I have been gradually writing the story of my call to missions. About a year ago, I left off with the story of Gami and I getting married. The lesson we learned through that difficult year was that God still could use us, we were not "damaged goods," and God still pursued us in spite of our failures.
In our early years of marriage, we learned a lot. At any given point in time, one of us would be passionately pursuing Christ. We were then able to encourage the other to do the same. This fluctuated back and forth at times, but we both knew we wanted our children to grow up in a godly home. This is what drew us back to God, and kept us on the right track.
Through this time, I began to reflect on where God had led me and the things He had showed me when I was younger. I remembered the call to missions, and wondered if God would still allow me or ask me to walk this path. I grew more courageous throughout the years, and desired to at least be involved in short-term missions. I did not share this with Gami for quite some time.
Sometime in 2008, I began to share this with Gami. Our church was talking more about missions and I desperately wanted to join a mission trip. In 2009 our church was discussing an international mission trip to Africa. I had attended some missions dinners and loved the missionaries that were coming in from Africa - indigenous missionaries that were changing their world. I wanted to go to Africa, but a new baby was not going to make that possible. The trip did not come to fruition at this point, but Gami and I both began to take missions more seriously.
I decided to return to school to pursue a Nutrition Science degree. My goal was to study malnutrition and how to encourage proper nutrition in developing countries. I was passionate about suffering children and the injustices they suffer. Compassion International had opened my eyes to the reality of malnutrition, and this was my burning passion. I dove into school and enjoyed studying. The more I learned, the more I wanted to study.
God led us to new positions in our church, and I eventually joined the missions board. This is where God started to really move powerfully. I was tasked with helping to prepare a mission trip. We were directed to Nehemiah Vision Ministries (NVM) by J.L. Williams, whose sister served with me on the missions board. I began planning this trip, having no idea how it would radically change our family. We planned on taking our 2 eldest with us, who would be 9 and 10 at the time. The trip was scheduled for August, 2012. This was the step that hurled us into the mission field sooner than we thought, and in a place we would not have imagined.
Gami & Cathi Ortiz
Best friends; married for 17 years; parents of five wonderful children; living on mission in Haiti since 2013.