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Wherever, Whenever

“My bags are always half-packed,” said Marcela Taquet, from her home in France, “because I have learned to be ready to go.” Her confidence and gracious demeanor can easily lead one to believe that she has lived there all her life. In reality, she has been transplanted to so many different cultures and countries over the years.

Marcela is one of Multiply’s global workers living and ministering in the district of Montbéliard in eastern France. There, she and her husband, David, and their daughter, Louciana, are part of a small international team that partners with a local French Mennonite church.

“I was born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay,” she related, “the most secular country in all of Latin America. We never spoke of God in my home.” 

So, it was a surprise to her parents when, at age six, Marcela expressed her desire to attend a summer Bible camp at a newly planted Mennonite Brethren church nearby. 

“A friend invited me, and it sounded like fun,” she explained, “and I was feeling adventurous even then, ready to go wherever, whenever.” 

At the camp, she heard about Jesus for the first time. Immediately, she grasped the concept of who he was and was excited that he wanted to be her friend. That summer, Marcela chose to begin a relationship with Jesus, and told her parents that she wanted to keep attending church. Because it was just down the street from where they lived, they allowed her to go, although they were confused by Marcela’s insistence that her little sister come with her each Sunday. They could not fathom what two little girls would find so interesting at a church.

“I loved that there were always missionaries at the church,” Marcela explained, “sharing their stories from all over the world.” 

One missionary couple in particular, John and Janice Goertz, had a significant impact on Marcela at a young age. “They had come from Canada, and were heading to Panama,” she said. “When they shared from Scripture how we are all called to preach the Gospel to the nations, I asked them, ‘Me, too?’” 

“You, too,” she was told. 

“I rushed home and told my parents, ‘I’m going to be a missionary!’” Her parents nodded absently, not taking their daughter seriously. After all, she was only ten years old. 

“For one year, they forbade me
from going to church,” Marcela said.

However, when she told them four years later that she wanted to be baptized, that was too much. They would not allow their sensible child to become a fanatic.

“For one year, they forbade me from going to church,” Marcela said. Then, unexpectedly, her grandfather had a heart attack and passed away at the age of sixty. Processing the shock and grief of sudden bereavement somehow softened and changed her parent’s hearts. 

“Not only did my parents allow me to go back to church,” she said, “but they said it was all right for me to be baptized!” 

After that, there was no holding her back. Each week she insistently told her pastor of her desire to be a missionary. Wisely, the pastor asked Marcela to wait until she was a little older, and suggested they meet to pray together about this once a month. 

Two years later, a ship from Operation Mobilization (OM) docked at the port of Montevideo, carrying a crew of young adults trained to reach communities all over the world with the Gospel. When some of the workers came to her church to ask for volunteers to serve on board, Marcela was first in line. She was ready to go; she had been ready since she was six years old.

That month of service and discipleship was life-changing and led to one year with OM in Mozambique. There, she met women from Iran and Iraq, and her heart was stirred with a desire to reach Muslims for Christ. It was then that she realized that this calling to mission was not just for a time, but for a lifetime. 

Back in Uruguay, she finished her biology degree and began work as a teacher. Those were busy years, but when the OM ship returned to her port and asked her to help as a translator for a few hours a week, she made the time. Before she knew it, Marcela had committed to a two-year voyage. “It happened so fast,” she said. “The finances came in less than four months! We set sail for Brazil, West Africa, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon… so many places, so many needs.” 

She was twenty-five at the time, ready to follow Jesus wherever he led. When she came back to Uruguay, eager to re-pack for another two years, she found out that her church had decided they would no longer be working with OM, and support would not be forthcoming. 

“It was a big disappointment,” she shared, “but I chose to surrender my dream and to serve the church in any way I could—with children, youth, whatever.” 

Over the next few years, Marcela’s humility and faithfulness did not go unnoticed by her church, and she was invited to represent their conference at a gathering of Latin American MB churches in 2005. It was there that she met Randy Friesen, then the General Director of Multiply. Hearing him describe a vision to reach North African Muslims ignited her heart anew. 

“Send me,” she told him repeatedly. “I am ready to go.” And go she did.

The next year found her in Portugal, with a team that taught her how to share the Gospel with Muslim immigrants. Two years later, she was invited into Multiply’s FOCUS training for long-term mission service. By 2011, Marcela was joining a team in Paris that was specifically working with Muslims. Although she had hoped to be sent to North Africa, she was quick to pivot and meet this new challenge. Surrender had yielded such good fruit up until now; surrender was the way forward.

In Paris, Marcela also joined a nearby Baptist church where she met David, who was to become her husband. She was thirty-seven, an age at which such a dramatic life change could be challenging. 

Surrender had yielded such good fruit up until then. Surrender was the way forward.

 

Marcela laughs at the memory. “I just told David, ‘As long as you know that our calling to serve must always come first!’” 

Having himself spent two years serving in the Cameroons, David both understood and shared her passion for global mission.

In 2021, David and Marcela moved to Montbéliard to form a team with Paul and Sara Raugust and to work in closer partnership with French Mennonites. David now works full-time and is very involved in ministry at their church, while Marcela divides her time between caring for their six-year-old daughter and building bridges with the North African community in Montbéliard. She and her team are involved in running an after-school program for over fifty children, monthly afternoon games events at a local park, an English club, discipleship, hospitality ministry, and more. 

It delights her to see their daughter, Louciana, thriving in this environment of multi-culturalism and mission. Is Marcela prepared for the day when Louciana may, like her mother, pack her bags for another country? 

“Absolutely”, she asserted. “It will be hard to let her go, but look at us—even now, we are ready to go, wherever he calls us!” 

GO

Are you ready to go wherever God calls you? 

We are inviting people to serve in places like Montbéliard, France. View opportunities at  multiply.net/serve

To learn more about Multiply’s FOCUS Training for long-term global workers, go to
multiply.net/focus

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