Church Planting among the Nahuatl

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Dia de La Revolucion

On November 20th Mexicans all over the country remember and celebrate the Revolution of 1910-1920. The day is referred to as Dia de la Revolucion. All over the country Nov. 20th is commemorated with parades, and civic ceremonies centered around the history of what happened during the Revolution.

The time of the Mexican Revolution was a time of political and social unrest in Mexican history. Porfirio Diaz was in power at the time and had been for the last 30 years. Two years before the Revolution began Diaz made statement declaring that Mexico was ready for democracy and the President that would follow him should be elected democratically. However, when a man by the name of Francisco Madero took him at his word and decided to run against Diaz in the elections in 1910, Diaz had Madero imprisoned and declared himself the winner of the President election.

Before being imprisoned, Madero had written the Plan de San Luis Potosi which called the Mexican people to rise up in arms against President Diaz. This document, plus the 30 years of dictatorship under Diaz, poor treatment of workers, and a great disparity between the rich and poor were the causes of the beginning of the Revolution.

Madero, along with his supporters, Francisco “Pancho” Villa, who led troops in the North, and Emiliano Zapata, who led troops  in the South, were victorious in overthrowing Diaz, who fled to France where he remained in exile until his death in 1915.

Madero was then elected president. Up to that point the revolutionaries had had a common goal, but with Madero as president, their differences became obvious. Zapata and Villa had been fighting for social and agrarian reform, whereas Madero had mainly been interested in making political changes.

On November 25th, 1911, Zapata proclaimed the Plan de Ayala which stated that the goal of the revolution was for land to be redistributed among the poor. He and his followers rose up against Madero and his government. From February 9th to 19th, 1913, the Decena Tragica (the Tragic Ten Days) took place in Mexico City.

General Victoriano Huerta,  who had been leading the federal troops, turned on Madero and had him imprisoned. Huerta then took over the presidency and had Madero and vice-president Jose Maria Pino Suarez executed.

In March 1913, Venustiano Carranza, governor of Coahuila, proclaimed his Plan de Guadalupe, which rejected Huerta’s government and planned a continuation of Madero’s policies. He formed the Constitutionalist army, and Villa, Zapata and Orozco joined in with him and overthrew Huerta in July 1914.

In the Convencion de Aguascalientes of 1914, the differences between the revolutionaries again came to the forefront. Villistas, Zapatistas and Carrancistas were divided. Carranza, defending the interests of the upper classes was backed up by the United States. Villa crossed the border into the U.S. and attacked Columbus, New Mexico. The U.S. sent troops into Mexico to capture him but they were unsuccessful. In the south Zapata divided up land and gave it to the campesinos, but he was eventually forced to seek refuge in the mountains.

In 1917 Carranza formed a new Constitution which brought about some social and economical changes. Zapata maintained the rebellion in the south until he was assassinated on April 10, 1919. Carranza remained president until 1920. Villa was pardoned in 1920, but was killed on his ranch in 1923.

The results of the Revolution were that the people were successful in ousting President Diaz, and since the Revolution no Mexican President has held office for longer than the prescribed 6 years in office and proclaiming and putting into order a new consitution. Also, the political party PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucionalizado) was formed and it’s candidates held office until 2000 when a member of the other politcal party PAN was elected.

Dia de la Revolucion is a commemoration of Mexican history, and Pete and I along with our friend Sergio took part in some of the festivities as we went to El Centro to see the historic parade. It was incredible to see the way that the Mexican people still treasure and celebrate their history. At the beginning of the parade where floats depicting different eras in the Revolution and each had a banner explaining what was going on at that time in history.

Below are some pictures of the parade, hope you enjoy them, and that you enjoyed learning a bit about the Mexican history and Dia de la Revolucion.

A dancing midget


On the horse: The Governor of the State of Chihuahua, Cesar Duarte


Kids enjoying the parade

Birds Eye view of El Centro on Dia de la Revolucion

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend with your friends and family. We appreciate all of you and the time you take to pray for us and read our updates. Hope you enjoyed the Mexican history lesson!

