No Longer Alone

“Our work is all about building relationships,” Kandi Ostertag said. She, husband Matt, and children Kaitlyn and Mckenzie have served in Guadalajara, Mexico, for 10 years. They lead a team of International Mission Board (IMB) church planting missionaries in the Bajío (central highlands of Mexico). They also encourage and help Mexican church planters as needed.

The Bajío covers a large area. As a result, many house/simple churches planted by the IMB and national partners over the last several years feel alone. Kandi Ostertag said the church plants often feel like “the ugly duckling and different from everyone else.” Since they differ so much from traditional churches, the house/simple churches’ sense of isolation can grow intense.         

To help overcome such feelings, the Ostertags host retreats and other events for these churches. Those activities allow church members to “get away from everything and have time with the Lord.” They also foster prayer support, encouragement, and friendships.

The Ostertags love to see participants exchange contact information as retreats draw to a close. Youth talk with one another throughout the year and get together for other events.

Not only do the Ostertags build and support local relationships but they also connect churches in the United States with Mexican church planters in Guadalajara. They usually pair US churches with the same national partners every year. That allows stronger relationships and greater ministry effectiveness. In spite of language barriers, those partners communicate regularly through Facebook and emails.

Although the Ostertags work in another country, their needs and struggles remain the same as believers in the US. Everyone’s busy schedules make getting together hard. They must create space—schedule and plan ahead—for both family and ministry relationships.           

Like everyone else, the Ostertags need encouragement and prayer support. They need to discuss their struggles with fellow believers. Having people in their lives with whom they can identify helps them in addition to the people with whom they minister. The family requests prayer that its relationships in Mexico would continue to grow stronger and deeper.

Diana Derringer cherishes all who have joined her life journey. Connect with her at

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