There are times in life when everything goes smoothly and other times when it feels like the Holy Spirit has just dragged you onto the scariest rollercoaster ride of your life.  For me, February and March was one of those rollercoaster rides here in Culiacán.  Here are some of the highs and lows.

Valentine’s Day Marriage Event

On February 3, we held our first couples’ event of the year.  We were blessed to have Pastor Hugo visiting us as the “guest” speaker and took advantage of the date to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or “The Day of Love and Friendship” as it’s called here in Mexico.  The theme was, “A Holy Covenant.”  At the end, there were very few dry eyes in the room as 40 couples renewed their vows and two couples professed faith in Christ for the first time.

Forty couples renewed their vows at our Valentine’s Day couples’ event and two couples professed faith in Christ for the first time.

The Death of a Saint

The Bible tells us that the death of the saints is something beautiful to God.  It marks the beginning of that person’s eternal life with him.  However, it often marks a very painful ending for those left behind.  On February 5, one of my best friends lost her mother.  It was a loss felt by many in our congregation, and we pulled together to love on Patty and help her through her grieving process.

Experiencia IDÓNEA #7

Just 5 days later, we held our first women’s conference of the year.  This was a huge leap of faith for us, because after Pastor Hugo and Brenda’s departure, we had completely restructured the women’s ministry, and this was our first event.  The theme was “New Beginnings: Women of Faith and Determination.”  Three days before the event, we had less than 20 women registered, but by faith, we printed material for 60.  Thank goodness for that step of faith, because nearly 60 women came, many of them first-time visitors to our church!  Several made professions of faith, several others have now become regular attendees of our church, and all were ministered to.  I was most touched watching Patty help host the event with a genuine smile on her face.  What an example of Faith and Determination!

Patty prays with Betty before she preaches to the nearly 60 women that attended our women’s conference and later prays with a new believer.

Reaching Valle del Agua

One week later, we held our first outreach in a very poor community known as Valle del Agua.  When building the homes in this community, there was a problem with the water services, causing all construction to cease.  Almost immediately, squatters moved into the area and took up residence in the abandoned construction projects and unclaimed lots.  Now, as a result of the ministry we plan to start there, these people will be given new hope for a bright future.  Please pray for all the children who attended, and that God will move the hearts of their parents to attend as well.

About 20 children and a dozen adults attended our first outreach project in Valle del Agua, a poor, marginalized neighborhood on the outskirts of Culiacán.

Beach Bungles and Microphone Troubles

We finished February on a high note with the annual church-planting conference in Mazatlán.  On the 3-hour drive to Mazatlán, home to Calvary Chapel Maranatha and its 4 church plants, we stopped at the beach for an hour to relax, enjoy and take some pictures.  The picture below was taken just moments before a huge wave surprised us from behind, soaking my shoes and leaving me barefoot or in borrowed shoes for the rest of the weekend. LOL!  (Thanks, Jenn!) 

The conference was amazing!  I had the privilege of translating for two of our Culiacán pastors and several workshops.  In addition to the amazing worship, food, and fellowship, pastors and teachers from nearly 20 churches taught us about the necessity of church planting and its Biblical base, how to strategically reach large cities and unreached peoples, how to reach adults through children’s ministry, and the importance of faith, perseverance, discipleship, prayer, integrity, and above all, intimacy with Jesus in order to make all those things happen.   

In the midst of all my translating, however, I was reminded of my limitations.  Apparently, holding a microphone was too strenuous for my injured neck and shoulder, causing me a lot of extra pain and loss of mobility for several weeks.  Thankfully, renewed and intensified physical therapy has made a huge difference in the last two months, bringing me almost back to normal.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!

At the beach and translating for Pastor Hugo at the Church Planting and Missions Conference in Mazatlán, February 23-24

“The Best Camp Ever!”

