Crystal Pierce of Baker City has worked as a missionary in Mexico for 3 years
By Joshua Dillen
Prayer and trust in God are a large part of Crystal Pierce's life.
Pierce, of Baker City, has dedicated her life to bringing the Bible and its teachings to those who don't have it in their lives. She has been working in Mexico for the last three years as a missionary for New Tribes Mission (NTM).
Pierce is home for the summer and enjoying spending time with family and friends. She has been speaking at area churches about her work abroad and has more presentations planned locally.
Pierce said her work has no borders.
"For me, it's just obeying God. In the Bible, Jesus gave the command to go and preach the Gospel to everyone and make disciples - not just where you are, but out in the world," said Pierce. "So, being here in Baker means being a missionary -- being a missionary to your neighbors, to the people you work with and your friends at school. But God can also move people out of Baker."
She is very passionate about her work and considers herself a missionary wherever she is.
Pierce went to Calvary Baptist Church when she was growing up. The church was involved in missionary work. NTM had a boot camp for missionaries in Baker and there were always visiting missionaries speaking at her church about their work in foreign countries.
She thought the stories were interesting, but her faith in God still didn't see her following the path she ultimately chose.
"I didn't want to be a missionary. I went to Bible school with New Tribes Mission in Wisconsin. All my friends were going on to be missionaries and I didn't want to do that, " Pierce said.
She returned home and went to work at Powder River Correctional Facility after attending the school. She was there for about 16 months.
During that time she prayed about what she should do - should she just pray for missionaries? She asked God what she should do. Her job was eliminated at the prison. She considered that as God's work and called up NTM about training to be a missionary.
"When I called, I said I'm not interested in going into the training this year, I'd like to go next year," Pierce said.
They told her that classes start in two weeks, there was a spot for her and to get her paperwork in.
"I guess this is God showing me that he wants me to do something," Pierce said.
Training with NTM provides future missionaries the skills to learn a new language - not actually teaching them a language, but actually giving them the tools to go to a tribe and learn their native unwritten language. They are also taught how to build a house from scratch, how to translate the Bible, how to prepare Bible lessons and how to share the Gospel with unreached people groups.
Through prayer and the guidance of God, Pierce chose Mexico as her destination to spread the words and teachings of the Bible.
Pierce chose Chihuahua, Mexico, as the place to begin her missionary work. Her other options included a country that was not friendly toward Christians and only offered short-term visas to a country in Africa that was hot and humid. Through a process of elimination, she picked Mexico. NTM lets its workers choose the country they work in.
When Pierce returns to Mexico this fall, she will be working with the Mixteco peoples who have migrated to Baja California. The Mixteco people are originally from the western half of the state Oaxaca in southern Mexico.
Pierce described the people as being very hardworking.
"Mixtec people want to get ahead. They want to have their own businesses," Pierce said. "They want their own piece of land and they want to work hard. They have a very good work ethic."
Pierce's work during the past three years in Chihuahua entailed training local Christians how to do missionary work and she had become very close to them. They had mixed feelings about her moving to Baja California.
"That was like cutting ties, that was so hard because I had been a part of their lives and they'd been a part of mine," Pierce said.
Pierce is very devoted to and enjoys her mission in life and her future will most assuredly involve missionary work.
"I'm looking at it as a long-term commitment," she said.