Our Vision & Testimonies
Nathan's testimony, er... life story?
My parents taught me about God. One night when I was 6 years old we read a Bible story about Jesus and a cross. I understood that He made some huge sacrifices for me. Even though I didn’t understand all of what was going on, I knew that it would be wrong of me not to accept a gift so generously made. Jesus became more real to me in practical day-to-day life about the time I turned 12. I chose to start living a life of purpose for Him then.
I attended ALERT for basic training unit 18 in 1999 and studied there till 2002 graduating from the firefighting and paramedic courses. That experience, more than any other, taught me that relying on God for your strength during moments of emotional and physical difficulty will bring a victory that is unheard of without Him.
Julie agreed to become my wife after a one day courtship, on Jan 9th, 2002. I am so amazingly blessed with this wonderful wife, she has become my best friend. Learning to look for completion in Christ and not in my marriage was a hard lesson, but a more perfect helpmeet could not have been found for me. I worked as a Paramedic in Texas for 9 months, and then we were married on Sept 13th that same year.
In May 2004, Julie’s brother, Billy, was killed in a car accident. I learned how to hug, cry and smile all at the same time. Losing Billy reminded me that we can accept the good AND the bad from God’s hand, learn from both, looking forward to a more beautiful reunion in heaven… or we can reject His sovereign decisions and choose to hate Him… which doesn’t change a thing. He is still God, our loss is not restored, and we learn nothing but reap the results of bitterness.
In the summer of 2004 we began working with the apartment ministry “Apartment Life” in Aurora CO. We felt like God put us there but we were frustrated by a lack of fruit. We since have realized that God might have had us there solely for the fruit He was ripening in our own hearts and the skills He was making for our tool boxes.
Before Cloe came along we did everything the doctors told us to try for a baby, all without any real success. Then God did His doctoring and Cloe was born Feb. 16th ,2005 in Parker CO. She is such a miracle. God truly gave her to us. Julie and I both found a heart for parents suffering through the pain of miscarriage, infertility and the confusion and depression that can bring.
We left Aurora on Nov 3rd, 2005 and began our current adventure. God has proven over and over that “His work done His way will not lack His provision.” Every time I begin to doubt His leading us into this field of work, He just smiles and shows me how He has already provided for our need. Often even before we asked Him, but He still waits for us to ask.
Gabi was born on August 17th 2007 in Parker CO just like her big sister Cloe. During that experience we found that returning to the USA for our children's births was going to be impractical. We love our country but the living expenses there are so high! Coming home to Chiapas began feeling like "home" and not just our field of work anymore.
Brennah was born on October 29th 2009 in Chiapas Mexico. Julie's folks visited us the week after for their first visit to our home. During that time Burnie helped finish the first addition to our small house. Having a proper living room shed light on the fact that our growing family was not going to continue fitting in this tiny house and we needed a couple more bedrooms. By Thanksgiving 2011 we were occupying a second floor addition that doubled the total space of our house. Many construction teams, donations and prayer supporters are to be thanked for their kind help.
In March of 2012 we went to the USA for a home visit. Julie was 23 weeks pregnant and as we traveled through northern AZ she began pre-term labor. Medically the outlook was grim with little hope of a live birth and almost none of a healthy baby. After a couple of days in the hospital listening to dismal percentages we got tired of insisting to the Dr.s that we were not interested in terminating the pregnancy and that our God can heal and if not then He can also give us the strength to bear our burden. During those first days God began to reverse all the risk factors. The amniotic sack re-sealed and re-filled, the placenta re-attached, contractions stopped, fetal distress went down and the doctors sort of sat there and scratched their heads. After a few weeks, Julie was released to fly home to CO with her dad and the rest of us drove up. God then provided a free furnished home for us close to the hospital, as well as medical coverage. Our amazing church family stepped up and we had a wonderful 4 months of waiting for baby William to be born. Julie suffered the most, stuck at home on strict bed rest. Then August 17th, 2012 a perfectly healthy baby boy was born without any complications. William and his sister Gabi share a birthday!
We returned home that October once everyone was fit to travel. Our family now feels complete. We have felt led to leave our count at 6, and focus on being good parents to the 4 little blessings we have been given. Our work here in Chiapas has grown to a point of being a rather daunting task. We host around 10 teams/families/singles every year. We are installing water filters and stoves in homes, and focusing on taking advantage of those moments to share the love of Jesus with these beautiful people. The Ch'ol and Zoque audio Bibles have been finished and we are working on Tojolabal. Bible video options are stacked up in my office and we have finished several dubs. So much gratitude fills my heart. I am blessed to be working in a task that I was designed by God for, and have been enabled by His church to accomplish.