Camping, swimming, volleyball, soccer, food, worship, teaching, devotions, teams, games, relays and rallies, the reenacted Bible stories, talent show, bonfires, bonding…  Our annual Family Camp the last week of March did not disappoint!  As a matter of fact, it was declared by many to be “the best camp ever!”  More than 300 people from 14 different churches in 4 different cities loaded up their tents and ventured out to Hacienda Lago Encantado campground to spend 4 days playing and praying, eating and competing, working and worshipping together.  Many people made professions of faith or were baptized, and many marriages and families began the process of restoration with Christ as their center.  But since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll leave you with these…

Having a blast at “The Best Family Camp Ever!” VUELVE 2024 – registration, worship, team building, devotions, bonfire, Christ-centered teaching for the whole family, swimming, baptisms, intense competition, and more!

More Twists and Turns

We also attended or participated in women’s conferences in Calvary Culiacán East and Calvary Santa Fe, one of our newest church plants, went to a homeschooling conference at Calvary Maranatha Mazatlán, had a baptismal service in Calvary Culiacán North, started a new discipleship class for new believers, and watched a total solar eclipse!

And as always, God has been extremely faithful to me and my family.  After a very rough first job experience, Ruby has a new job.  She now has good pay and benefits as well as a healthy work environment.  Sammy had his debut as an official children’s ministry TEACHER and celebrated his 11th birthday.  And, after a whirlwind house-hunting experience, God provided a new home for us that meets and exceeds all of our needs!  We made the move in 4 days’ time with the help of many friends from church, and now, one month later, we are ALMOST settled in. 

In addition, I joined a Friday morning prayer group called “Mexico and Beyond.”  Spanish-speakers from all over Mexico and the U.S. pray together for all of the Calvary churches here in Mexico, all of the unreached peoples in the world, and all of the laborers that God is raising up to reach them.  We also take time to pray for each other and the needs of our particular churches.  It has been a huge blessing to me!

Coming Soon…

The rest of April and May promises to be just as busy as ever!  You can pray with us for the following events: 

  • April 24 and May 15 – I will be preaching at our Wednesday night women’s ministry
  • April 27 – children’s outreach with Calvary Aguaruto
  • April 28 – Children’s Day service in Calvary Culiacán North
  • May 2-6 – our next trip to work with the Kuáre in Nayarit
  • May 11 – our next EXPERIENCIA IDONEA women’s conference (I am coordinating)
  • May 11 – Mother’s Day event in Calvary Culiacán West (I will be preaching)

Final Prayer Requests

Here are some other things you can be praying for in the coming weeks:

  • I lead the Wednesday night worship team, and we recently lost several guitar players and worship leaders.  Pray that God raises up new people to continue this ministry.
  • Pray for our Culiacán pastors and their families.  Many are struggling with illness and family- and ministry-related problems.  Let’s cover them in prayer!
  • Please continue praying for my neck and shoulder – that I will finally recover full mobility and be pain-free soon.
  • Pray for Sammy’s school and upcoming national testing, that he will be able to stay on top of all of his work in the midst of all this month’s activities.
  • Pray for Ruby’s continued success in her new job and that she would remain faithful in church-planting school and the other ministries she is involved in.
  • Pray for our finances – that God would raise up new monthly supporters and help us to be good stewards of what he has given us.

And as always, if you are interested in receiving my monthly email updates and prayer requests through SGWM, click this link!

Or if you would like to become a financial partner, click here!

God bless you all!


The end of 2023 brought a series of major changes to our lives.  In May, my long-estranged daughter, Ruby, came to live with us, making us a family of three.  In June, a car accident left me with ongoing health issues.  In August, my son enrolled in an online school after 7 years of homeschooling, and I was given the new title and responsibility of being the Calvary Culiacan Missions Coordinator, organizing mission trips among ALL the Calvary Culiacan churches.  In December, my long-time friends Pastor Hugo and Brenda Limon, moved to a new church in Ensenada, resulting in more changes in my responsibilities.  And, quite unexpectedly, we are now facing the need to find a new home in less than a month.

Facing change has never been easy for me, but there is one truth that never changes:  JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER.  God has shown me through a series of God-hugs – special moments where He reveals His love to me in a special way through His Word or His workers – that 1) I am still right in the center of His will, doing exactly what He has called me to do, 2) He will continue to equip me and provide for all of my needs as long as I stay there, and 3) I am not alone – not only do I have His backing, but the backing of great friends, brothers and sisters in the faith that He has placed in my life.


