Gena Thomas served as a missionary for four and a half years in northern Mexico alongside her husband, Andrew Thomas. While there, they taught English, played a lot of soccer, started a coffee shop ministry called El Búho, drank too much coffee and became coffee snobs, served as youth pastors, rock-climbed the walls of Potrero Chico, and had a son. About halfway through her time in Mexico, she began her graduate studies in International Development through Eastern University. She finished that program five months after she and her family moved back home to North Carolina in 2014. Andrew & Gena remotely direct El Búho, which still serves Mexican locals and international climbers.