A voice startles me from where I stand at the kitchen sink. My right hand scrubs the last of the pancake batter from the bowl and even though I am staring out the window, my mind has wandered to a dazed state and this voice has just shattered my thoughts. I peer out the window into the thick morning fog that hangs like a down pillow over the mesa on which we live and see the face of my 17 year Nahuatl friend Julia standing at our gate. Oh shoot, I’m still in my pajama shorts, I throw on a hoodie and head out the door. Her boy, Alex is sick she tells me. She needs powdered milk, because he won’t eat, and just some nutrients will keep his body going. I scoop some into a small bag, all the while using phrases that maybe she understands, and she nods and smiles.
Several days later, standing again at our gate is the family from across the river, they are worried about their Dad. He’s been sick for weeks, and has a good day, and then the next is really bad. The pain in his chest is overwhelming, and he can’t stop coughing. Can Pete take them to the nearest town where they can see the doctor? This is their plea. It is a 5 hour drive and it’s mid-day so Pete will most likely be spending the night down there before he can come back to Las Moras.
This is nothing more than a glimpse of what our lives are often like here in Las Moras. Each day we have opportunities to interact with the Nahuatl people and our co-workers and we never know how God is going to lead us, or what He may ask us to do. We do know one thing, that He is already using the way that we respond to begin shaping the Nahuatl people’s view of Himself and the Body of Christ.
“So, dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” ” Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Cor. 15:58 & 16:13,14
The ministry here in Las Moras is not only about the physical and felt needs of the Nahuatl people, but about their spiritual need, their need for a Saviour. For this reason, Pete, myself, and our co-workers Katie and Rachel are in full time language study of the Nahuatl langauge, better known as Mexicanero. Each day we spend around 8 hours learning and studying the language. We do this in a variety of ways. Having a structured language session with a designated language helper.
Studying at home listening to recordings, writing them out, analyzing the usage of verbs and identifying connector words and phase usage, and planning our future language sessions with helpers.
We also spend time asking the people about the Nahuatl culture. Whenever there is an event or happening here in Las Moras or any of the surrounding villages we try our best to attend, take pictures, ask questions, and record our findings. We not only want to show the Nahuatl people our interest in their culture, but we want to have lots of examples on hand for when we begin to teach the Word of God in their language. These examples will be referred to so we know best how to explain concepts and truths in the Bible in a way that our Nahuatl friends can relate to and fully understand.
Also, throughout each day, since the Nahuatl culture is a visiting culture, many people will come to our home to visit. They usually want to chat a bit, and we often do that over a steaming cup of instant coffee, or they love hot chocolate. Also, their children love to play with matchbox cars, and look at books with pictures.
On Sundays, Pete and I like to work on home projects, work in our newly planted garden, or just take some time to rest before the next busy week begins. We also meet as a team to listen to a sermon podcast and spend some time praying and unifying as a group.
This last month of June was a weird one for us…incredibly busy, but not the way we had planned it at all. Two days into the month, I contracted a terrible strain of influenza and was in bed…yes, without getting up, for 9 straight days. I was incredibly dehydrated, and weak, but God was faithful in this time and it could have been a lot worse. Three days after I got sick, Pete had to drive a family down to the nearest town to take their Dad to the doctor. He was gone for 2 days, the man was sent home with malaria medicine, and when Pete returned he had all the home chores, language learning, taking care of the animals, and entertaining visitors as I was very sick.
I recovered just in time for our language consultant to come for our first language evaluations. The evaluation time went well and when the time was over Pete and I both felt like we had some new goals to work towards and were excited for the new learning that we will be doing over the summer months.
After our consultant left, our co-worker Rachel went to a coastal city to do some buying and met up with Tom and Teresa Elkins our other co-workers there. They began their travel up to Las Moras on Sunday, June 16th and the Elkin’s truck broke down about 1 hour up the mountain road. Their truck was too large and heavy to be towed down, and the parts needed to fix it needed to be ordered from a large city. So, Pete headed down from Las Moras in our truck, picked up Teresa and Rachel and took them into town to spend two nights at a hotel while they waited for the truck parts to arrive. Pete then spent one and a half nights camping out by the truck with Tom. The mechanic came out to fix the truck at 8:30pm on Tuesday night, the 18th and finished the job at 12:00am. Pete and Tom arrived down in the city at 1am, slept the night there and then all four of them began the trip up to Las Moras together on Wednesday.
Tom and Teresa spent a week here in Las Moras helping us complete some projects on our house before the heavy rains begin to come. It was such a blessing and refreshing time to have them here with us.
It has begun to rain, not everyday, but we have had some deep soaking rains. The people are saying that rainy season has begun. Each morning and evening the mesa on which our house sits is covered in a blanket of fog and mist. Thank you for your prayers for rain and please keep praying with us that the rain would continue throughout the next couple of months to give the people a good corn harvest.
Pete and I also had the privilege of attending the closing of school ceremony here in Las Moras. One of the families asked us to represent their family as their son’s Padrino and Madrina, which is kind of like being god-parents for a day. It was an honor, as we accompanied their 6 year old son to received his papers for completion of kindergarten and entry into the Primary School. There was a village-wide meal afterwards which we all enjoyed with our Nahuatl friends.
Today is July 1st, and we are just beginning to press back into language and culture study. One thing that we have learned this past month is that no matter how much planning we do, or how many goals that we have, that God has His perfect plan and sometimes it is so incredibly different from ours.
We are learning first hand that often when God’s plan seems to get in the way of our plans we tend towards discouragement, or feeling like some how we have failed in what we have been asked to do. However, what Pete and I are both realizing the longer we spend living out here in the tribe is that we live this life for Him, and His praise alone. He asks of us daily to walk with Him, nothing more, nothing less. If we are faithful in that there is no greater goal.
The Nahuatl people coming to know Him is why we have come to live in Las Moras because we believe that God wants to use us in some way to teach them about Himself. Doing that, means walking with Him moment by moment no matter what each day brings. Ultimately, the Nahuatl coming to know Him is God’s work. We are reminded that we need to put our agendas, ideas, goals, and energies into Him and let Him do His work. Putting our energies into knowing Him intimately and letting Him use us for His plan, and He will complete the work that He has begun.
Thanks for taking the time to read our updates and pray for us. Please check our prayer page for the latest requests for our time out here in Las Moras during the rainy season. We cherish all of you and could not be here without you.