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Ismael Ruvalcaba was working at a large funeral home in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2001 when he came across the body of a man who was about to be cremated. Then something shocking happened.

Ismael looked at the man’s face and saw his own. His mind froze, and he heard God tell him he would one day be in the same position.

In tears, Ismael repented of the way he had been living, supposedly serving God. Once more he heard God speak, telling him that many people who said they loved him served two masters. God wanted to use Ismael so that others would know him. Ismael responded, “Use me according to your will. Today I will quit my work and join yours.”

Ismael and his wife, Rocío, had previously purchased land in Nextipac, a small town outside of Guadalajara, hoping to build a cottage.

Now he wants to use the land to serve the community. In the summer of 2002, he organized a one-day mission effort in Nextipac. Almost 70 people came to faith that day.

The following Sunday, Ismael and others began holding church services. Soon after, Ismael and his family rented a home in Nextipac. Christian Reformed World Missions has been working alongside Ismael in his church-planting effort, helping him to address difficulties so his church could flourish.

In 2007, CRWM missionary Ben Meyer connected with Ismael through Multiplication Network Ministries (MNM), which offers training and tools to help church planters and their churches thrive.

After attending an MNM conference, Ismael applied what he learned and started advising other area church planters and pastors.

Three years later, MNM appointed Ismael to work with church planters of various denominations across Mexico.

“Training pastors and leaders on a national level has been a great blessing,” says Ismael.

The Nextipac congregation, now known as Wellsprings of Life Church, holds weekly Sunday worship services and weekday in-home Bible studies. Its members have captured the vision for sharing the gospel, and some are now planting churches in other communities. Others are taking Bible classes and preparing to be leaders in the church.

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