A few weeks ago I posted a picture, this one to be exact, to ask you all what you thought this little house might be for.
Well, it is for Otis, Otis Limburger, our new pig.
You are probably wondering, why a pig?
When we came to Las Moras to work with the Nahuatl people one of our goals was to “become” like them in every way possible. Doing this while maintaining our witness for Christ with the goal of showing them His true love for them, and to build trust and meaningful relationships with them so as to share the truth of what Christ did for them one day.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
“Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law,[a] I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”
To us this has meant a daily choice to step out of our “comfort zone” and be a part of their lives. Learning the Nahuatl language is just one small part of that. We are striving to learn and understand the Nahuatl culture, their customs, why they do what they do, how they eat, how they relate as families, friends, and enemies…basically what makes the Nahuatl tick.
Otis is a part of our “becoming.”
To the Nahuatl having animals is a sign of prosperity. If you have an animal it is usually for some sort of a purpose. For instance, if you have cows you will be milking them and making cheese, if you chickens you will be able to eat eggs and chicken. If you are a Nahuatl family and you have a pig(s) you can sell them to others, or butcher your pig to make lard and chicharron, which is a fried pork skin/meat type dish. You can then sell the meat and lard to others in the village. Often the families make tamales from the head meat of the pig as well and take them around the village to sell.
Our goal in getting Otis was not so we could sell meat, or breed pigs, but rather so we could “become” a little more like the Nahuatl. Since having a pig is nothing we have ever done before we asked for help from our Nahuatl friends to help build Otis’ house, and to go with us and help us purchase Otis from a family in the village.
Once Otis is ready to be butchered we will invite several Nahuatl men over to help in the process, and Liesl will invite women and their families to help her make tamales and chicharron with Otis’ tender, tender meat. :)
All of this has an end goal, that the Nahuatl might see us as more and more like one of them. Why? So that when we share the gospel of Christ’s love and sacrifice for them in their own language that they will trust us, and trust our teaching of God’s Word. And through that trust we pray that the Nahuatl will have a desire for Jesus that transcends any cultural boundaries that we still feel.
Here are some pictures of our Otis adventures:
Pete builds Otis’ house with Tomas, and his little son, Fermin.
We took 3 boys from the village to help us pick out and buy Otis. They also lassoed him for us, and helped us get him home.
Otis checking out his new digs for the first time.
Releasing Otis from his rope noose.
A tired Otis.
Radley keeps a watchful eye on Otis from the back door.
Since we got Otis many of the people in the village have come to see him. They give us their advice, tell us that we paid too much, and ask us if he eats good and when we are going to castrate him. But you can tell they are proud. Proud that we have a pig. It gives us a common ground, something to talk about, something to laugh about, something to continue cultivating relationships with.
And that’s the goal isn’t it, that they would see us as trustworthy friends that understand them in the hopes that they will listen to the most important message of all, the gospel of Christ, that we will soon be sharing with them.
Thank you for praying with us as we build relationships with the Nahuatl people. It isn’t always easy, but God gives us the strength to walk in what He has for us that day. We appreciate you all and thank you for being apart of the work here in Las Moras.