Here are a few highlights from the last few months to catch you up on what God has been doing here in Culiacan and beyond.

This story has to begin with the arrival of my daughter.  Ruby was taken away from me more than 8 years ago during a very dark time in my life.  All of my efforts to be reunited with her were quashed, but my prayers never stopped.  After 6 years of searching, we finally found her, but due to many unfortunate circumstances, we were not able to be reunited… until June 2022 when she invited us to attend her high school graduation.  After a difficult year, God finally opened the door for her to come home in May of 2023, and we couldn’t be happier!  After 8 long years of waiting, God finally answered our prayers, and our family is whole again!

1)     Separated from my daughter, Ruby, in 2015; reunited by God’s grace in 2023

In June, a car accident drastically changed my life.  After the adrenaline wore off, what had felt like nothing more than a nasty bump turned out to be a deviated cervix with three bulging discs and a severe shoulder sprain.  OUCH!  Life, work, and ministry had to be put on hold for nearly two months as I began to recover.  While I am still going to physical therapy four times a week, I have regained most of my mobility and some of my strength, allowing me to once again dedicate myself to the ministry God has called me to do here.

In August, I had recovered just enough to be able to attend the annual church planting conference in Rosarito.  Neck brace and all, I accompanied all of our 2023 EPICC graduates (church-planting school of Calvary Culiacan) on their graduation trip and was very blessed by the teachings and fellowship.  God once again renewed my calling and gave me new strength to get back to work.

19 Church planting graduates and pastors from the EPICC’s North campus in June (left) and our graduation trip to Rosarito in August 2023 (right)

One week after the trip to Rosarito, I accompanied the Calvary School of Missions and 45 other missionaries from Calvary Culiacan, Los Mochis, and Calvary Cocoyoc on a mission trip.  We went to Nayarit to work with the Kuáre, an unreached tribe we have been working with for a couple years now.  In spite of horrible weather (torrential rains that soaked us and turned everything to mud), we were able to hand out food, clothing, toys, and blankets to all of the families and hold our very first church service with them.  Nearly 50 people came, and through the aid of double translation (English > Spanish > Kuáre), many of them expressed an interest in learning more about Jesus Christ.

Our first official church service with the Kuáre in Nayarit accompanied by the Calvary School of Missions, August 2023

September saw the beginning of a new school year for the EPICC, our church planting school.  This year, we have seen so much growth and interest in the program that we are now offering it at four campuses instead of three.  While the South, West, and virtual campuses have smaller groups, our North campus is looking to have about 20 graduates again this year.  God continues to grow the vision for church planting, not only in our city, but all over Mexico. 

November brought a flurry of activities as always, the first being another trip to visit the Kuáre.  We went from home to home, taking a census of the population and praying for each family’s individual needs.  With the information we gathered, we will be leading a medical team later this spring to help with simple ailments like parasites and diarrhea that have already claimed the lives of many.  The highlight of our trip, however, was projecting the Jesus film in their language.  Nearly 100 people attended, and their childlike expressions of awe and wonder upon hearing the Gospel story for the first time ever were priceless!  As a result, we now have at least 7 Christians in the community! 

We also had a divine appointment resulting from a bathroom stop.  LOL!  While waiting for our team to use the one-stall bathroom at a remote convenience store, a young woman approached us, asking if we were Christians.  Her father is a pastor who speaks Kuáre and visits many local villages as an itinerant preacher.  She gave us their contact information, and if God wills, they will accompany us on our next trip to see if maybe they can add the Kuáre to their circuit!

Nearly 100 people came to watch the Jesus movie in the Kuáre language, hearing the Gospel for the very first time, November 2023

Upon our return, we celebrated Calvary Culiacan’s 7th anniversary with a joint worship service and special conferences and events for men, women, couples, and leaders.  Over 600 people attended our anniversary service from nine of our churches!  We also celebrated the official opening of our two newest churches – Calvary Santa Fe and Calvary Gracia y Verdad (Grace and Truth).  With these new additions to the family, we now have seven verse-by-verse Calvary churches in Culiacan, two just outside of the city, and one in Calpulalpan, near Mexico City.

