Written by Kelly Hutchinson (Tallahassee, FL)
I met Deantin in the summer of 1992 before he started Faith Ministry. I met my husband Hank that same week. It was my first mission trip, and it changed my life. Hank was the summer intern for our church group as we built a house, just like so many mission groups have done since. At the house dedication on Friday, American and Mexican workers stood together, holding hands and singing the Doxology in both English and Spanish. It was the first time I felt the presence of God. I knew that God was present in that place. I felt it so strongly that I’ve never forgotten it. If I close my eyes, I can still see us all holding hands in a circle with our dirty boots, standing on a dirt floor leaning against concrete walls that were laid the day before.
Deantin started Faith Ministry in 1994, and Hank and I spent the summer after we married working there. Our ties with the ministry run deep. Hank served on the Board of Directors for many years, and we’ve led work groups there. Hank’s parents used to lead their church’s youth group there, and both my mother and my mother-in-law have traveled there with many work groups. My daughter Isabel is named after a Mexican volunteer of the same name. My Mexican friend Isabel died in 1998 of breast cancer. She was full of joy and life, but her cancer was discovered too late to save her. So many relationships Hank and I developed in Reynosa formed the basis for our marriage and our life together.
I had always gone to church, but in working with Faith Ministry, my faith grew deep roots and long, strong limbs. In Reynosa, I was able to put my faith in action. I was able to help meet basic needs of shelter, food and medical care every single day, living out the call of Jesus in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
My son George spent this past summer working for Faith Ministry, the third generation of Hutchinsons working in Reynosa with our Mexican brothers and sisters. Faith Ministry continues to change lives every day, one person at a time. That’s a lot of starfish that have been thrown back in the water!