WHO’S THAT GUY ? →20161221_194923
Hi there! I’m Jon Mendez, and I was born and raised in San Gabriel, CA (Los Angeles County, for the geographically challenged ^___^”)

I graduated from the University of California, San Diego in the Spring of 2016, with a Bachelor of Science in General Biology. Recently, I made the commitment to serve as an AMI missionary intern at Over-the-Rhine Living Water Church (OTR LWC) for 1 year. After serving at Kairos Christian Church in San Diego for 2 years, God has prepared and shaped me to take this exciting new step of faith to serve Him in the inner city ministry at OTR.

My first calling came about during my short-term mission trip to OTR in July 2016. There, I had the opportunity to serve alongside 100+ AMI missionaries at the July School of Evangelism and Kids Camp for 2.5 weeks. When I heard about the current need for male interns to serve as mentors for the boys in OTR toward the end of my trip, God was pressing the calling in my heart to consider returning as a year-long intern. However, I initially faced hesitation due to a set plan to start applications for graduate school this winter, in addition to a commitment by contract to continue part-time work until June 2016.

On September 20th, I experienced my first (and hopefully, the last) onset of a grand mal seizure, the cause of which still remains unknown. Nonetheless, the doctors have determined the state of my health to be perfectly normal with no risks for future seizures. This unfortunately led to the suspension of my driver’s license for 6 months as a security measure, but also happened to relieve my obligations for part-time work. Seeing how much support and love I received from God through family & friends during this entire process really helped me find peace and fortify my trust in God’s will. Finally, after much prayer, I have been convicted that God’s timing has paved a way for me to return to OTR.

This year, I will seek to build relationships with the teenage boys of OTR and disciple them through Bible Study and Sunday School. Additionally, I will be helping with Living Water Church’s Kids Club After School Program where we are hoping to aid students with their school work as well as have more opportunities to share the love of Christ. On a weekly basis, I will also be joining the LWC team as we evangelize out in the streets of OTR. Our hope is for the community of OTR to truly understand the redeeming power of the gospel.

OTR is a neighborhood in Cincinnati, OH that is stricken with poverty, drugs, crime and brokenness. In more recent years, the neighborhood has been evolving due to a non-profit organization (3CDC) and the city’s involvement. Many areas in the OTR neighborhood have been gentrified with new fusion restaurants, small boutique stores and urban and luxurious housing. While the area has changed some, the presence of generational sin and oppression still remains.