Joint women’s conference, joint anniversary service, and ALL ten of our Calvary Culiacán pastors, November 2023
Services at our two newest churches: Calvary Gracia y Verdad and Calvary Santa Fe, November/December 2023


Christmas and New Year’s activities kept us busy throughout December and added many new faces to our churches and many new souls to the kingdom of God, but also brought us to the end of an era.  After seven years of faithful service in Culiacan, Pastor Hugo Limon and his family have moved to Ensenada to take on a large church in need of a new pastor.  As all of our leadership was restructured, we now have three very capable pastors leading the church, a wonderful team in charge of the women’s ministry, and many new faces leading our children, youth, worship, prayer, and media ministries.  While this is going to be a very challenging time for us, we know that with God, nothing is impossible.

Officially saying goodbye to Pastor Hugo and his family as they leave for a new mission field in Ensenada, November 2023

The month of January has been spent working hard planning for two major events next month – a women’s conference and a marriage conference – then, the first in a series of outreach events, family camp in March, and our next trip to the Kuáre in April.  For now, my responsibilities remain somewhat the same.  I have joined the creative team to help with photography and design, and I will continue to help with our Wednesday night worship and teaching ministries, church planting school administration, missions team coordination, women’s ministry leadership, and counselling.


Due to the many changes here in Culiacan in the past few months and the work being done with the Kuáre, our move to Calpulalpan has been postponed once again.  While I know that someday we will make Calpulalpan our new home, for now, there is a greater need here in Culiacan, so we have decided to stay a little longer. 

How can you pray for our ministry here in Culiacán?

  • Pray for the health and growth of our two new churches – Calvary Santa Fe and Calvary Gracia y Verdad.
  • Pray for the Kuáre – both their physical and spiritual health – and for the team that will be going on the next mission trip. 
  • Pray for our upcoming events:
    Marriage Conference, February 3
    Experiencia Idonea (women’s conference), February 10
    Outreach Activity, February 17
    Family Camp, March 27-30

How can you pray for our family?

  • Pray for the continued healing of my neck and shoulder and financial provision to cover all of the extra medical expenses.
  • Pray for Ruby as she is looking for a new job and trying to figure out where she fits into the ministry of our church.
  • Pray for Sammy as he strives to be a good student and prepare himself for middle school and his future ministry.
  • Pray that God provides a new home for us this month as our landlord decided to evict us with no notice.
  • Pray that God will provide new monthly supporters for us so that I can work less as a teacher and translator and dedicate more of my time to the work of the ministry.

And as always, if you are interested in receiving my monthly email updates and prayer requests through SGWM, click this link!

Or if you would like to become a financial partner, click here!

God bless you all!

My Calling

Short-term missions in South America

When I was 15, my life was a mess, but my heart was in the right place. I told God, “If you can fix this mess, I’ll do ANYTHING you ask of me… (except be a missionary).” 😂😂😂 Within a month, God had sent so many missionaries across my path that I gave in and signed up for my first short-term missions trip. That summer in Panamá truly changed my life, but the greatest change came upon my return when God called me to “go into all the world and tell my people about me.” He later fine-tuned that calling to include reaching unreached people groups and translating the Bible into new languages.

How did He direct me? At age 16, I was the stereotypical cheerleader-type that never left home without half a pound of make-up and half a can of hairspray.  That’s why I did NOT want to be a missionary.  “Roughing it” was NOT for me.  But that summer in Panamá, God dragged me out of my comfort-zone and into the Darien Jungle – the densest and one of the most primitive jungles in the world – to SHOW me His awesome plan for my future. 

From a spoiled cheerleader-type to a jungle missionary in Panama, 1992!

Before our arrival in Tortuga, a village that had never had contact with outsiders, the local witch doctor warned the tribe of our visit.  Dangerous people, he said, were coming to trick them into following false gods.  To listen to them would mean certain death, he continued, but they needn’t worry, because these evildoers would be easy to identify: they had no color in their skin!  When we rowed up in our giant canoes a few weeks later (30 of the whitest people you’ve ever seen), they knew we were those deadly tricksters!