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On our first Thanksgiving away from home…

I was thinking about 1 Thessalonians 5:18 this morning, which says, “Give thanks in everything” – a fitting verse for today.  What stuck out to me, though, was that it says we’re to be thankful in everything.  Liesl and I may be 1700 miles from home, we may miss our families, we may miss delicious home-cooked foods and recipes, and it may not even feel like Thanksgiving to us because it’s 75 degrees here today – But the Word asserts we’re to be thankful in everything.  As we thought about that together this morning, we remembered how many things we truly do have to be thankful for:  The relationships He has given us here, the home He has given us, the church body we’re a part of, His overwhelming faithfulness, and of course, your constant support, encouragement, prayers, friendship, and fellowship in Christ.

First Thessalonians 5:18  ends in an interesting way.  After telling us to “give thanks in everything,” it asserts that “This is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.”  How often do I wonder what the Lord’s will is for my life?  And yet here, it tells me clearly and concisely to give thanks in everything, because giving thanks is His will for me.  He desires that I be thankful, maybe because He wants me to realize that all the big things in life I could want or be thankful for – life, peace, sufficiency, contentedness – I already have in Him.

So, in short, Liesl and I just wanted to say that we hope you enjoy today, we hope you are thankful today, and we hope you find yourself in the middle of His will as you do so.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Pete & Liesl


p.s.  This is from an email I sent to our Core Prayer Group this morning.  If you’d like to be added to that mailing list, you can email me at peter_hypki@ntm.org

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Making Yogurt in the Crockpot

Yes, this was a highlight of my week…my life is pretty exciting don’t you think?

There were other happenings of course, like:

  • Pete discovering that the reason we had cold showers might have been because he adjusted the temperature gauge on our hot water tank in the wrong direction. (We have hot water now) 🙂
  • Pete’s time installing a new tanque de gas to ensure that our hot water supply is well fueled into the winter.

  • Taking one of our Mexican friends to the eye doctor to get him the glasses he’s needed for a long time, but could never afford.
  • Pete finding a ridiculously large piece of cow intestine in the HUGE bowl of menudo he was given at the neighborhood market…and getting the privilege of watching him eat it.  Oh, and he got free refills.

  • Making pumpkin spice lattes in our kitchen with our friend Cesar and watching his face light up when he tasted it’s goodness.

  • Feeling our kitten Quito’s warm pee on my lap as we brought him back from the vet, drugged from his “sterilization” surgery…and knowing there was nothing I could do except try not to let it puddle on the truck seat.

  • Learning how to make pozole, a Mexican soup, with my friend Ana
  • Teaching Ana how to make meatloaf and cornbread, and eating with her family and watching them enjoy a different meal.

Pozole - a chicken soup with masa (corn) and served with radishes and shredded lettuce on top

  • Pete turned 27!

Preparing for the "mordida" - the Mexican tradition of smashing the birthday person's face into their cake

  • Being able to help out making coffee drinks at the Cafe 1040 last Saturday night when 160 people showed up for the Christian music and talent night! Pete also built an amazing fire outside the cafe and people enjoyed s’mores while they listened and visited with one another.
  • Digging out my winter sweaters, it’s probably in the 30’s this morning. But I’m not complaining…it should be 75 by this afternoon. And some of you are watching snow fall outside your windows…or so I heard.
  • Feeling like I could actually explain to Ana, in Spanish, what God was teaching me in His Word about the life of Jacob. (I’m reading in Genesis right now) Which in turn sparked a great conversation, with a sister in Christ.
  • Going to the orphanage every Thursday to spend time with the kids. Sometimes we help them with reading, and sometimes we just love them.

  • But realizing I could make homemade jars of delicious probiotic goodness in my crock pot…seriously is a truly amazing discovery and a blessing. Because when you’ve been to Mexico, and you’ve eaten cow intestine at the market, and you can’t refuse the invitation to eat mystery meat tacos, and your system is warning you that you’re not quite accustomed to the comida Mexicana, but you want to be because eating together is part of relationships here, well, probiotics are a slice of heaven.