Julie Terrell Testimony
Like many people, I grew up in a Christian home. My parents tried to instill in us the principles of God’s Word from early on. My grandpa was a pastor in the Evangelical Free Church all my life, until he retired when I was 18. I spent every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, and whenever else the doors were open at church! When I was 5 yrs old my Kindergarten teacher was talking to us about Heaven. She explained that it was a perfect place, but we could not go there because we are imperfect and sinful. “But wait!” she said, “God did make a way for us to be with Him for eternity!” She went on to tell us about Jesus paying the penalty for all of our sins, so that we wouldn’t have to. He doesn’t expect us to earn our way into His kingdom… it can’t be done! I accepted Jesus that day as my personal Savior.
8 yrs later… summer camp… wake up call! This was a Christian run camp, but somehow I was offered my first cigarette there. There were conversations taking place that shocked me a bit, but opened my eyes. I realized that there are a lot of people that claim to be Christian, but don’t appear to be any different from the rest of the world. My parents started home-schooling me and my siblings after I finished 4th grade at Park Hill Christian Academy. So summer camp was really my first opportunity to witness first-hand people who “talked the talk” but did not “walk the walk.” I decided that summer that I would not be one of those people. If I was going to serve Jesus Christ, I was going to do it with my whole being. Then the question came… do I want to be that different??? I thought for a while “yeah, I think so…” but the thought was scary. The next summer I attended (with my family) a home-school conference in Knoxville , TN. During that week sometime I heard a few young people speak (they couldn’t have been much older than me!) about their experiences serving God. Some had ministries in their home towns, others volunteered in foreign countries. I was awed by these teenagers who were so confident in their relationships with God that they were willing to risk their reputation. But the one testimony that really gripped me was from a young lady who went to Russia . She felt God’s call, and surrendered to it, though she didn’t particularly want to go all the way to Russia ! But she was obedient and God blessed her and others around her because of it. That week I committed my life to the Lord. I felt that the highest calling He could have for me would be serving Him on the mission field, and I could hardly wait!
4 yrs later, I found myself on several short-term mission trips to Alaska , Mexico , etc.. doing children’s seminars. I met my sweet husband on the trip to Mexico , though I wouldn’t know that for a few more years. These trips just whetted my appetite for missions and I prayed that God would use me wherever and however He could.
The next year, I started working at our home-school organization’s headquarters inChicago , IL . While there, the opportunity presented itself for me to go to Russia ! I thought, “this is it! My mission trip!!” and excitedly packed for 3 months at an orphanage in Moscow , Russia . My time there flew and I fell in love with the people and culture. After Moscow I was able to go to Singapore and then Malaysiato do children’s seminars. That trip helped me realize in a small way that missions can be very uncomfortable sometimes! For all of these trips, I felt God’s hand leading long before I saw how it would be possible. Every time I had to step out and say “Ok Lord, I have no idea how this is going to work out, but I’ll go.” Miraculously, He provided the means to walk through every door He opened.
In January, 2002, Nathan Terrell showed up on my doorstep! Through a God-inspired (and therefore very different) courtship, he wound up proposing to me. Shortly followed by “I’m asking you to marry me” were these words: “I believe God has called me back to Mexico to continue in the work my parents have been doing for years. If you marry me, that’s where we’ll be going.” It didn’t take much time at all for my parents and I to feel absolutely confident in giving Nathan a resounding “yes!” 9 months later, we were married! 2 ½ yrs and one miscarriage later, on Feb 16th 2005, God blessed us with a precious daughter, Cloe Renae. She has been more of a joy to us than we could ever have imagined! God’s timing had never been more perfect in our lives. We found out we were pregnant with Cloe just a month after my 17 yr old brother died. The Lord used the hope of a new life to help ease the sting of losing my sweet baby brother. Those first few months were an emotional roller-coaster that I have a hard time remembering. But I remember very vividly having to finally sit down and tell God how angry I was with Him a few months after He had taken Billy home. It was the first time I had ever had a crisis of really not wanting to talk to God, let alone want to do anything for Him. I finally came to realize, after 6 months of not knowing how to pray, that He didn’t really care *what* I said. He just wanted me to talk to Him! Our relationship slowly rebuilt, as He faithfully kept calling me back to Himself.