After four days of intense ministry, one man gave his life to Christ.  We baptized him in the piranha-infested river, and upon seeing that he did NOT die as predicted, five more people gave their lives to Christ.  What impacted me most was the cumbersome ministry process – long, grueling days of quadruple translation (English > Spanish > Darien language > Tortugan dialect), trying to find common ground with a people we had nothing in common with.  After our departure, I asked the missionaries, “How will they learn more about Jesus without Bibles?”  Their response left me speechless: “First, we learn their language and create a written language for them.  Then, we translate the Bible into it.”  It was a process that would take YEARS, but they were committed to seeing it through!  The dream of reaching the unreached was born in me that day, in the heart of a spoiled cheerleader!  (God truly has a sense of humor!)

Presenting the Gospel through allegorical dramas, music, and evangelism on various mission trips: 1. Venezuela (1993), 2. Panamá (1992), 3. A 100-year-old woman who received Christ in Venezuela (1993), 4. Paraguay (1994), 5. Perú (1996)

Long term missions in Tijuana, Mexico

>>> Fast forward 6 years and 6 mission trips into the future…

As a college graduate with a degree in elementary education, missions, and Spanish, I was ready to go!  Unfortunately, thinking “there’s no such thing as a single-female missionary,” I made some poor decisions that led me down an 8 year-long detour.  Though the consequences of my decisions were painful, I thank God for the lessons I learned, because they prepared me for many of the challenges I would face on the mission field.

In 2006, God sent me to my first long-term mission field, once again showing me that His ways were not mine.  People had always asked me if I would consider going to Mexico as a missionary, and my answer was always, “Mexico?!?  They don’t need missionaries!”  When asked if I would like to work in an orphanage, I always replied, “That’s not even real ministry!”  So, with a much-needed serving of humble pie, God sent me to work at an orphanage in Tijuana, México, within sight of the U.S.  border!  But, in His wisdom, my 6 years at City of Refuge Children’s Home were exactly what I needed – an opportunity to continue my personal healing journey while getting my feet wet as a missionary.  

Celebrating Valentine’s Day 2008 at City of Refuge Children’s Home – an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico

Church-Planting with Calvary Culiacán

After 6 years in Tijuana, I again put my calling on hold.  I got married and started a family while working in a local church.  We attempted to plant a new church in our community, but due to personal failures, neither the church plant nor the marriage survived.  In fact, more poor decisions ultimately landed me in Celebrate Recovery, a ministry of Calvary Chapel Rosarito, where God radically transformed my life. How? He brought me to a place of FULL surrender (not partial or conditional) where I finally declared: “Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I need you. My life is yours.  Do whatever You want with it…”

Then, one day while I was at church, “CULIACÁN!”  Our pastor was announcing our next new church plant.  Each time it was spoken, the name “CULIACÁN” shot through me like electricity! After some research, I decided I was definitely NOT interested.  First, I had no interest in church-planting.  Second, I wanted to LEAVE México, not move further into it.  Finally, I hate heat and had no desire to move to a tropical, violence-riddled city full of drug cartels, much less raise my baby there!

But, God…
For months, I could not get Culiacán out of my heart and mind and finally decided to visit.  God miraculously provided funding and a green light to travel with my 2-year-old son. From the moment we landed, I knew this was to be our new home.  I had no idea what God’s plan was, but with my will fully surrendered to His, I stepped out in faith.

Prayer with Pastor Mike Vincent during my send-off service from Calvary Chapel Rosarito, February 2017

Six years later, that plan is now crystal clear!  At first, God used my history and testimony to minister to women and my missions experience to jump-start an outreach ministry.  He also completed my healing journey and prepared me for a future of service by nurturing my spirit with intense verse-by-verse Bible teaching.  I graduated from church-planting school in 2018, helped plant a new church in 2019, and was invited to lead the women’s ministry and become a leader in the E.P.I.C.C. (Church-Planting School of Calvary Culiacán) in 2020.

In the E.P.I.C.C., I discovered that God’s plan throughout the New Testament was never JUST sending out missionaries but raising up CHURCHES.  Through church-planting, God reached the lost all over the world on an ongoing basis, raising up new disciples and leaders to carry on that ministry, and ultimately sending out more missionary church-planters to reach more unreached people groups.  I was hooked! 

