Church Planting among the Nahuatl

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New Year, New Blogger…kind of.

Happy new year, friends.

While the world around us swirls with resolutions, we’ve made one of our own: make this blog better.

Many of you know that Liesl, who has run this blog for the past few years, started her own blog almost a year ago. It’s called Fitness in the Kitchen (click here or hit the link on the bottom to check it out) and is filled with her passions – healthy food, butt-kicking fitness, and a few references to me, because well, I’d like to think I’m one of her passions.  But her time spent creating the awesome Fitness in the Kitchen blog has also meant that this blog has had a few less posts than it used to.

Pic - Roasted Zucchini Salad

At Fitness in the Kitchen, you can learn to make stuff like this!

So we’re shaking things up here. I, Pete, will be taking over this blog. I’ll be posting more – hopefully 3 or 4 times a month – and keeping you more in the loop regarding what our life out in the Sierra Madres is like.

Also, in the near future, we’ll be adding pages on our team and the people we work with here in Las Moras, and to really bring us into the current century, we’ll also be adding a Facebook group in the near future – Los Hypki en Las Moras , and you can keep touch with us via our new Twitter account – @LosHypki.

Living 45 miles from the nearest paved road isn’t somewhere I ever thought I’d be living, and living among an indigenous people group, far from our family and friends, isn’t something I ever thought I’d be doing.

It’s a far cry from the life I once imagined. But we believe it’s where God wants us.  It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s bitter and it’s sweet.

We learn something every day here in Las Moras, and hopefully, through this blog, you’ll be able to experience that with us.

Here’s to a full 2014. And for real, check out Fitness in the Kitchen. If nothing else, the workouts will get your heart pumping!


More Questions Answered, This Time by a Man

Most of you who read this blog know that Liesl does most of the posting. However, I offered to take over the blog for a little while as Liesl gets her new blog, Fitness in the Kitchen, up and running.


Liesl’s new blog, Fitness in the Kitchen, is about getting you to jump like this

I won’t lie – I’m kind of excited about taking over our blog for a little while. It feels a little like the first time my parents gave me the keys to the minivan.

That's right - l learned to drive in one of these bad boys

That’s right – l learned to drive in one of these bad boys

However, just like with my parents’ minivan, I knew if I didn’t take good care of it, I would never get to drive it again. So I’ll do my best to take good care of this blog, too, so Liesl lets me keep writing on it.

A couple weeks ago, we asked many of you what questions you had about our lives here. I’ll spend this week answering some of them. First up, a question from Suzy in Cleveland (I actually have no idea who submitted this question):

What is the biggest challenge, besides learning the language, in really building relationships with the people?

Well fake Suzy, that’s a great question. Most of us like to think we’re likable people – that we could develop a deep relationship with pretty much anyone. But generally we gravitate towards the people that are most like us. For example, I enjoy watching and playing sports, especially basketball, listening to good music, and discussing books and theology. And I enjoy people I can discuss those things with. Most of my friends back home in Wisconsin (or wherever they have since dispersed to) have at least one of those things in common with me – my best friends have most of those in common with me.

However, here in Las Moras, there aren’t any people with those same interests. Nobody plays basketball, nobody thinks my music is “good,” and no one has read the books I’ve read. I am an outsider here, and most people view me as such. Last spring, I was even shown a document where I was referred to as “Pedro Gabacho” – “Peter the Foreigner.”

Can you tell which one is Pete?

I would say that is one of the greatest challenges in developing relationships here: the simple fact that we’re different, culturally, from the people here. Yet we believe God called us to Las Moras – we believe He’s the one that led us there – so we also believe that He didn’t call us there just to sit in our house and feel bad for ourselves (even if, in the midst of culture shock, that can sound like an appealing option).

So what do you do then, when you know you’re different from those around you?

First, you find some similarities. Sometimes this feels like small talk, but at the end of the day, when you live in a house with little to no insulation, talking about how cold it was last night is actually a worthwhile topic of discussion. Talking about family is something we all have in common. We have family, they have family, and we miss our families, just like they do when they don’t see them for a while. Last summer, I even planted a large garden – partly because Liesl and I both like fresh veggies from the garden, but also because I wanted to have something in common with our subsistence farmer neighbors. Losing half my sweet corn to worms and cows wasn’t fun, but it gave me something in common with my neighbors.

Our garden early last summer

Our garden early last summer

After a while, you begin to find that your desire to build relationships with people different than you actually changes you. Over time you become interested in the things that interest them, and your former interests, which you thought defined you, become less important. You in a very real sense adapt and become more comfortable in your new culture, and that allows you – us – to feel more at home in a place like Las Moras.

In some ways, that’s like what Jesus did by coming to earth. In Philippians 2:7-8 it talks about how Christ humbled Himself and became like us. In his 30-ish years on earth, He taught us what it meant to know God by becoming like us and showing us God incarnate, right before our eyes.

It’s our hope that as we build relationships with the Nahuatl, and in many ways become more like them, that we can point them to the living God as well, following the example Christ gave us.

Thanks again for your questions! I’ll keep posting, answering questions (feel free to add more to the comments section) throughout the week – or at least until Liesl takes back the proverbial keys to the proverbial minivan.