WAXAHACHIE—Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus, Melyssa Cardenas, is currently serving with 61 Isaiah Ministries to help bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost people groups of Honduras.
Through the spreading of the gospel, empowering local leaders, church planting, meeting human need, and a relational approach to ministry, 61 Isaiah Ministries ministers to a people group called the “Lenca” in the mountains of Western Honduras.
“What stood out to me about this ministry was that it really focused on the people it served,” Cardenas said. “I remember at one of our debriefing times during the trip, Shannon Hopkins, the leader and founder of 61 Isaiah, stressed to us (the mission team) that the purpose of our mission trip was not to just go into a village and do a good deed – maybe give away some shoes or hand out some Sunday school resources. The purpose of our trip was to really get to know someone in the village – get to know them and their story and build a relationship with them.”
Answering The Call
Cardenas first felt led to ministry in 2010 but it was not until 2014 that she realized her call into missions. During a mission trip with 61 Isaiah Ministries to Honduras in July of 2014 and with Cardenas soon approaching graduation, Shannon Hopkins of 61 Isaiah Ministries, asked Cardenas if she would consider joining the team after completing her studies at SAGU.
After graduating in December of 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries, a Minor degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and an Associate’s degree in Bible, Cardenas decided to pursue one full year of missions work with 61 Isaiah Ministries. That one year has now turned into three as she continues to diligently serve the Lenca of Honduras.
Cardenas is now a Mission Team Coordinator (MTC) and a Missionary with 61 Isaiah Ministries. As a MTC, she helps plan mission trips of United States churches that partner with 61 Isaiah Ministry in Honduras. This time mostly consists of coordinating with US church team leaders and facilitating their travel arrangements. However, for most of her time on the team, she has been able to dive into hands-on ministry.
She currently leads the women’s and children’s ministry, Sunday School in a village each week and has the opportunity to minister to women through one-on-one or group discipleship. She also co-leads a youth group and weekly discipleship groups in different villages.
Turning Theory Into Practice
Cardenas believes that her time at SAGU helped her to see the importance of missions and opened doors to the work God has called her to today.
“Another thing at SAGU that impacted my view on missions was the class ‘The Church in Mission’ with Professor Chad Germany,” Cardenas said. “I remember one time towards the beginning of the semester, Professor Chad said something like, ‘My goal is to get you guys to believe in missions and do missions.’ I remember thinking, ‘Nope, not me. I believe in missions but I won’t ever be a missionary; that’s just not my calling.’ Little did I know that I would be a missionary one day.”
For students interested in missions, Cardenas says to participate in different missions opportunities and to take advantage of the opportunity to go on missions trips.
“Say ‘Yes’ to whatever God has for you,” she said. “You might stay in your hometown, move states, or move to another country. The most important thing is that you carry out the Great Commission and do your part in growing God’s Kingdom where you are.”
As Isaiah 61 Ministries continues to grow, they anticipate a growth in the overall team as well as partnerships with various groups, individuals and organizations.