EUMC’s Covenant Missionaries
Miguel Mairena and Nan McCurdy, EUMC’s Covenant Missionaries currently serving with GYTTE (Give Ye Them To Eat, Mark 6::37) in Puebla, Mexico. Donate through UMC Global Ministries using The Advance #07629A.
What is GYTTE?
"Give Ye Them To Eat" (GYTTE)* “was founded in 1977 as a social outreach project of the Methodist Church of Mexico to combat hunger and poverty in the rural sector.”
GYTTE is the project to which our covenant missionaries, Nan McCurdy and husband Miguel Mairena, are assigned by the UMC. The project is based at the Tree of Life Training Center for Integrated Development in Tlancualpicán, Puebla, Mexico.
“The purpose of GYTTE is to strengthen the capabilities of marginalized people and communities to meet their basic needs…. Participatory methods and development tools are used to create conditions in which change can take place from within the communities.” Programs and projects emphasize ecologically sound practices and the use of locally available materials.
Currently one of the most important parts of GYTTE’s work is a community health program where women are trained to be Health Promotors serving their rural impoverished communities.
We hope you will consider this Study/Mission Opportunity with GYTTE in Puebla, Mexico from Nov. 10 – 19, 2023. You will never be the same. Join team leader Rev. Marian Hartman for a 10 day Study Mission trip with Give Ye Them To Eat. AWARE (Alternative work/study and reality experience) teams make a difference in the lives of rural families as well as of the staff of GYTTE.
Working with missionaries, Nan McCurdy and Miguel Mairena, you will experience the culture and the working lives of our Mexican brothers and sisters. Almost three days of educational tourism includes the colonial city of Puebla and the archeological wonder that is the Cholula Pyramid. Most of the time you will be learning, working and building relationships near the small town of Tlancualpican where the Tree of Life Training Center is located.
There are projects for all skill levels and physical abilities. Work days are 5 hours followed by other educational activities. Recent projects have included repairs and improvements at the Tree of Life Training Center as well as home building (with mud and straw) in neighboring villages. If you tire easily, that’s ok. Take a break. If you like hard physical labor, we probably have some rocks to move. If you’re somewhere in-between, there are opportunities to learn new skills or use the skills you already have.
The areas where you will travel are safe, the food is great, and the water is bottled. Staff in Mexico are fully vaccinated against Covid. Accommodations are comfortable with a hotel in Puebla and dormitories at the training center, hot showers and Wi-Fi.
Dates: November 10-19, 2023
Cost: $1,050 - 97% inclusive, plus $300 towards a work project. You pay your roundtrip airfare to arrive in Mexico City on November 10 by 3pm at the latest; and leave from Mexico City on November 19 at 10:30am at the earliest. With Marian, you will travel back and forth to Puebla by buses that are more comfortable than your airplanes!
If you have questions feel free to contact Ellen McDaniel.
Meet Nan & Miguel
Nan McCurdy is a United Methodist missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries. She and her missionary husband, Miguel Mairena, are serving with Give Ye Them to Eat (GYTTE) in Puebla, Mexico.
The purpose of “Give Ye Them to Eat” is to strengthen the capabilities of marginalized people and communities to meet their basic needs, and to determine and sustain a just and integrated development process.” They provide training in appropriate technologies, sustainable agriculture and health so that people can improve their lives. Their farm and training center is in Tlancualpican, which was at the center of September 2017 earthquake – many families lost homes. The staff provides training to make straw-bale homes that are cooler and more earthquake resistant than homes built with bricks or blocks.
Nan served the people of Nicaragua from 1985 to 2014. She and Miguel worked for 20 years with women and youth through the Women and Community Association in San Francisco Libre.
Of her call to mission, Nan says, “We are called to follow Christ’s example: to accompany and promote an abundant life for the excluded —all those not included fully in society. As God’s children, we are called to contribute to a just society here on earth, one that fulfills the Jubilee: the liberation of slaves, restitution of the earth, forgiveness of debt, and redistribution of riches.”
“’Sell all your things, give to the poor and follow me’—this is Christ’s most difficult message for us as U.S. Christians,” Nan observes. “Our worth and well-being are so wrapped up in what we have, in contrast to people in countries like Mexico and Nicaragua who have nothing but their faith.”
During the war in Nicaragua in the 1980s, Nan and her late husband, Philip Mitchell, worked in a pastoral ministry of accompaniment with people in the war zone. After the war, she assisted in the creation of the Foundation for Nicaraguan War Victims. Phil died in 1991—their daughter Nora was one and their son Daniel was three. She married Miguel Mairena in 1995. Nan and Miguel have an international and blended family that includes three daughters and three sons currently in four countries.
Nan holds degrees in biology, ecology, and pharmacy, and has done extensive non-degree studies in gender in the fields of development and community development.
Nan and Miguel are members of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.
Miguel Mairena is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Miguel and Nan McCurdy are serving with Give Ye Them to Eat (GYTTE) in Puebla, Mexico. Give Ye Them to Eat was founded in 1977, as a social outreach project of the Methodist Church of Mexico to combat hunger and poverty in the rural sector. The primary goal of “Give Ye Them to Eat” is to strengthen the capabilities of marginalized people and communities to meet their basic needs, and to determine and sustain a just and integrated development process so people can achieve the full promise and potential of their life as a child of God. Participatory methods and development tools are used to create conditions in which change can take place from within the communities. GYTTE uses people-centered approaches to development. It is through our various programs that this goal is achieved.
Miguel was a Mission Advocate in the denomination’s Western Jurisdiction from 2014 to 2018, helping United Methodists participate more fully in global mission. From 1997 to 2014 he was a missionary in Nicaragua working with women and youth in human rights.
For Miguel the words of Jesus from Mathew 25:40 are a guide for mission: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Miguel is a lawyer and has a master’s degree in criminal law. In Nicaragua he provided legal counsel to women dealing with situations of physical, psychological, and economic violence. He also counseled men about reproductive responsibility and to prevent violence against women. He and Nan worked for many years with the Women and Community Association of San Francisco Libre.
A theologian at heart, Miguel weaves religious reflections into his personal encounters while going about his daily work. Miguel also studied Christian education at Wesley Theological Seminary.
Coming from a large, religious, impoverished Nicaraguan farming family, Miguel had few opportunities to study until he was 20 years old, when he began first grade. Growing up on an island in Lake Nicaragua he learned farming, fishing, and boat skills, and worked during his teens as a mechanic and boat driver.
Most of his studies took place during the years of the Sandinista revolution. He then worked in community and agricultural development projects serving farmers and war veterans through the Nazarene Church, World Vision, and two different ecumenical centers. He is grateful to have had the opportunity to continue studying as an adult and constantly encourages other adults to keep studying.