Othello and Mixtec, Alacatlatzala

Just a week and a half ago, I got the privilege of going with Pastor Elias and West Side Church to deliver Christmas presents (Same style as Operation Christmas Child) to the kids of the Mixtec community living in Othello.  Above is a picture of pastor Elias preaching the Gospel with a Mixtec translator to all the families who came out.

I brought the language diagnostic tool and got to speak with several people about their heritage.  Each person reported that they speak Mixtec, Alacatlatzala, that this whole community in Othello speaks it, and that everyone is from the same general area.  After doing some more research on this language, I found several interesting things:

 

Thank you all for praying and please continue with us in prayer for these people.  We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

 

Sincerely,

Josh

 

Yakima, Othello, and the Mixtecs

Over these last few months we have been taking classes, teaching at youth group, training with other local leaders at Sun Valley, connecting with churches, meeting neighbors, and visiting with dozens of families.  Maybe this is kind of an obvious statement, but mission work around Yakima is a totally different ball game than in Mexico.  The cultural dynamics of the Yakima area are very complicated.

Yakima is much more pluralistic; containing so many religious, ethnic, racial, and political groups that are trying to live together.  As many know, most of the people here are Hispanic.  What many do not understand is that within the Hispanic community there is a profound diversity of heritage, way of life, and worldview.  It is far from homogeneous, and while there are certainly common threads of cultural, philosophical, and religious beliefs, we have to be careful making generalizations about who they are and how to reach them with the Gospel.  The need for contextualization is massive – we need to understand their worldview much better.

One such Hispanic demographic that we are working to understand and learn from are the Mixtec people.  They are one of the main groupings of indigenous Mexicans here in Washington and even among Mixtecs, there is a lot of diversity in dialects and culture.  Personally, we have met with at least five Mixtec people here in Yakima.

Next Saturday, we are planning to go with Pastor Elias and West Side Church to go to a community in Othello where there are likely around a thousand Mixtec people who live there long term.  They are very poor and really do struggle to get by.  We will helping bring Christmas gift shoe boxes (exactly like Operation Christmas Child) filled with toys and small goods for the kids.  We will also be surveying the various dialects and languages that are spoken there.  We hope to be able to give out as many Biblical resources as we can in their specific dialects.

Please pray:

  • For these people:
    • Many don’t speak Spanish or English
    • Most are very poor
    • There is a lot of gang activity
    • There is no Mixtec Church there
    • There are a few Christians but it sounds like they won’t go to the local Spanish speaking church because of strong sentiments of persecution and racism from the other Mexicans towards them
    • Those few Christians need a lot encouragement and support
  • For us:
    • To clearly communicate the Gospel above all else
    • To make new connections so that we might know more clearly who these people are and how to help.
    • That we would be able to get many more gospel resources to them whether it be audio or written

We are so thankful for the clarity of God’s leading in all our work and amazed to see the kind of opportunities that are unfolding in front of us. Praise God! And thanks for praying!

 

Transition to Global Service Network

Just this last week, we finished all the requirements to become associates with Global Service Network (GSN).  Our official start date with them is September 1 and if you’d like to continue giving towards our work in reaching the indigenous Mexican people groups, please visit the Connect Page to see how. We will not be able to receive donations any longer through Northern Light Ministries. Let me know if you have any questions

As I’ve worked with GSN more during the application process, they’ve really impressed me as an effective para-church organization well focused on better equipping local churches and Christians to get the gospel to the lost.  While we’re sincerely sad to be not working as directly with our friends in Northern Light Ministries, we are excited to work through GSN and through Sun Valley Church, continuing the same mission here in Yakima.

God works in everything

“The Lord works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

– Proverbs 16:4

  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

– Romans 8:28

These last couple months have been full of unexpected things–some really wonderful, some grievous and others are sad and perplexing. Praise God because he is good, just, and in control.


   One of those wonderful things happened in December when someone new came to Church for guitar classes. After showing him some of the songs that I use to teach, it became obvious that he had never been to a Christian church. After confirming this, I asked him if he had ever heard of the term “Gospel” or had some one explain it to him.  He said that he had no idea what it meant.  Right there, God gave me the chance to go through and thoroughly explain the message of Bible.  Humbly, he said that he knew that he needed to change and needed help.  He said he did believe in the Gospel and we prayed together.  Now his wife and his mother in-law have publicly committed their lives to Christ in the Church and have attended regularly with a consistent hunger for more. Although he works during each of our services here at the church, we’ve been able to meet up with him weekly.

