Monday, November 2, 2015

Missionary Spotlight | The Sanders Family

Meet Travis, Roberta, and Violet Sanders. Travis is one of our Juárez Field Coordinators. His responsibilities include maintaining our facilities in El Paso and Juárez, ensuring our fleet vehicles are running well, and overseeing the property development for our new headquarters in El Paso. And of course, he guides our volunteer teams in building homes for the impoverished in México, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, too. Roberta is one of our Team Coordinators. She ensures all of our teams are prepared for their trips, our staff is organized and ready when they arrive, and our supporters are informed of the latest ministry happenings.

1. Tell a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
  • Travis: I hail from the village of Allendale, Illinois. Growing up I was obsessed with sports until I graduated high school and was plagued by injuries. That brought on a season of soul searching and trying to figure out what life was all about. Fortunately, that's when I truly got to know Jesus and life got interesting. These days I enjoy creating and building anything I can, sneaking in bike rides, and playing husband and dad.
  • Roberta: I grew up as a preacher's kid in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. I studied general Christian ministry at St. Louis Christian College and teaching at Oakland City University. I taught school and coached gymnastics for many years before deciding that mission work is where I belong. I love playing guitar, singing, and spending time with my husband and my baby girl, Violet, who is a year old.
2. What made you choose to serve at Casas por Cristo?
  • Travis: Early on in my journey I developed a very simple faith. God has always chosen the foolish to shame the wise. Life is incredibly complicated, but at the very core I believe we find two truths so basic we sometimes overlook them. Number one, Luke 10:27 tells us that to inherit eternal life we must love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves. Number two, we're not good enough to do that. Luckily, through Christ we find our hope and salvation. I am here because this is where I was created to be - to have a job where I get to share my hope in Christ and use the gifts I've been given. To show hope and love to my neighbors is what this life is all about. I am ridiculously blessed that I was chosen for this.

  • Roberta: I took my first mission trip at age fourteen to build a home for a family living in poverty in Juárez, México with Casas por Cristo. That week changed my heart and opened my eyes to what it means to live out the Gospel of Christ. I was hooked. After that I went on every mission trip my church organized, which eventually led to an internship at Casas and my full-time role here. Since I don't have any construction knowledge, I never thought God would call me to a home-building ministry. But I love how He works all things out for the best. It is an honor to use my gifts to work behind the scenes to facilitate life-changing mission trips for teams that improve the lives of families living in poverty and demonstrate the love of Christ in the process.
3. How have you seen God through your ministry at Casas por Cristo?
  • Travis: Being apart of Casas for ten years, I've seen God way too many times to list. One of my favorites is seeing the pure joy, hope and love in the eyes of men, women, and children who have been beaten down and bruised by the world. It is such a powerful reminder that Christ has won. I've seen countless fathers with hardened hearts break down in tears of joy and hope during a dedication because they finally see they are loved by God. However, I see God even more in the way he changes our volunteers. I believe that few people ever forget the three or four days they serve with us. It has served as a springboard for new life callings for countless people, including Roberta and myself.
  • Roberta: I have seen God bring salvation to people who did not know Him, change to the hard hearts of team members, hope to impoverished communities, and growth to local churches. Most of all, I have seen him change, stretch, and grow me. Through my service at Casas por Cristo, God has refined me and made me a better person.
4. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
  • Travis: There is a continual tie for the prize of biggest challenge, one of which is the language barrier. I know that language is not a necessity to share the love of God. However, I really hate the fact that I'm terrible at Spanish. The second challenge is having to leave Roberta and Violet behind when I go build. Come to find out it never really gets any easier to leave them, and I don't like it.
  • Roberta: My biggest challenge so far has been trying to balance my responsibilities as a parent and wife with my duties as a missionary. I also find it hard to be so far away from our extended family while raising a child.
Please Pray For...
  • Spiritual renewal and refreshment. We spend so much time pouring out and serving, especially in our busy Spring and Summer seasons, that we find ourselves in desperate need of rest and time to be filled up by God.
  • Our house in Mt. Carmel to sell so that we can settle down here.
  • Effectiveness in our efforts to spread the love of Christ with our team members and the families we serve.
  • Our pastors to be effective in their ministry to the families receiving homes.
  • Balance in our roles as parents, spouses, and missionaries.

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