work among the urban poor. “The need for pioneer work among non-Christians in rural areas or in the jungles, or in remote deserts, mountain towns and villages is still important. However, in this 21st century, the majority of people least reached with the gospel will be found in large cities!” says Steve, OC worker and chair Urban Mosaic’s Mexican board.
Steve and Janice have served with One Challenge in Latin America for 32 years. Steve says, “What an incredibly intriguing and challenging experience it is to CROSS NEW FRONTIERS! There are many opportunities to partner with those who have crossed geographical and cultural frontiers to bring the Good News of salvation and transformation in Christ. And possibilities for you to serve in these areas abound,” Steve says.
Introducing Urban Mosaic, Mexico
One ministry platform (of many) Steve and Janice have in Mexico is supporting the work of a Mexican ministry organization called Urban Mosaic (Mosaico Urbano, in Spanish). This ministry started 13 years ago outside the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, an area which contains some three million people – mostly urban poor.
In February 2019, Steve was asked to join and chair Urban Mosaic’s Mexican board. “We are thrilled with Mosaic’s highly effective, biblically-centered, holistic change model for bringing about spiritual and social transformation among the urban poor,” Steve says. “It’s one of the most comprehensive change models for urban poor in Latin America.”
Here are some short videos about Mosaic’s strategy and some of this year’s ministry results.
Urban Mosaic’s 2030 strategic plan focuses on expanding their well-documented, scalable model to urban poor areas in other parts of the world.
Stories of Lives Changed
“I have often cried tears of joy upon hearing many testimonies of residents of the four huge urban poor communities in Mexico where Mosaic works,” Steve says. Hundreds of community members serve as volunteers, others have become part of Mosaic’s full or part-time staff. Their developmental, highly collaborative approach to spiritual and social transformation among the urban poor – empowering and training, without creating dependency – has brought about some phenomenal results.
In Steve’s experience, residents in the poor urban communities are disillusioned by religion. They feel God does not exist or if he does, he is distant, expressing it as, “If God is really there, why doesn’t he care about the dire social situation in which we live? Why doesn’t he send help?”
Many community residents have told Steve many churches in these communities (both Protestant evangelical and Roman Catholic) only focus on collecting money, church attendance and “saving souls.” What they don’t do is minister in practical ways to the whole person. And the politicians? They only show up briefly at election to buy votes with a few handouts.
Because Mosaic staff have incarnated the love of Christ in practical ways that result in social and spiritual transformation, they have won tremendous credibility. People are coming to the Lord and being discipled. The social fabric of these communities is being changed.
Pray Alongside One Challenge
- Pray for Mosaic’s global expansion over the next 10 years, both reproducing their model in other urban poor communities around the world. Pray for the sharing of ideas and resources that can help other ministries around the world.
- Pray for the Griswells’ part-time involvement in supporting such an effective, strategic ministry, especially through Steve’s Mexico board leadership.
- Pray for spiritual protection and wisdom for both staff and community workers as they meet resistance from corrupt slum lords and local officials.
- Pray for sufficient funding to grow the staff, mainly through the training and employing residents of the poor communities who have risen as social and spiritual leaders in their neighborhoods.