Three members of a Brown County church will drive to Mexico next week to deliver gifts of new shoes, washcloths and towels to a ministry based near the city of Monterrey.
Jose Carbajal, Mickey Munoz and Munoz’s wife, Angie, members of North Lake Community Church, will leave Tuesday to deliver the gifts, and will return Saturday. The men will preach in two churches during their time with the Mexico ministry, and the items will be distributed during the church services.
They are asking community members to donate new shoes, washcloths and towels — “all we can get,” Carbajal said — for the trio to take to Mexico. The items donated are requested to be new, as they will not be allowed to take used items across the border.
Shoes in sizes 10 and under for are requested, as larger sizes have already been accounted for. To make arrangements to donate, call the North Lake Community Church at 784-7482 or Carbajal at 642-4251.
Carbajal and the church’s pastor, Ron Keener, visited the Bulletin Thursday.
Munoz and his wife, who are new to North Lake Community Church, have been involved in the Mexico ministry for several years, Carbajal said.
“He invited me and I prayed about it,” Carbajal said. “I like doing ministry. I just love it. The Lord has opened these doors to do ministry.”
Carbajal, who was recently ordained to preach, has been involved previously in disaster relief ministry, and participates in prison ministry. He has also made mission trips to Africa and Mexico.
The 60-year-old, who previously worked for the Highway Department for 23 years, is self-employed and is skilled in areas including mechanics, welding, plumbing and heavy equipment operator.
“I go wherever the good Lord sends me,” Carbajal said.
Keener said, “When I started with the church seven years ago, Jose and his family were not coming. They had fallen away from the church for a variety of reasons … he’s got quite a testimony.”
Carbajal said he and his wife, Maria, had stopped attending church several years earlier after he became angry at God over family issues, and became an alcoholic. “I went through a lot of trials with my kids,” Carbajal said. “I started drinking real bad.”
Carbajal said he and his wife were ready to divorce.
After Keener became the church’s pastor, Keener called Carbajal repeatedly to invite him to church. Carbajal said he sometimes refused to even take Keener’s calls.
But on a Wednesday in the fall of 2013, Carbajal was at a job site when he answered a call from Keener. Carbajal told Keener he would “just go visit” church that night.
“As soon as I opened the door, I felt the Holy Spirit just hit me,” Carbajal said.
Keener said Carbajal is “a changed man.”
Maria Carbajal didn’t accompany her husband to church right away. She had to see he was serious about his new life, and she now attends with her husband.
“It’s interesting to watch dots being connected,” Keener said. “I’ve seen people who were drinking buddies with Jose Carbajol step into the church. Their lives are changing and we’re getting to see that.”
Keener said Carbajal sits sometimes attends court sessions to support defendants and their families. Carbajal’s presence is “a reflection to those who’ve made poor choices, but to demonstrate the grace of Jesus Christ,” Keener said.
The Carbajals are the parents of three sons, a daughter, 15 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild is on the way.