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From Marcelo: A reflection on serving with the People of Hope and Koinonia Academy communities

Marcelo moved to NJ for a few months this past Fall and his presence and service in our life of the People of Hope was a blessing to many! We are grateful for his yes to come be with us and his humble and joyful attitude he always displayed throughout his time here. Please keep him in your prayers as he is now back home in Mexico finishing up University.


Hello my name is Marcelo Salazar Valadez and I am from Monterrey, Mexico. I am 22 years old and I am part of the Jesed Community in Monterrey. This last fall I had the opportunity to visit the community in New Jersey and be part of it for three months, from September 2021 until December 2021. My main motive for visiting another community was to see how other communities work, to meet people, help out in whatever they needed in the community, learn new things from them and practice my English.

During the time I was there I was able to stay with Mark and Annie Cantine. In my time there I was very grateful for being welcomed into their family. I was able to meet and spend time with their kids and family, I was very comfortable to the point that I felt part of them. I learned so much from Mark and Annie, the time I spent with them I could see what the Lord was doing in their lives and their family, I could see how generous they are with the Lord and the community, always ready to serve.

In the time I was in New Jersey I was supporting a great man called Salman at Koinonia Academy. I learned so much from Salman and the great witness he is for the students and teachers at the school. I was also serving the Ignite program which is the high school ministry of the community. I was able to learn how the program works and the similarities with the program of my community in Monterrey. I was able to see how the youth workers were so generous in their service and committed to it. Also how they cared for the high schoolers to have a close relationship with God.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was being able to live on Mary Street. I enjoyed watching how the people of the street relate to one another and support one another. I enjoyed watching all the kids play after school. I love hearing about how the street started, how it has grown, the people that have stayed and seeing their unity.

My time in New Jersey was filled with grace and lots of learning. I grew in my relationship with the Lord and I was able to learn new things through serving and helping others. It definitely has been one of the best experiences of my life and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I send greetings to all of you, I miss you all and I keep each and everyone of you in my heart. I will always keep the People of Hope in my heart.

-Marcelo Salazar Valadez

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