Team of 12 college students and 5 adult leaders are headed to Mexico on mission trip after Christmas


Support mission team members with prayer and financial support, including funds to purchase children’s Spanish New Testament Bibles (pictured above) for distribution.

Pray for the team. Click here for DAILY PRAYER CALENDAR.

By Lane Gardner of Camp, Memphis Conference Director of Communications

Brooke Cagle hopes to be used as a “willing vessel for God’s love” as part of a mission team.

The 21-year old senior at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, is one of 12 college students from throughout the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church traveling to Allende, Coahuila, Mexico, Dec. 27- Jan. 4, on a Volunteers in Mission (VIM) trip.

Five adults are leading the students to serve in an area that stretches from Piedras Negras to Matamoros along the Mexico-Texas border.

According to Elyse Bell, Memphis Conference director of missional engagement and one of the adult leaders, the group’s mission work will include:

  • Working on living and kitchen facilities for the pastor and family serving Muzquiz Native American Methodist Mission Church
  • Working with Vida Nueva, a rapidly-growing church in a struggling neighborhood
  • Helping remodel and repair a downtown church, Templo Mesias
  • Working with feeding ministries with funds from the 2018 Memphis Conference Lenten Hunger Offering
  • Distributing health kits and Bibles
  • Hosting community meals
  • Leading Vacation Bible Schools
  • Conducting porch visits alongside local pastors and joining people in prayer
  • Worshipping with multiple congregations
Joining Bell as adult leaders on the trip are Dr. Joe Geary, Memphis Conference director of connectional ministries; Rev. Larry Chitwood, Memphis Conference Peace with Justice advocate and pastor of Bolton and Macedonia United Methodist Churches in the Metro District; Rev. Alan Trull, pastor of Gleason United Methodist Church in the Tennessee River District; and Rev. Tricia Trull, director of the Wesley Campus Ministry at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, and pastor of McKenzie First United Methodist Church in the Tennessee River District.

Expressing excitement about the trip, Cagle, said, “I hope we stay Christ-centered and Spirit-led. God is always and already very present here where we are and in Mexico, as well.”

Asked about her hopes for the trip, Cagle responded, “I have a spirit of expectancy that God is already doing and will continue to do such cool things in His plan and His timing, but I don't want to put that expectancy in a box because I know that the Holy Spirit is and will be our guide and God will work through the expected and unexpected.”

Cagle, who serves as a youth intern at Paris First United Methodist Church in Paris, Tennessee, and whose home church is Northside United Methodist Church in Jackson, Tennessee, said she is excited to see how God “leads and prepares” and “works through” the students on the mission trip to Mexico.

“I know it will be just as much of a blessing for me as it hopefully will be for the people with whom I come in contact,” she added.

Emily McGill, a Bethel University junior, said she has always wanted to go on a mission trip. This opportunity has worked out for her and she is "excited" to share Christ's love. She is a member of Humboldt First United Methodist Church in Humboldt, Tennessee.

As a musician, McGill is anxious to help lead worship in Mexico and, because she has experience running Vacation Bible Schools, she looks forward to "working with children and teaching them new skills in the church environment."

All 12 students participated in a four-hour training for the trip on Nov. 4 at McKenzie First United Methodist Church in McKenzie, Tennessee.

Bell observed that all the students are eager to share in word and deed. She said they expressed a desire to “make a difference in the world through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Following the training, Geary remarked how impressed he is with the “seriousness” of the students to be “the hands and feet of Jesus.”

These are “young people who want to do something,” reported Geary.

The 12 students represent three Wesley Campus Ministries of the Memphis Conference: Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee; Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky; and University of Tennessee at Martin, Tennessee. Students were invited from all six of the Memphis Conference’s campus ministries.

Student team members are listed below with their student ministry affiliation:
  • Shelby Bowles, Bethel University
  • Brooke Cagle, Bethel University
  • Luke Cagle, Bethel University
  • Lamontae Collier, Bethel University
  • Hannah Fesmire, University of Tennessee at Martin
  • Jennifer Free, Murray State University
  • Danielle Harstin, University of Tennessee at Martin
  • Emily McGill, Bethel University
  • Alex Muncy, University of Tennessee at Martin
  • Ashley Powers, Bethel University
  • Lauren Riley, Bethel University
  • Wesley Sliger, University of Tennessee at Martin
There is a cost for each student to join the trip. The campus ministries are helping the students raise money to cover their costs.

Geary points out that all four “areas of focus” of the Memphis Conference are being targeted with this trip:
  • Engaging the mission field
  • Investing in young people
  • Creating transforming lay and clergy leaders
  • Growing fruitful and faithful churches
  • Pray for the team and their work. Click here for daily prayer calendar.
  • Make financial contributions to the Wesley campus ministries to help fund the students’ costs.
  • Purchase children’s Spanish New Testament Bibles for distribution. The Bibles cost $1.76 each or $70.56 for a case of 40. Donations may be mailed to Memphis Conference United Methodist Church, 24 Corporate Blvd., Jackson, TN 38305, Attention Elyse Bell.

For more information about the mission team/trip, contact Bell at or 731-664-8480.