Luis is from a small rural village about a 40 minute drive outside of Zacatecas City in north-central Mexico. His village is rooted in Catholicism and cultural traditions practiced for generations. He lives with his wife and two children and has many extended family living near-by. Luis dreamed of starting his own business and when the opportunity to work in Canada came his way, he decided to go as a seasonal migrant worker to make money for his business.
It was seven years ago when Luis first came to Canada and Pastor Carlos Carrion started the Migrant Workers Ministry. Soon, their paths would cross as Pastor Carlos visited the farm where Luis was working. Thus began a special friendship. Luis attended Sunday gatherings where Carlos shared the gospel with many migrant workers, and stayed for a time of fellowship and a meal.
Today, Luis works on a cranberry farm in Richmond and his life is very different. He now has a personal relationship with Jesus and he enthusiastically shares his faith back home in Mexico. When Carlos visited Luis and his family in Mexico last December, everyone in town came out to meet ‘Pastor Carlos” as they had all heard about him. They prepared a feast in his honour, a special pork dish that takes hours to prepare. Carlos was invited to preach and later he also had the opportunity to meet with a group of men who started asking questions about the gospel. They spent two hours talking about God. Three of those men returned later and expressed to Carlos that they had initially come to eat and drink, but had left with something much more significant.
This is just one of hundreds of stories that Carlos loves to share. For him, people come first and he spends much of his time building relationships and getting to know the hearts of the migrant workers who are employed at greenhouses and farms in the South Delta, Richmond, Surrey and Langley areas. The ministry goes beyond BC and reaches into Mexico and Guatemala as workers go home and share the gospel in their towns and villages. Our farms are not just fields of crops, they are mission fields where lives are being transformed.
A typical day for Carlos might include driving workers to doctors’ appointments, acting as an interpreter, taking them shopping, helping them with immigration and banking, and sharing a meal or a coffee. He also talks to them about God. These workers all know him as Pastor Carlos, their friend, and a man they can trust and count on. In spring and summer, the men love to play soccer. A league took shape with teams made up of migrant workers and ministry volunteers. Soccer has become a fun way to connect with these workers and it has become a vital part of the ministry.
Carlos is very thankful for his dedicated team of volunteers who attend to the many details of this ministry – drivers who pick up workers and bring them to church, ESL teachers, translators, food preparers, and relationship builders. Perhaps your church is looking for a summer ministry opportunity for your youth? How about forming a soccer team and having a few fun games with these workers? Your youth could help with the weekly barbecues and best of all, engage these workers in conversations about Jesus.