From Soles to Souls

An Interview with Rosalia Martinez – Mexico City

A major change of direction in life is not an easy task.  It involves facing fears and taking risks, even when we sense that God has directed us to follow Him. Unlike changing a pair of shoes to express our mood or to match our clothing, a life-changing decision requires determination and courage. Just ask Rosalia Martinez, a resident of Mexico City.

Less than two years ago Rosalia decided to initiate a process that continues to this day.  Led by a deep sense of God’s calling to prepare for missionary service, she left her job as a salesperson at a shoe store. Rosalia began to take steps of faith as she embarked on a new phase in the journey of her walk with God.

“I came to know Jesus as my Savior in April, 1990,” tells Rosalia.  “I was working at the shoe store one day, attending clients.  A lady arrived and invited me to a party, which was actually her baptism.  I went to this “party” and heard of Jesus through the songs and message.  It was on that day that I gave my life to the Lord.”

Some years later Rosalia began to sense that God had specific plans for her to share the Gospel cross-culturally. The pastor of her local church spoke of the ethnic groups in Mexico and around the world that needed to hear the true message of Christ. She knew there was a real need for someone to share the Gospel with these peoples, as those of her ethnic background had few churches or Christians. A desire to share what God had done in her life began to grow as she sensed God’s call for her to serve Him.

Two years later Rosalia took a step of faith and announced to her church family that she would be leaving her work. In prayer God had confirmed that He would make His will clear to her as she walked in obedience to Him. The church responded to her declaration by offering her an unpaid position as an assistant to the pastor. After fifteen years of working in the same shoe store Rosalia left her job, trusting that God would provide for her needs.

“Six months before I left work I told my boss that he should look for another person to take my place, as I would be leaving to work in the church. He didn’t believe me. Three months later I reminded him of our conversation. Once again he did not seek another to take my place. One month before I left he asked me if I was sure of my decision. As I left the store he told me, ‘You have said that God is guiding you to go to other nations, but you don’t have funds to go.’ He then gave me $5,000.00 pesos (approx. $US 500.00) so that one day I would use it to speak of Christ to others. This was a confirmation from God that I was making the right decision.”

Rosalia not only began to serve at her local church, but she also decided to prepare for future ministries. She enrolled in an adult education program designed to help her complete High School.

“My fear was that I couldn’t teach others, as I’d only finished Primary School. I thought that to be a teacher of the Scriptures one needed to have a degree or be a professional.”

Rosalia then studied and graduated from a leadership training center in Mexico City.

“I have learned to understand the Scriptures in a personal way. This has opened up many opportunities for me as I apply what I’ve learned and pass it along to others.”

Rosalia also participated on a missions trip in April, 2002.  Five years earlier she prayed that the Lord would give her the opportunity to visit Ahuatitla, an isolated Nahuatl village northeast of Mexico City.

“When I arrived I could identify with the Nahuatl woman in the village. They face the same problems and necessities that I’ve faced in the city. God gave me peace and contentment as I taught His Word. I felt at home.”

Describing the lessons that she has learned over the last two years, Rosalia comments, “God confirms his will, not by pressuring us, but by gently guiding us along the way as we obey Him. We all need to learn to trust and wait on the Lord, believing that He has a plan for us.”

Like her 19th Century counterpart, Dwight L. Moody, Rosalia left her job at a shoe store to focus on winning souls for Christ. Her ministries within the local church, as well as her preparations for missions at the Bible Institute, have affirmed God’s calling upon her life. She has learned that the journey of serving God is completed one step at a time, following His voice in obedience.