My time in Culiacán has been an amazing journey in which I’ve grown tremendously, seen 7 new churches planted – participated in 3 of them! – and seen hundreds of lives transformed!  I’ve also had the awesome privilege of training up new, future church-planters (including my own 9-year-old son!) for the mission fields God has called them to reach.

All of the churches and ministries planted by Calvary Culiacán since its beginnings in 2016

Catching the Calpulalpan Vision

Then, God brought a restlessness to my spirit once again, preparing me for the next change, the next chapter – Calpulalpan, Tlaxcala!  I first heard of the project (now known as Calvary Conexión México) in 2021.  Via a YouTube video and a few brief announcements at church, my pastor shared the amazing story of a couple who wanted to donate a large tract of land (nearly 2 acres) to build a church.  Each time they offered the land to someone, they were either met with rejection or offers to sell and split the profits.  Frustrated, they prayed, and shortly thereafter, a friend connected them with my pastor: “Talk to Pastor Hugo!  He loves to plant churches!”  And so, the project was born.

The vision has four distinct parts.  First, a church will be planted in Calpulalpan.  Next, an international school of missions and church-planting will be established where people from all over the world will be trained for missions and church-planting.  Through those students, we hope to reach the third phase of the vision: planting 6 new churches in important cities in 6 neighboring states… all within 1-2 hours of Calpulalpan! Finally, the campus dormitories will double as accommodations for short-term missionaries ministering in those cities.

I fell in love with the project instantly but did not immediately see my role in it.  That’s when God reminded me of my original calling: “Go into all the world and tell my people about me.”  As that calling wove itself into the Calpulalpan vision, God showed me my part: the same things I’m already doing – working at a church-planting school, teaching languages, hosting mission teams, and training up leaders! But rather than JUST training up local church-planters, I will be helping to train international missionaries!

As I considered the possibility of getting involved, even visiting Calpulalpan in February, everyone said, “YES! Go for it!”… everyone except me.  I had more questions than answers and was unwilling to abandon Culiacán for a “maybe.”  When my pastor said he needed a decision, I made a list of specific questions I needed God to answer before I would go.  A few hours later, my pastor sent me a message with his “opinions” on the subject… “opinions” that coincided EXACTLY with my questions!  Without even knowing about my list, he answered every question, and in great detail! 

Visiting Calpulalpan with several key pastors/people involved in the project, February 2022. Top Right: praying at the future site of Calvary Conexión México. Bottom Right: map of the donated land.

And Beyond…

When God called me to reach the unreached in 1992, I immediately began language training, learning both French and Spanish the following year, then dabbling in Portuguese, Italian, Chinese…  but over time, as that calling was postponed, my vision died. It wasn’t until April of 2022, that God breathed new life into it through a friend who invited me on a missions trip to the Cuare, an unreached people group in the remote mountains of Nayarit.  It was there that God renewed my vision and reminded me what He had created me for.  I spent a week learning their language, studying their culture, trying to blend in, all while looking for opportunities to share the Gospel with them.  It was amazing! 

But it wasn’t until after returning home that God began connecting the dots for me. Church-planting… International missions… Language school… Hosting short-term missions teams… Reaching the unreached… CALPULALPAN and the vision of Calvary Conexión México!  Though it may be the next stop on my journey, I have a feeling it will not be my final destination, but rather a launchpad from which both Sammy and I can be further trained and prepared to go out to our own forever mission fields! Stay tuned to find out as the adventure continues…

 Celebrating Children’s Day with the Cuare in Nayarit, April 2022


Welcome to my Saving Grace World Missions blog.  My name is Jenna Pepin, and I am currently serving the Lord as a full-time missionary in Sinaloa, Mexico.  I work with an amazing church-planting network called Calvary Culiacan.  We currently have 7 seven churches in and around the city of Culiacan and a church planting school comprised of 3 campuses where we are constantly training up new pastors to go out and plant more churches.  We hope to expand our network to 11 churches and 2 church-planting schools in 2023.  Keep reading to catch the vision!