Lindsey Mercer began serving as a Global Mission Intern with the Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 2013. Her work with Global Ministries is funded by your offerings to Week of Compassion.
Lindsey, you just recently arrived in Chiapas, Mexico to work with Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research, why did you feel called to this place?
For a few years now I have felt a calling to work in Latin America. When I found out about the opportunity to work in Chiapas, Mexico at Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research (Instituto de Estudios e Investigacion Intercultural - INESIN), I knew right away that this was what God wanted me to pursue. The mission statement for INESIN is to “Contribute to the construction of peace in Chiapas through the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.” They envision that “we could be a society in which religious and cultural diversity enriches our coexistence through bonds of justice, respect, tolerance and solidarity. INESIN does not believe or claim that all denominations should become one or lose their unique identities. We believe that diversity itself is a tangible and varied manifestation of God’s grace.” These are things that I truly believe in. I embrace diversity and love learning about the different ways people live, work, and praise God. I invite you to visit www.inesin.org to read more about the mission and projects we do here.
What are some of the possibilities for the next year that have you the most excited?
My main job here is communications; to provide a link between our English speaking partners and friends who support INESIN. Also, INESIN is trying to construct a multi-purpose building on their property and my personal goal for the duration of my stay here is to make sure they have the money and support to complete the building. This building will be named Samuel Ruiz Garcia Salon, after the late mediator and supporter for the indigenous communities in Chiapas, especially during the Zapatista uprising in 1994. jTatic Samuel (Father Samuel), as the indigenous people called him, was their cuidador, or protector, and now after his passing two years ago, he has passed the torch to organizations, such as INESIN, to continue in his legacy.
Is there a passage from scripture that has helped you prepare for this journey, or through the first few weeks in your new context?
I always go back to my baptism and confirmation scripture, Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” I feel like this passage has helped guide me through my life and has made me the woman I am today. Without this scripture, without God being my guide and my light, I would not have found the peace and love that I feel here in Chiapas, Mexico. He is with me always.
How is your work as a GMI challenging/nurturing/changing your faith and understanding of what it means to be a Christian?
Being a GMI in Chiapas, Mexico has definitely strengthened my faith and understanding of what it means to be a Christian. For the short time I have been here, I have felt nothing but love, peace, and reassurance in the presence of God.