Today on the Engaging Missions Show, our guest, Mateo, comes from the University of Florida. He focuses on equipping students to follow the Great Commission and see the world come to know Jesus.
Mateo was born in Columbia but came to the U.S. with his family at age 10 due to potential conflict in the country. His family faced financial struggle. But because of that struggle, the family came to Christ.
During his college years, Mateo faced a significant loss. God helped him through that season and fueled his desire to see the Gospel spread. Now, he follows the Lord's call to make disciples and send out believers all over the world.
What we talked about
Getting to know Mateo
Mateo’s life growing up
Mateo was born and raised in a large city in Columbia to an upper-middle class family, his father being a well-off businessman. At around ten years old, however, Mateo and his family were uprooted from their home due to political issues and his father’s work, going from a life of plenty to living on almost nothing.
Coming to the U.S. as refugees, Mateo’s family struggled to simply get by as his dad took a job mowing lawns and worked other side jobs just to provide food for his family. This was a humbling experience for Mateo’s parents, who had previously lived with house workers who would take care of tasks such as cleaning and cooking, and were then having to do those same things for themselves. They also had to face a lack of financial stability as income was barely enough to put food on the table week to week, but God gave them the strength to make it through.
God’s orchestration through the hard times
Mateo shares how God used the time of poverty and humility to draw his family to Himself. Through all of the financial struggles and times of not knowing where food was coming from, God surrounded Mateo’s family with believers who would help them by giving them food or money. As his parents saw these believers serve and encourage them, they came to a place of reevaluating their faith and seeking Him wholeheartedly.
Although Columbia is immersed in a Catholic culture, his parents didn’t really know Him or His love. This humbling experience brought his parents to the feet of Jesus, and as they sought Him, He began to change their hearts and actions to reflect His Kingdom. At first, Mateo saw their acceptance of Christ as a form of last resort, but after two and a half years of seeing change and transformation in his parents’ lives, he began to see his need for Christ.
What was a challenging time for you and how did God help you through it?
Entering college at University of Florida, Mateo came as a somewhat immature believer in Christ although he had accepted Christ at 14. While there, he met a girl named Katherine, who was a strong believer, and wanting to pursue a relationship with her, Mateo decided he should get his life together so that he would have a chance with her. As he went to Bible studies with her and got to know her more, he started to grow in his relationship with the Lord as well.
As Katherine and Mateo continued to become closer to one another, they began to plan for marriage. Over the summer, Mateo worked a job in Virginia in order to have enough money to buy a ring to propose, and during that time, a tragic event occurred that wrecked his world. Leaving his summer job to come back home, Mateo took a year off to grieve and process his loss. God used people around him to support him during that time and gave him a verse that reminded him that God knew his heartache and was with him through it.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” - Psalm 56:8 NLT
Engaging Missions Leadership MInute
Scott McClelland of FX Missions shares about selfish ambition and the damage it brings. Listen to discover what happened during some missions training exercises and what you can do if you have failed similarly.
If you have a question about leadership that you’d like to have answered on the show, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the ministry
What is your ministry like?
Mateo shares his vision for his ministry, which is to see influential students equipped with the ability to make disciples and plant churches. Mateo works to engage people from all over the world who come to University of Florida’s campus and to lead them to Christ. By doing so, those people from other countries can take the Good News back to their homes and reach places that missionaries struggle to access. The dream is to catalyze church planting movements all over the world, spreading the Gospel to every corner of the world. As the ministry grows and learns, Mateo has been able to rejoice at the fruit that is coming forth from this ministry.
Transition from career to ministry
After Mateo’s season of loss, he wrestled with God and what He wanted him to do. During that time of uncertainty, he worked at a Exxon Mobil, where he saw many believers who were not exactly eager to spread the Gospel at work. After graduating from college, Mateo realized that there was a need on college campuses for the Gospel to be spread and for believers to be equipped to make disciples.
Because of his difficult experiences, Mateo knew fully the fragility of life, which motivated him to spread the Gospel with urgency. Although there was never a “divine call” in which God clearly said, “Do campus ministry,” God did draw and prompt him to stay. Mateo saw the need, realized he could fill it, and decided to do so
How God moved in the Dominican through college students
Mateo took a trip with some college students to the Dominican Republic for four weeks. On that trip, in four weeks alone, 41 people came to know Christ, and those 41 went out and led 13 others to Him. The trip taught the students how to better disciple those around them and how to plant churches
Focus on YOU, the listener
How to see the marketplace as ministry
Mateo shares some statistics of how many people in the U.S. are unwilling to come to church or church events, which reveals the need for marketplace people to spread the Gospel in their work places.
“You are in the trenches, and the people that are around you desperately need Jesus, and if you just look around you, you will see that people are drowning in life, going through the motions.”
“They live to work, and they don’t know the joy of knowing Jesus.”
“Wherever you’re at, God has strategically placed you just so that you might tell those around you about His Son and what He did for us.”
“Share your story. The world needs it.”
“You are in a strategic place to reach those who are far from God.”
What does “uninvitable” mean?
Uninvitable people are those will patently refuse to attend any church service or church-led event, even when invited by a friend or neighbor. Although there are many people who have no desire to come to church, there are plenty who are open to hearing the Good News and are in dire need of Jesus.
How should believers in the marketplace engage people from other nations?
“The mission is here!”
“Just by sharing a meal with people, you might be able to develop a friendship that could lead to a new believer in Jesus.”
Internet and book suggestions
“Make the most of every opportunity; know that there are people far from God all around you...don’t take it for granted.”
Questions, Topics, and Times
- [00:28] – Introduction
- [01:28] – Finding Christ through a season of humility
- [06:02] – How God used struggle to draw him near
- [10:19] – What was a challenging time in your life, and how did God help you through it?
- [21:31] – Leadership minute
- [23:51] – Equipping students for the spread of the Gospel
- [30:35] – Transitioning from engineering to ministry
- [34:50] – God’s movement in the Dominican Republic
- [39:04] – How to minister in the marketplace
- [41:49] – What does “uninvitable” mean?
- [44:32] – How to reach the nations at the workplace
- [46:58] – Internet resource
- [47:57] – Book recommendation
- [48:51] – Parting advice and contact information
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