  • Please pray for them, because they are now suffering some sever rejection by their family for going to a Christian church.
  • Please pray that they will grow in their understanding of God and will respond in loving obedience to Him.
  • Pray their their appetite for Him will grow and that they will not become discouraged with the many difficulties that they now face.

   One of the griefs we experienced, was the lost of Sarah’s dear Grandmother who had suffered immensely throughout the last year.  Losing her made us vividly remember how painful the result of sin really is.  Death exists because of our sin, it is unnatural, and rips us apart from relationships.

  • Please pray for our extended family on Sarah’s side, whom we love and want to share the real deep comfort that comes through Christ alone. He alone conquers death.

   We also come across many situations down here which are sad and perplexing. There are the kind of things that wrench our hearts when we see them happen and leave us at a loss in regards to how to help. Just last week, I was reminded of the prevailing brutality of wicked men down here.  We were driving down the road with tools for the construction site when we passed by what we thought was just kids playing in the street.  However, as we drove by we saw that is was a furious man dragging his wife or daughter down the road by her hair beating her as she struggled to get away. Two little child follow behind them.

We were completely shocked. He was completely shameless and in blind rage. I and the man I was driving with stopped down the road and prayed together, desperately asking God for help.

What should we do? Confront him? Will it make him more aggressive? Should we call the police?  Can we even trust the police?

We then went to find Pastor Francisco and Javier who were at the job site and talked to them.  They said that we could and probably should call the police.  I then went around looking for them so I could report their location but I was unable not find them at that point.

I feel deep sadness for this situation.  We’re even sadder when we have to come to grips with the fact that most families suffer this kind of horrible suffering down here…just in secret.  In Oaxaca, Mexico there are entire regions where this kind of beating is publicly acceptable.

We know that God will judge the ungodly and that He is the one who helps the helpless, and so we put our hope in him and ask him to give us valiant confident faith to know how to respond better next time we see this happen.

  • Please pray for us to have courage and wisdom to stand up and help those who are true victims without a voice.
  • Please pray for this family that we saw in the road and the victims in this culture.

Chalcatongo, Oaxaca

I got back from Oaxaca two weeks ago.  Since then, I’ve been pouring over photos, praying, and considering how to communicate what we experienced.  I got to see first hand how desperately these areas need the Gospel and how lacking these parts are in Christian workers.  Standing on top of a mountain, one of the pastors who we visited pointed out the 18 different towns and people groups who live in the region of Chalcatongo.  If I remember correctly, he said that only three of those towns have any formal meetings as a Christian church. He also said that he has never heard of any Christian presence whatsoever in two of those 18 towns.  We must be asking God to send more workers into these fields and in doing so we all must willingly, simultaneously pray: here am I, send me.

We spent the first week in Milta and the second week in the region of Chalcatongo, which is much poorer and more rural. It didn’t take long to notice the physical poverty and suffering experienced every day by the majority of the people in Chalcatongo.  If you were to sit on a street corner and watch those walking by, you would observe many serious, downcast, and fear-filled faces.  You would see many needy, malnourished people who work all day, everyday, and many old widows trying to sell their garden vegetables to scrape by. After only a few hours of being in Chalcatongo, the spiritual darkness also became very obvious to all of us who had never been there before.  At just about every street and home, there are idols and items used for witchcraft.  After hearing from the local pastors, I deducted that out of the ten thousand or so people in this region there are maybe about 50 Christians total.  We also learned that each town has their own god that they worship and give sacrifices to. Everything they do is done under fearful superstitions of what could happen if they displease this god. By not joining in with the local superstitions, the Christians can be blamed for just about anything that goes wrong.

Despite all this, God is actively working in this area. Although they are very few, there are more and more people coming to faith in Christ.  God has protected our dear Christian brothers and sisters there and put His love in their hearts for the lost around them.  They are passionate, mature, constant people of God who testify to everyone there about who God is and what he has done for them.  Please join us in praying for them and the lost in that area.

Milta, Oaxaca

Dear family and friends,

Last Sunday, bright and early in the morning, myself (Josh) and a group of several missionaries and pastors arrived here in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Since then, we’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with a few of the local missionaries and we’ve dived into a whole bunch of work.

Right now I don’t have much time to access the internet so I’ll try to fill in the details of the work down here in another post, but for now I’d like to just share some photos.

Thank you all for praying…we’ve have all been very healthy, safe, and blessed through all the travel and work here so far.