Locals serve and spread hope in Cozumel

Four local couples armed with a mission to serve as the hands and feet of Christ travelled to San Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico, in late January – not to soak up the sun and waves, but to make a difference among the country’s less fortunate population.

Randy and Pat Taylor, Tyler and Jill German, Doug and Connie Mertens, and Shawn and Shannon Smith set off on a week-long missions trip in late January armed with their own luggage and an additional 16 suitcases full of clothes thanks to the generosity of the community who donate to Heart of Worship’s clothes closet,  as well as Bibles, devotionals, coloring books, crayons, and small toys. Once in Cozumel, the service-minded couples – who all attend Lynnville’s Heart of Worship church – partnered with Waves of Grace, a local church in Cozumel whose mission is to spread the love and hope of Jesus Christ to people on the island.

Randy and Pat Taylor, Tyler and Jill German, Doug and Connie Mertens, and Shawn and Shannon Smith wear Heart of Worship T-shirts for ministry at a Cozumel prison where they served chicken dinners and spent time in prayer with the 64 inmates. Photo below left, Connie Mertens and Jill German prepare to hand out a week’s worth of food, bags of personal hygiene products, and clothes to Cozumel residents.

Once on the island, the Iowans got right to work.  On Friday, Jan. 27, the group provided a chicken dinner for 64 prison inmates and spent time listening to the inmates’ stories and praying with them. Friday’s visit allowed the Heart of Worship group to interact with the people the church supports regularly. Every month, Heart of Worship sends a monthly contribution to the prison ministry and Grace House, a halfway house available to men released from prison. The next morning, the group went into the “jungle,” said R. Taylor.

There they spent the day sharing the donated goods as well as the gospel with those less fortunate. In addition to the gently used clothes, fifty Cozumel families were given a large bag of food staples – enough to feed their family for approximately a week –   courtesy of the Heart of Worship group.  One of many highlights from the trip was witnessing the baptism of several Cozumel locals stepping forward in their faith.

This is the Taylors’ third mission trip to Cozumel, the second for the Mertens, and the first for the Germans and Smiths. The Taylors first partnered with Waves of Grace in 2022, a church they connected with thanks to Randy’s sister, Vivian Andrew, who lives in Cozumel. Waves of Grace and the people they serve touched the Taylors’ hearts so much that the mission trip has become an annual event. Even despite the illness the group endured during the most recent trip, the group is already planning a trip in 2025. Heart of Worship’s support is ongoing. Andrew, R. Taylor’s sister, will be visiting Iowa in June, and she will take even more suitcases full of clothes from Heart of Worship’s clothes closet for the people of Cozumel when she returns to the island.




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