Nov. 3rd 2005, we boarded a plane and flew to Mexico . We had only a few of our belongings with us, and the rest was in storage back in Colorado . We spent 6 weeks in Mexico , figuring out what things we would need to bring back with us in January, working on getting our house livable, and trying to settle in to life in a third-world country! Those 6 weeks were really hard for me, and I knew it would be a challenge for me to come back after Christmas. Sure enough, we had a great time with all our family and friends and then January rolled around! We packed up our trailer and truck and headed for the border. I cried for a good part of the first day of driving, but was surprised at how much peace flooded my heart. That has also been the story for much of the past 6 months that we have been in Mexico . I have been homesick and culture-shocked, but have felt a constant peace that passes understanding. Things have been much harder emotionally and financially than I had expected, but somehow God has been faithful to give what we need, when we need it! My faith has grown leaps and bounds the last few months, and I am confident that He will be faithful to complete the work He has started in us!
Who we are and what we do:
Julie and I are independent missionaries living in the city of San Cristobal, Chiapas Mexico with our children Cloe, Gabi, Brennah and William. We work with local indigenous groups through community development, evangelism and discipleship. With the aim of building and strengthening the local churches. We install water filtration systems and ecological wood stoves to improve quality of life. We dub existing Christian films into the local language. Also we record audio material and develop written tools for indigenous groups that don't have a missionary currently working with them. In addition, we provide logistic support services to various evangelical short term mission teams, i.e. cultural knowledge, transportation, housing, food prep, and interpreters. Julie is organizing support for other missionary wives in the San Cristobal area. We have been sent and are supported by our home church, Redeemer Baptist Church of Aurora, Colorado.
Our goal is to bring God's word to the homes of people in a way that they can understand it. To do this we need the currently translated written Bibles to be recorded in an audio format for use with illiterate people. Also we want to provide at least one evangelistic film and one discipleship film in every language of Chiapas. Also implementing these tools so that every indigenous person may be exposed to the Gospel message in their own heart language.
Indigenous Linguistic Demographic of Mexico:
About 103 million Spanish speakers live in Mexico. Around 270 indigenous languages are spoken here and these represent about 6 million people (compared to 162 languages spoken in the USA). There are also communities where Japanese, Chinese, English, German and Arabic are spoken. The Indians of Mexico are primarily farmers and shepherds, most of the time they don’t read any language (their own or Spanish) and they usually only speak a trade level of Spanish example hello, good bye, how much? Etc. This level of Spanish does not lend itself to evangelism since heart issues like repentance and salvation must be communicated in their heart language to be correctly understood.
Methods for Communication in Mexico:
There are two methods of communicating to an illiterate monolingual:
First and best, another human being preaches the Gospel. Usually this is an indigenous Christian who speaks their language, has a heart for his people and the gift of evangelism. Problem: There are not enough “heart language speaking” evangelists in these languages and training more is still in the works.
So we come to the second choice, anyone who knows how to push the play button shows a “Jesus” film in their language. With this method we can see mass distribution of the same message in an intelligible format that requires very little education. Another advantage is how novel this is in the villages these films are shown in. Often this is the first and only film they have ever seen especially in their own language. It could be about how to break rocks and they would be riveted. Also this method often poses far less of a persecution risk than the open preaching of the gospel in the closed areas of Mexico.
Besides the Jesus film there are many other tools we are using to spread the gospel message. You can see our Projects page for more info.
***move this to friends and co-workers*** Affiliations:
Our team has been working in Mexico since 1987. There are hundreds of evangelical Christian groups working in Mexico. We work closely with the following.
Global Encounters www.globalencounter.net
Chiapas Ministries www.chiapasministries.com
Campus Crusade for Christ http://www.ccci.org/
Summer Institute of Linguistics http://www.sil.org/
JAARS (Jungle Aviation and Radio Service) http://www.jaars.org/whatwedo/vms
Of the 270 total languages in Mexico, 94 have had some evangelistic video produced and now made available for distribution from our office. (Jesus, Luke or Pilgrims Progress) This leaves about 170 major language groups still untouched. After getting at least one form of evangelistic tool we would also like to see some form of discipleship tool produced in every language as well.
Our team distributes about 2000 DVDs or VHS items per year from our office. A conservative estimate is that our current library has the potential of reaching 2.1 million people with the proper distribution. If we could finish another 150 languages we could possibly be reaching 3.6 million more persons. (All census numbers are from year 2005 surveys.) We are distributing audio CDs of the NT in Zoque and Ch'ol here in Chiapas. Every filter installed through the PWP includes a written and audio portions of the NT in the local language along with a study guide.
***move this to needs***
$1500 per month would allow us (Nathan and Julie) to work in San Cristobal full time. (our current support is around $1200 monthly) for more details on our needs click here.
$2000 per video project. There is a $1000 fee for every language we dub this mainly covers royalties.