My First Week as a Missionary in Mexico [Photo Journal]

Follow one worker's journey as he establishes a new life and ministry in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Ever wonder what a missionary actually does? Well, today William Santiago, TEAM worker in Puerto Vallarta, shows us how he’s navigating his first week as a missionary in Mexico, where he intends to engage in discipleship through creative arts. Follow along as he establishes a routine in a new home with new challenges.


 Day 1 

first week missionary in mexico

I’m exhausted. I stayed up too late preparing, and I couldn’t rest well because I was excited! I felt kind of like a kid trying to get to sleep on Christmas Eve. Note to self: Setting out to the airport at 4:30 a.m. is not nearly as exciting as waking up on Christmas morning.

first week missionary in mexico

Although I love traveling, I do not enjoy flying. Every flight is an exercise of faith as I remind myself of the Lord’s absolute control over every pilot’s hands and every jostle of turbulence. The sun rising over the clouds this morning was a wonderful testament to his sovereignty over all creation and over every step I take in this new adventure in Mexico.

first week missionary in mexico

Walking up to the apartment that was so generously provided to me. What a reminder that the Lord opens the doors he has called us to walk through.

first week missionary in mexico

No day is complete without a little adventure. My first step in my new home was through the window, which is a way better story than walking through the front door.

first week missionary in mexico

I’m home! Settling in and unpacking really made me appreciate that this is more than a pit stop. That realization was quickly followed by panicked doubt: “Why am I here? There’s been a mistake! I’m not a missionary!”

But those are all the whispers of the Enemy. I look at the ways the Lord so clearly moved me here.

I can stand in confidence and say: “I am in Mexico because the Lord has called me here.”

And because he has called me, he has equipped me. He is the God who works all things according to the counsel of his will, and I can rest in that knowledge tonight — and really deeply rest. Because I’m exhausted.

Day 2

first week missionary in mexico

Great start to the day with time in the Word and an encouraging message from a friend. It’s wonderful knowing that while I am here, I am not forgotten by my church family.

first week missionary in mexico

The heavens declare the glory of God, even when people do not. It’s amazing that his presence can be denied by so many in a place where his handiwork is so wonderfully displayed.

Day 3

first week missionary in mexico

I love this place! What a blessing that the Lord has placed desires in our hearts and satisfies those desires in his calling. He gives us the desires of our hearts.

first week missionary in mexico

I spent much of the day reconnecting with my ministry teammates and catching up with some of their local contacts. Puerto Vallarta is such a huge tourist destination, and I wonder what I have to do to stand out from the crowd. People come here to consume. How do I show that I have come to give and to share?

Day 4

first week missionary in mexico

I believe that art is a language that can cross cultures and stir people’s hearts. I’m excited to use art to creatively connect with people as we seek to start Bible studies in homes across this city and region. I can’t wait to see what will be created in my time here.

Day 5

first week missionary in mexico

Trying to make healthy choices. Starting with a regular breakfast and the beginnings of a routine. I know it’s important to maintain my physical health as well as my spiritual health. This week: regular breakfast. Next week: regular exercise.

first week missionary in mexico

This weekend, we welcomed our team leaders from Guadalajara. It’s exciting to see someone see the city for the first time.

Day 6

first week missionary in mexico

Today, I saw several women carrying buckets, and it reminded me of the woman at the well. I prayed as we walked that they would discover the source of living water and the one who would carry their burdens.

santa muerte puerto vallarta

Santa Muerte: This idol is worshiped and gaining popularity in the area. Our team stopped to pray against the darkness and specifically for this idol’s removal.

I felt selfish here because I was praying for myself. I was having a difficult afternoon, and I prayed that the Spirit would keep me from further spiraling into isolation. I was reminded that as the kingdom advances, the darkness will push back. The Enemy would love for our team to be divided and bitter. Fighting to guard team unity is part of the work of the kingdom. I’m so grateful for this team, and the Lord has so clearly brought us together.

My prayer now is that I would remain sensitive to his Spirit. That I would place unity over preference and clarity over comfort.

Day 7

missionary mexico water color painting

Today’s painting was a result of the weekend’s inspiration. The village we visited on Sunday is soaked in New Age and mystic spiritualism. We brainstormed how we could talk about the church in a way the seeking population would understand. This little sample was a result of that thought and my reflection on John 1.

After Day 7

With my first week as a missionary behind me, I’m settling into life in Puerto Vallarta. My focus now is to explore how to engage my community through art and discipleship. My teammates and I hope to start Bible studies in homes across the city and region. Please pray for me as I seek to develop meaningful relationships in my new home.


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About the author

William Santiago

I’m a Puerto Rican who grew up in Orlando, and I went to art school in Georgia. I'm now serving as a missionary in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I was created to create, and you’ll find me painting, doodling and taking photos pretty much anywhere. I believe that art is a language that can cross cultures and stir people’s hearts. I’m excited to use art to creatively connect with people as we seek to start Bible studies in homes across this city and region of Mexico.

7 Comments

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  • Welcome to TEAM Mexico, William! We look forward to meeting you at annual conference. God bless you as you begin your ministry in Mexico.

  • When all is said and done, God takes the glory and honour.Great piece of Art that motivates any reader to continue reading and definately a non-believer will be captured by your work and end up knowing Jesus.

  • WILLIAM, praise be to his glorius name! You have really taught me a lesson ” I was created to create” May the LORD bless you.

  • William thank you for sharing this incredible journey with us. Reading your story makes me feel as if you have fully embraced where God has placed you. This ministry seems to fit you like a glove. Our prayers will be with you in the months ahead and I believe you have your spiritual eyes fully intact to what the enemy would like to do, Gods wisdom is evident in your life. May many souls be added to His Kingdom. God Bless.

  • William I will pray that your mission goes very well. I am looking into doing the exact same thing with art and spreading the word of the Lord. I have often thought that Mexico was a place that I would love to go as well. I pray that you will keep us updated as I would love to follow your journey with you. Having been lured into the spiritual false world of new age believers in my own life before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rescued me, I can understand the challenges you face. But don’t give up, talk about Jesus being the son of God how he gave his life on the cross so that all of us so may enter the kingdom of Heaven. And our sins are forgiven. In the new age movement, Heaven is never the goal as it is pushed aside in the quest for enlightenment. I remember when Jesus rescued me from my own lost wanderings trying to find God without Him. I had many people praying for me. The internet was taken away, I had no money to pay for it and there I was in a tiny cottage with my bible and so I began reading it. I soon came to realize that this was “The Best” book I had ever read and my whole life and I had never even opened it. I felt ashamed. Here God was giving me the living life of His words, and I ignored it for so long because I thought my new age beliefs were real. I remember being told, Jesus was just an ascended master from the spiritual realms. No importance was ever given to Him as being the one and only son of God. After Christ brought me to Him out of my new age darkness, the light began to shine in my life and the first thing that was gone, was the never ending fear I always lived with. It was replaced with His joy and peace. I was so filled with the Love of Christ that I immediately asked to be baptized. My sins were washed clean with God’s living waters and I am a testimony to the power of prayer by so many who prayed for me. And what God did to answer their prayers, was to remove me from worldly distractions and then He literally took me by the hand and brought me to Him. Prayer is so very powerful. People will see that when you pray with them, their prayers will be answered. And I have never met a soul who refused to have someone pray for them. We all have pain and suffering and only the Lord Christ Jesus can remove that. Now as a new christian, I can attest to this, that every time I pray to the Lord, He answers. He is there for me without fail, and I do believe He is rejoicing as much as I am that I have finally come back home to Him.

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