Introducing…. Stephen & Jessica Mensch – Future ROH Full-Time Missionaries
The Board of Reach Out Honduras and Alex & Laura Waits are SO thrilled to announce to you that we will welcome a new full-time missionary family to our fold! Stephen & Jessica Mensch are a young couple, expecting their first son, Luke, in June. They feel God’s call to partner with ROH and the Waits to provide much-needed hands and hearts to the task of starting Instituto Vida Abundante and ministering to the Miskito people using their God-given gifts. As you will read below, they are planning to move to Puerto Lempira to live and work with Reach Out Honduras. Praise God!
Stephen & Jessica are members of Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship, the same church as Alex and Laura and family.
Please read their thoughts below to find out more about their call and their plans:
I grew up in a Christian home, going to church since I was a baby. I accepted Christ at the age of six but was not baptized until I was fifteen years old. I was/am shy and was scared to go up in front of everyone when I was six. I’m not sure what made me decide to finally get baptized then other than to follow God’s commandment. I don’t have a big story of turning my back on God or making bad choices. I haven’t really felt led to tell my story much because I don’t have a grandiose story. Recently I heard in a sermon to take pride and give thanks to God for my simple story. God revealed the next big part of my story in June of 2012.
I too was fortunate enough to have been raised in a Christian home. I received Christ into my heart when I was seven and when I was fourteen my relationship with God became more real to me. My conversion might have actually taken place then because that is when I truly understood my belief in Jesus and the acceptance of His gift. I remember growing up in church watching videos of missionaries and being bored to tears. I remember later saying that I wouldn’t mind going into ministry, but being a missionary is the last thing I would do. When I was fifteen I felt a call to ministry and later signed up for a mission trip in Ghana, West Africa. I turned sixteen four days prior to leaving for Ghana. We stayed for two weeks and I came back a changed teenager. I knew when I returned from Ghana, that one day I would be a full time missionary somewhere. Missions, what at one time was my last resort, was now the only full time ministry I wanted to partake in.
My husband, Stephen, and I went on a mission trip with our church in June of 2012 to Puerto Lempira, Honduras for about a week. We had an amazing experience on that trip connecting with people, helping build a fence, giving out food, watching children accept Christ, and performing baptisms. When we returned home from the trip Stephen and I had conversations about what we had experienced. Stephen said he was ready to move there. I on the other hand said “No, I’m not moving over there. I will go back on other mission trips but I don’t want to move there.” God apparently had a different plan for me. Our church youth camp was about a month later. Stephen helps out with the youth and loves church camp. He asked me to come up for the last 2 days after I got off work for the week. I couldn’t really make up my mind if I wanted to go or not and eventually I decided the night before “Fine, I guess I’ll go.” I got there just in time for the last group lesson of the night. The message that night was a challenge to the students to answer the call God has placed in your life, especially related to ministry (as a pastor, a Sunday school teacher, a missionary, or something else). I felt God work in me that night and knew the missionary field is where he was calling me. It wasn’t until the next night that I told Stephen “ok, I’m ready. I’ll go.” Stephen and I talked before and we believe that in a marriage God will not call just one person to something like missions; he has to call both people or it won’t really work. In July of 2012 we didn’t know where (although I felt drawn specifically to Honduras) or when God would lead us, but we were both willing to answer His call in our life and go.
Now it’s 2013. The call never went away. God began working in our lives again. In December 2012, God started working behind the scenes in each of our lives. We hadn’t yet communicated that to each other but God was preparing our hearts for a move to Honduras. Our friends the Waits were back in Texas on leave from Puerto Lempira and early on in their visit we had scheduled a meeting/dinner with them. We hadn’t even communicated with each other the purpose of this meeting. Finally we started talking to each other, a good thing for husband and wife to do. We wanted to discuss our moving to Honduras with some other friends prior to our meeting with the Waits. That meeting is what really started putting into motion what God had been doing behind the scenes. We spent several hours talking to our friends and putting into words what God was doing in our hearts. That night Jessica and I sat down on the couch and really hashed out what we felt God had been saying to us. That night of talking and praying with my wife confirmed for me that we were supposed to be in Honduras. We began sharing our calling with family and close friends for counsel. We believed that if God was truly calling us to Honduras then He would make that apparent to those around us. No one we told thought we were completely crazy and most of them agreed with us that this is something we should pursue. We finally had our long awaited meeting with the Waits. This meeting we shared what God had been doing in our lives and asked many questions about moving and living in Honduras. We ended the evening in a time of prayer. Three days later, the Reach Out Honduras board had a meeting. We were on the agenda to be discussed at the meeting. Later that day we received a call from one of our dear friends who serves on the board and she said that they went ahead and voted concerning us moving to Honduras with Reach Out Honduras. They accepted us as missionaries representing their organization! This news along with all the support from friends and family confirmed our calling to Puerto Lempira!
After numerous accounts of confirmation of our calling we are now making plans to move to Puerto Lempira, Honduras. We are expecting the addition of a son to our family in June 2013. Because of this, we are reserving the right for God to change these plans based on the birth of our son. There are many “unknowns” with having our first child, but we feel that it is important to continue to plan for the move as if God isn’t going to change the plan, but to be willing to listen if He does. In such a case where God delays our call to full time missions, any money raised to support our family prior to the decision to not go will be automatically given to Reach Out Honduras.
Our goal is to make the move to Honduras towards the end of July 2014. We plan to commit to one to two years and start evaluating our future there around the eighteen month mark. Our first goal will be finding a place to live, most likely a small rental property that will serve the needs of our small family and be close to the Reach Out Honduras property. I will be involved in various medical venues if possible and help out with the school in any way I can. I want to be a helper to Alex wherever he may need me. There is potential for a private hospital to open up in the near future that I could help with. My biggest hope is to be a mentor to the young men in Puerto Lempira, teaching them what I know about working with my hands and discipling them in the ways of the Lord. Being involved with the youth of La Moskitia is a passion that I have after several years of working with students here in the states. Though I will miss the relationships I have built with the youth here, I long to pour into the youth of Puerto Lempira as I have with the youth at my church.
Jessica plans to help out with the administrative side of the school and sponsorship program related to the school. Laura currently needs help with all the many different administrative tasks associated with the school. There are goals and ideas ROH has that are not getting all the attention and dedication they deserve and Jessica hopes to help address these areas. Jessica will likely work to aid communication between the sponsored children who attend the school and those in the States who are sponsoring them. Jessica is also willing to help with the organization and coordination of school supplies and other tasks around the property. Through Jessica’s work experience in the States she has realized that she really enjoys the administrative side of business. This enjoyment along with her organizational skills will be a great help to ROH. Jessica will help out with the school all the while being a full time mommy to our young son. She is really looking forward to serving closely with Laura and helping in any way possible to lighten Laura’s load.
Jessica and I will work together in raising our son to the bible’s standards to the best of our ability. We hope to set a Godly example of marriage in the community to be a witness of God’s relationship to His people. We hope to build relationships with the people there and direct them towards Christ in every way we can.