Fide and Carlos witnessed horrific violence as children. High in Sierra Mountains of Nayarit State, Mexico, gang-related murders happened every day as drug lords fought over territory.
They had seen other children conscripted to work in the fields cultivating drug crops, or moving drugs on the streets. Some children had been forced to murder or were raped and sold into prostitution.
For many, the only way out was education.
The Seedtime and Harvest secondary school in Tepic helped children like Fide and Carlos find hope in Christ and take advantage of opportunities for a better future.
In 2013, a church offered to provide funds so three at-risk children could attend the ministry’s secondary school in Tepic, Mexico.
A teacher at the school had lived in the Sierra Mountains and knew a single mother who was raising six children. Fide and Carlos were two of them.
These two children and one of their friends were selected to move to Tepic and begin classes. Traumatized and lacking trust, they began to adjust to new surroundings. The ministry attempted to pull them into a family and community of love, acceptance, appreciation, and approval. School supplies, housing, food, clothing, and field trips made them feel welcome and cared for.
Then the church withdrew its support.
No more funds for the children
The ministry staff, led by director Philip Tolman, agonized over the decision they faced: send the three children home or keep them, relying on God to supply the funds they simply didn’t have?
They accepted the challenge for all three children.
God did provide for the children’s needs for the next two years. Then they returned home to begin their lives as young adults.
The school staff prayed fervently. They had provided love, care, education, and food; and they had shared the gospel with the children, though none of the three accepted Christ during their stay in Tepic. Now they were out of the ministry’s hands.
A delayed harvest
In 2018 Fide called Philip Tolman. She had married soon after she left the school. In their culture that often occurs between ages 12 and 14.
She told Philip, “My husband, Blas, has just gotten a job in Tepic. Can you help us and our two children find a room to rent?” Philip did, and for the first few weeks he saw Fide and her children in their church on Sundays. Blas didn’t believe in God and had never been to church. After a few weeks, Fide disappeared for the rest of the year.
At the beginning of 2019, Philip saw Fide in church again, this time with Blas. Philip could see that Blas was uncomfortable, but the family returned the next Sunday too.
“God’s presence touched his life, and that changed everything,” Philip said. “They are now constant in church and are preparing themselves for making a lifelong commitment to Christ. What we sowed in Fide’s life years ago is starting to give fruit. This is just the beginning and we know that a lot more reaping is coming into our ministry.”