From farming at his parents’ side to feeding hundreds of kids in Mexico, Devon Kehler who was born and raised in Carman, has helped to change our world, one family at a time. Kehler fell in love with the city of Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico when he was a teenager of 17 years old and his parents introduced him to the mission field in some of the poorest areas of Mexico.
It was in the smaller community of San Carlos which is close to Guaymas, where Kehler got his first taste of building in that part of the world, where termites ravage wood buildings, and hurricane-like storms tear down poorly built structures.
He would help with the building project on a mission that reached out to the many surrounding communities, schools and medical centres in some of the most remote villages in the area. But he would fall in love with a girl, her family, and the city of Guaymas.
Guaymas is a city located in the Guaymas Municipality in the southwest part of the state of Sonora in northwestern Mexico with a population of over 130,000. It is just over 400 km from the US border on the coast of the Gulf of California.
Kehler and his wife, Marisol, work together with Marisol’s parents who have been working together with the schools in the area to respond to the extreme hunger that was recognized by the teachers.
A building project was started and today, now 5 years later, they are directors of the mission and feed over 100 children every week at their feeding program mission called Belen Casa Del Pan, which is Spanish for the Hebrew word “Bethlehem” or ‘House of Bread’.
Kehler explains the numerous services they provide to their community. “We do an outreach to mothers once a month, but for the children we feed them three times each week. During the week we feed about 50 children and on Saturday’s we see over 100 kids. These families are very poor. The parents are often times dealing with an addiction issue or prostitution so there are a lot of difficult things that we see.”
“We have started using 4 new classrooms for the children’s classes, most often on Saturday. But when they’re done we will use them for women’s ministry and for shops (for youth).”
“Our kids are getting older now, so we’ve started a youth night for them once a month. Also in a different part of Guaymas we’ve started another outreach, a satellite location. At this point we bring different groups in from the states who bring in clothes and do ministry. But we have started an official feeding program there as well with the same conditions for these families about a mile away. We serve up to about 80 kids at one time here at this second location.”
The staff at Belen Casa del Pan includes Marisol’s parents where her mother has pastoral training and leads many Bible studies and training with the local people. Marisol’s father is the cook for the mission who has been a chef on the fishing boats for some 30 years. Marisol has her Masters of Education and is a trained social worker.
Presently, the Kehler’s are visiting their hometown of Carman till the end of July and will be spending some of that time presenting their mission outreach program to various churches and groups, with the hopes of raising money for the feeding programs, as well as the newest building project in the second location. Kehler says the land has been acquired, but now they are fund-raising to build the infrastructure.
When asked if they have an exact goal for their fund-raising target, Kehler says God has always known their exact need so He will provide for both the food, and the construction funding that is required.