Monterey is a city of three million people, a two hour drive south from the border with Texas. It is a very modern Mexican city of finance and higher education, where commerce is a large part of the city's activities.
Joel Sierra was the pastor at the Jareh Baptist Church which he founded 9 years ago. It has a congregation of 150 people and is part ODF the regional and national Mexican Baptist Convention.
The church is very family orientated, where people know each other and refer to each other by their first name; a place of joy and peace in a busy world.
The Mexican Baptist Convention was established over 100 years ago, when Mexico was dominated by Roman Catholicism and persecution was rife. Joel is the third family generation of Baptist leaders; in their time,his grandparents suffered terribly at the hands of Catholics.
However, there are now 1700 churches under the Convention's umbrella, and many more Baptist Churches which are independent. The Mexican Baptist Convention has missionaries to the ethnic tribes in the centre and south of the country and provides support for many other Mexican missionaries who serve in other parts of the world.
Twenty years ago, Joel and Eva Sierra served for one year in Nicaragua after seminary training before returning to Mexico. They established many friendships in that time and have returned for holidays and ministry on numerous occasions. Joel has recently accepted an 18 month call to the First Baptist Church in Nicaragua.
This decision has taken the Sierra family some time to consider, since the senior minister at the First Baptist Church in Nicaragua after 26 years is retiring. He is now moving there, with the blessing of his Jareh Baptist congregation in Monterey and his family of four, the oldest of whom is 18.
The Baptist network in Nicaragua is very well established and plays a vital role in the life of the country. There is a Baptist Hospital and a Baptist University to name just two of the major institutions, and also schools and smaller community organisations.
With his extensive experience in his community work and Church development in Monterey, Joel feels he is ideally placed to add value to his new appointment.
This Joel Sierra interview on the Australian Missionary News IPTV can be viewed at either: tv.bushorchestra.com/BWC/videopages/joel_sierra.html