Since many of you are asking, I decided to post the Making Yogurt in the Crockpot technique for any of you that would like to try it. It’s pretty easy, and I’d like to thank my friends Clare and Christy Sharp for helping me troubleshoot the process after my first failed attempt. Plus, this yogurt is so much more delicious than what you buy in the store, I promise.

Yogurt in the Crockpot

2 quarts of milk – (I used 2%, whole milk makes a richer creamier yogurt, just depends on your preference)

1/2 plain store bought yogurt

1 cup skim dried milk powder (optional)

1. Place 2 quarts of milk  in a crockpot on low for 2 ½ hours. (The temp needs to reach 185. If you have a thermometer use it, it made the difference between my yogurt fail and yogurt success.  If the milk is not at 185 after 2 1/2 hours, check it every 10-15 minutes.)

*If you want you can whisk in 1 cup of dried skim milk powder when you first put it in the crockpot. Supposedly it makes the yogurt a little thicker at the end, I used it and was pleased with the yogurt at the end.

2. After the milk reaches 185 degrees, shut off the crock pot and leave set for 3 hours. (The temp needs to cool down to 110. Any hotter than that will kill the yogurt cultures. Once again, you may want to check it at 2 – 2 1/2 hours if your house is cooler.)

3. Once it cools to 110, scoop 2 cups of hot milk into a bowl and ½ cup of plain yogurt (from the store) whisk that and then add it into the hot milk in the crock pot.

4.Wrap crockpot in a couple of towels and cover with towels and leave set for approx. 8 hours. (This step is KEY! I use two large bath towels. Also, I found it helpful to set the crock pot on a folded handtowel since my counter is tile and a little cooler temperature.  This will keep it warm enough for the yogurt cultures to grow.)

5. After the 8 hours, you should have yogurt!! Place yogurt in containers and into fridge. Add whatever toppings you desire. It makes great smoothies, is excellent with honey.

If you want a more “Greek” like texture (thicker) strain it through cheesecloth or coffee filter. I put a regular coffee filter in a mesh strainer basket over a bowl in my fridge over night, it is just like Greek yogurt then…but of course you get alot less.


Straining the yogurt to make it more like "Greek" style yogurt

Enjoy! A few tips: save out ½ cup for your next batch of yogurt. After a few batches, you’ll have to buy a “fresh” yogurt starter from the store. If you heat your milk too hot, the yogurt may turn out grainy.

Yummy yogurt with granola and fruit

If you have any questions for me, you can leave them in the comments or email us, I’d be glad to help you if  I can. Even though I’m kind of a yogurt making newbie myself.  Hope you try it, and have a great weekend. Thanks always for praying for us, and keep in touch we love to hear from all of you.

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What is so special about November 2nd?

Yes, November 2nd is Pete’s birthday…thank you to those of you who sent cards and messages. I’m planning on posting a few pictures from the birthday festivities in a different post…soon to come. But the real question is, why does everyone have off of work, why are some stores are closed, and why does business slow on November 2nd here in Mexico? Because it is El Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

This day is a perfect example of the completely complex heritage of Mexico and the complicated  mixture of beliefs of the native Mexicans like the Aztecs and Mayas, and the Spanish who first arrived in the early 1500’s. (If you are interested in reading more about where this celebration stems from here is an article that gives a good quick overview: http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/1427-los-dias-de-los-muertos-the-days-of-the-dead )

El Dia de Los Muertos, in short, is a day set aside for the Mexican people to remember and honor their deceased loved ones and visit and clean their graves. In some parts of Mexico, predominantly in southern states like Oaxaca, it is also believed that the dead return to visit and commune with their still living relatives during this time. The Day of the Dead has been celebrated throughout Mexican history and the Mexican today still views death as a transition of life, a normal stage in the circle of life on earth, a natural progression, not an ending.  Renowned Mexican writer Octavio Paz commented about his people’s relationship with death saying, “The Mexican is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, and celebrates it. It is one of his favorite playthings and his most steadfast love.”

Today the ways of celebrating El Dia de Los Muertos have changed, and are different in different parts of Mexico. Here in Chihuahua it is traditional for families to go together to the panteones (cemeteries) where their loved ones are buried. They carry with them brooms, mops, and buckets and usually a bright array of freshly purchased flowers. They are go to clean the grave site, since most cemeteries do not clean the actual grave sites, and place flowers as an offering and remembrance of their deceased.

