Serve with brothers and sisters in Christ as they work to reach the heart of their city.

Mexico City is the largest city in Latin America, with approximately 21.2 million people in the entire metropolitan area. It is a hub for business and culture in Mexico and a leader in Latin America.  Accordingly, it is an important and strategic location for ministry outreach in multiple areas.

It is also a city, which contains a clear mixture of prosperous and poorer neighborhoods. Community development projects are important in many of the poorer communities. Mexico City is also the home to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the largest university in Latin America. This university serves a little over 187,000 students.

Mexico City is a massive urban complex, with an effective transportation system which includes a subway, light rail, a modern train system in the north of the city, various forms of public buses, taxis, bici-taxis, etc.  It is also a cultural and historical center with many world-class museums, locations of interest, theaters, fine arts centers, etc.

Every year, since 1971, young people — just like you — have come to Mexico City through Avance to serve alongside the Mexican church to see Mexico impacted for Christ.

Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us in our broken world, becoming a servant. As you take classes to understand the language and culture, participate in a local body of believers, and serve in ministry under Mexican leadership, you will learn how to effectively minister in this context.



Paul Johnson


Paul and Nydia serve with Avance (formerly Spearhead). Paul has served as Director since 2004 and Nydia as a Spanish Coordinator since 2005.

Together, Paul & Nydia lead Avance Mexico, a Missions Immersion Program of United World Mission. We accompany our participants as they serve in Mexico City for over a period of two months, a semester, a year or two years.

Our passion is that our participants will gain perspective on what their role is in God’s call to the nations. Whether this is serving Christ cross-culturally, or back home, in “Christian” or “secular” contexts, our hope and prayer are that all will be missional – actively seeking to share the love of Christ wherever they are.

We also desire to see our participants deepen in their love and intimacy with Christ and to live and minister out of this reality

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Carolyn Deemer

Assistant Director

Caro has been involved in Avance on and off since 2009, for various summers, as well as two years on the YearOut program. During that time, she was able to be involved in Mexican ministries with community development, local church ministry, an outreach English club, discipleship, and even two short-term trips to Honduras. In addition to her Mexican ministries, she also had the opportunity to be involved in leadership and discipleship within Avance. Through the encouragement of her leaders, she returned to the States after her second year to study counseling. In May of 2016, she graduated from seminary.  She finally made it to Mexico and has served as the Avance Program Coordinator, as the “Acting Director” and now as the Avance Facilitation Coordinator. One of her favorite aspects of her time in Mexico is the sweet relationships that she has made with her Mexican host families.

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Obed Nelson

Training Coordinator

Obed Nelson grew up in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He double-majored in Spanish Language and Culture with a focus in Business Spanish and Latin American Studies. Obed joined Avance in June 2017. He enjoys times of worship and teaching with Avance. During his first two years of service, his principle ministry partner was with CUR (la Comunidad Universitaria Reformada) where he helped with English clubs and bible studies with students from UNAM and FES Aragón (a university in northern Mexico City). Obed loves the Mexico City subway when it is NOT rush hour, eating street tacos and chilaquiles, and candy that has a lot of chile. Obed looks forward to working this year with our participants, families, and churches and hopes to see God work powerfully through His children.

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Erik & Kaylie Cole

Curriculum and Social Media Coordinator

Erik and Kaylie met in Mexico City while attending the Avance program. God used their time there to teach them about their distinct gifts and give them both a vision for a lifetime spent serving alongside their Mexican friends.

After leaving Mexico City, they were married in 2016 and moved to Milwaukee where they welcomed Echo into the world. Their second child Zinia Azul arrived in April of 2019.

Echo’s first year of life was filled with a series of surgeries to correct a birth anomaly. It was through Echo’s story that learned about the sovereignty of God and His purposes. In that time, God also was crafting skills in them during their time in Milwaukee that they will use in their return to Mexico. In preparation for Echo’s final surgery, Erik and Kaylie both felt a mutual desire to begin dreaming again about what our return could look like.

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