Church Planting among the Nahuatl


February Faces

Putting together our last blog post in the hotel room after dropping off our January work team.

In our last post we left you with an update of the amazing progress our work team from Wisconsin made on our tribal home. The work they did has allowed us to lead completely different lives. We are now cooking in our own home, can plug our computers in to charge while we have language sessions with Nahuatl friends, and have lights to read and study at night. We also have flushing toilets so we no longer have to walk across the yard to the outhouse at night! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness, your prayers, and the willingness of the team to come.

After dropping off the WI team at the airport, Pete, myself, and Tom Elkins bought more supplies and quickly headed back to Las Moras to jump back into life there and welcome our tribal language consultants, the Willcocks, who arrived by plane 4 days later.

While the Willcocks were meeting with Pete, myself, Rachel, and Katie about our language learning progress, Tom & Teresa Elkins worked together to put the concrete sealer (enjarre) on the walls of our kitchen. Then a week later, Pete worked with the local judge in Las Moras, Elias, to enjarre the rest of the brick walls downstairs.

Our friend Elias working on the "mudding" process of sealing our interior adobe walls.

The first part of the “enjarre” process is smoothing out the rough sides of the bricks with a machete. Following that you mix mud, water, and donkey poop and fill any holes in the brick wall or cracks to make an even surface on which to spread the concrete mixture. Next we make a mixture of lime, concrete, sand and water. Then Pete and Elias applied this to the walls with a trowel.

Putting on the mud.

Pete and Elias working together.

While Pete worked I took visitors when they came and worked on other projects in the house like unpacking our canned goods and setting up our pantry and kitchen.

Friends Norma and her girls come for a visit.

Radley also checks out all the changes in the house.

In February I began doing lessons with my first language helper. Her name is Julia. She is 17 years old and is a single Mom with a little boy named Alex. Pretty soon I had lots to process, listen to, and study. Also, in February we had about a week of clouds, cold and some strong rains. This gave a lot of opportunity for studying.

Inside studying language because of the strong rains.

The rain brought some large and beautiful rainbows.

The culture in Las Moras is a visiting culture. Many of the families come to visit us on a weekly basis so we do our best to be a part of the culture by visiting as well. We choose a section of the village and sometimes head out for the entire morning and visit all the families that live in that specific area.

Visiting the side of town where the family group called Los Flores live.

Taking pictures in front of the giant agave.

One afternoon Pete and I went to visit our laundry lady, Leucaudia’s family. It ended up being a neat cultural experience as her husband happened to be sitting outside making some of the traditional sandals that the Nahuatl people wear.

Making a traditional leather sandal that the Nahuatl people wear. They are called huaraches.

Liesl chats with our friend Leucaudia, who also comes twice a week to wash our laundry.

There are lots of little piglets that roam the village. On our way back home one day we spotted three of them enjoying some lunch in a nearby trash pit.

Three little piglets enjoying a meal of dried corn cobs in a trash pit near our house.

During a two week span Liesl had several ladies who were asking if she would teach them to make bread. Since it’s a long process, and the families don’t often have all the ingredients that you need, she decided to teach them to make cornbread. She adjusted the recipe so they could use the instant corn flour that they use to make tortillas to make the bread. It was fun to teach them as many of the girls had never cracked an egg before, or stirred dough with a large wooden spoon. Plus, they were able to leave our house with some dinner for their families.

My friends Lina, Hermelinda, and Julia learning to make cornbread at our house.

Julia stirring the dough.

The government here in Mexico has a program that helps the indigenous people by giving them payment for taking care of their communities and families. The people take on different responsibilities like sweeping & cleaning, going to talks about health put on by the government doctors at the clinic, and sending their children to the tribal government school. They are then required to sign paperwork which keeps track of how much money the government will pay them in return for doing these different things.

The government plane then flies into the village every few months to give the people what they have earned. However, they need to keep their information current and keep doing their responsibilities to receive their payment.

The second Monday of February the plane was scheduled to arrive. All the people that live in Las Moras, and the surrounding villages, as far as two days walk away, came to Las Moras and waited on the airstrip for the plane to arrive. We also went up to get to know the people living in other villages around us and to buy vegetables as vendors come to sell because the people will be receiving money.

People from all the nearby villages gathered at the airstrip to wait for the plane to arrive.

Pete greeting and talking with some of the men.

One plane arrived bringing the food for the school dorm in a nearby village called San Buena.

One plane arrived, but it wasn’t the one bringing the money. So the people waited some more.

Waiting anxiously to see if their money will come.

Liesl, with two sweet little girls from Las Moras names Antonina and Celestina.

Finally, a government truck arrived. The driver informed the people that the plane would not come until three days later, and then it didn’t end up coming until that next Saturday. Definitely a practice in patience and disappointment for the Nahuatl people, but this is part of their lives. It was hard for us to watch as we know many of the families didn’t have any money to buy food.

Everyone gathering around the truck to hear if the plane is coming and if they are receiving their money.

However, God reminds us that He is faithful and in control. As we pray that He guide and protect the Nahuatl people we know that He will do just that. He loves them, and to watch them go on in need hurts His heart much more than it does ours. We are praying experiences like this will prepare the way for the message of grace and truth that the gospel will bring.

A Las Moras night sky.

At the end of February God brought us a blessing in the form of three Senior High School students who wanted to spend their spring break helping a tribal team. These students came from the New Tribes School for missionary children here in Mexico, along with three chaperones. They built and installed the kitchen cabinets in our house, along with the cabinets for the kitchenette that is now in Tom and Teresa Elkin’s guest room. Also, they were more than willing to help with any other projects that we needed done including putting in a stone walkway, fencing in our gardening, sanding, staining, and putting in doors. We were so grateful for their help, and had a wonderful time hanging out with all of them.

Sandra and Katie sanding outside on our porch.

Adam and Kevin building the cabinets.

James did many projects for us. Fencing in our garden and building a nice rock sidewalk from our gate to our front door.

Kathy and Liesl staining the cupboard doors for the kitchen cabinets.

Liesl learned how to do the initial routing on the cupboard doors.

John working on the frames for some of our new doors.

Putting in the kitchen sink.

Our house is becoming more and more like a home. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for and participated in these trips. We are loving our new kitchen and kitchen table!

A glance at what things are looking like now in our kitchen and living room which we are using as a dining area right now.

The little kitchenette in Elkins apartment.

Everyone stayed safe on the senior work trip, except for Pete…who cut half of his fingernail off with a saw. There was a lot of blood, but after some cleaning and bandaging it is healing up quite nicely.

Pete's cut finger.

Once the team left we dove back into language study full time. Liesl has been able to spend time with a language helper about 3 times a week. She is working with two girls, Julia and Agustina and often Pete sits in during the sessions to listen as well.

An outside language session with Julia.

Julia's little boy, Alex, intrigued by our stairs.

Learning some more Nahuatl.

Liesl's other language helper, Agustina and her baby son and daughter.

Please continue to pray for more opportunities for Pete to learn language. Many of the guys are gone working during the day, so having formal sessions with them is difficult. Pray we come up with some creative ways for him to learn, and build more relationships in the process.

Pete outside with some boys that like to come and play with Radley.

Our house is starting look nice and feel much more like a home.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for us living among the Nahuatl people. Also, thank you for your prayers for the Nahuatl people. They are precious in God’s sight, but bound by many lies that Satan has allowed them to believe. Pray God would protect them, and give us the ability to study diligently to learn their language to begin to share with them the truth of His Word. We are excited for that day!

Please check out our prayer page for all of our updated prayer requests and praises. God is so good, and thanks for being a part of that goodness shown to us. We appreciate each one of you.