Our Missionaries in Guadalajara1
by Walter Pillow
Perhaps our longest-standing missionary has been Kenton Wood, an extremely energetic servant of the Lord ministering under Mission to the World in Mexico. Kenton Wood, son of missionary parents in southern Mexico, trusted Jesus at an early age. He attended Wheaton College and received a B.A. and a commission as an officer in the US Army. He returned to Wheaton four years later for graduate studies, where he met his late wife Karen, a talented vocalist in the Conservatory of Music. Karen came from a very musical home in Michigan, where her father was a minister. Karen also gave her life to Christ as a young girl. Kenton and Karen were married in 1975 and began their ministry on staff at Granada Presbyterian Church, Coral Gables, Florida. Soon they received God's call to missionary service. They first served in Ecuador with Radio HCJB, Kenton in evangelism and Karen in Christian music. In 1985, they were called to join a church-planting team in Acapulco and for the next ten years they planted a church among the city’s professionals.
In 1997, they were called to begin a new work in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city often referred to as the “Pearl of the West.” Guadalajara has six universities, a thriving art scene, and is the largest producer of software and digital components in Mexico. This was about the time that Karen and Kenton last visited us at Westminster. As a new church having been accepted into the PCA, we heard about his calling of taking the Gospel to the poor and lost in Mexico. Westminster chose to be a part of this exciting endeavor. As of 2013, Kenton has led the establishment of a mother church in Guadalajara, named Rey de Reyes (King of Kings) Presbyterian Church, which today has a regular attendance of around nine hundred worshipers. Rey de Reyes PC has planted six daughter churches as well as medical clinics, a school, a music academy, a seminary, an organization to help underprivileged families, a downtown outreach to addicts and prostitutes, and even a ministry to neighboring Pur'epecha Indians. From its small beginnings over two decades ago, the work in Guadalajara has been growing and spreading the truth of the gospel.
Karen died in 2012 following a 4-year battle with cancer. Kenton remarried Adriana and together they continue the work in Guadalajara. Together with a growing church staff Kenton conducts multiple services each Lord’s Day, one of which is in English. Kenton also founded the English Fellowship of Guadalajara as a platform for English speakers in the city to meet and fellowship. The work that Karen and Kenton started two decades ago lives on through the Guadalajara Ministries today. Well done good and faithful servants!