The entrance to the cemetery we visited, Cementerio de Dolores

This was a pool where people could fill their buckets to clean the graves

Some of the graves were underground, and had stairs going down to the actual grave.

A family cleaning the grave of a loved one

Some families, will bring comida (food) and drinks to the gravesite. Usually it is a dish that was a favorite of the deceased, like tamales or sopas, stemming from the belief in some areas that the soul of the deceased will return and eat the meal left for them.  In some parts of Mexico, a family will even eat together there at the grave, believing the deceased are there with them, and that they are sharing the meal with the deceased.

Beer left on a grave for the deceased to drink

Not only do they honor loved ones, but these two women and many others were praying at the gravestone of a Catholic priest, who many believe is a saint. Prayers are said to him, and many flowers and gifts left in exchange for favors they believe he does for them.

The decorated grave of the priest

It is also believed that the spirit of your dead loved one comes to visit you on Dia de los Muertos. To prepare, many families will build an altar in their home honoring the deceased with their picture, surrounded by candles, flowers, things that had significance to that person, and often including food or drink that they may have liked. The school age children here in Mexico often build altars to famous Mexicans in their classrooms in preparation for Dia de Los Muertos, and there are contests held for the most creative and beautiful altars.

This is an example of one of the altars made in remembrance of the dead. This specific altar is dedicated to Pancho Villa. Each level, and each element has a specific purpose and symbolism, and are intended to both have special significance and help the deceased person in the afterlife.

A close up of some more the items on the altar, which include candles, pan de muertos ("bread of the dead" - a sweet bread made especially for Day of the Dead), tequila, cigarettes, and calaveritas - "little skulls" that are made of sugar.

Not only is Dia de Los Muertos a time for visiting the cemeteries, but there are also fairs, parades, and vendors selling their goods all over the city. Right outside of the cemetery that we visited was the (The Fair of the Bone). The feria was filled with vendors selling special candied skulls, dulces or sweets made especially for Dia de Los Muertos, pan de muerto, fresh sugar cane (a Day of the Dead specialty), tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and of course all kinds of Mexican pottery, jewelry, and other wares.

Flowers for sale

A close-up of the calaveritas, or candy skulls. According to some of our friends, actual skulls were dug up and placed on the graves in times past. However, that is no longer legal, which is why the sugar skulls are used.

A crowd gathered as a vendor demonstrated a magic liquid that we was selling. He said that it had magical powers and could do a number of different things for you - make someone fall in love with you, make someone deathly ill, or help you obtain more money - all depending on the way you prayed or what you asked for it to do.

Our friend Sergio purchasing some sugar cane pieces

Sugar cane...interesting...

Mole tamale

Our thoughts on the day: As we walked through the cemetery with our friend Sergio observing all the families cleaning, praying, and honoring their dead…it was sad. So much of the history of this day is stemmed from beliefs the people have believed for years and passed down through generations, beliefs that worship and honor death, and make it a large part of their culture. While Chihuahua City is heavily influenced by other cultures and the celebration and traditions are not as strong here as they are in southern Mexico, there is still a darkness that surrounds Dia de Los Muertos and those participating in the rituals of it. While we went to experience it ourselves as a culture learning event, I think we learned even more about the urgency of the task at hand here in Mexico and throughout the world. The urgency of the task of spreading the truth of hope in Christ, that there is life after death, a glorious life in the presence of our Creator God. How great is the urgency, and how fleeting is life, and how many precious souls there are without a Savior. We are reminded of the great harvest before us here in Mexico, the work that we have been compelled to do. ” He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. ”        Luke 10:2-3 Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for supporting us, because of your obedience to the Lord and by His grace we have come to work in this harvest field of Mexico, because we know that there is hope. Pray as we spend time in the culture that the Lord would guide us, and that we would be bold to share His life with others and if we don’t know the words that we would walk His life before them. Pray that the Mexican people living in darkness would begin to see a great light, hope for the future, and hope of life – not death – passed down for generations to come.