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

 

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.

So much happens in a week!

This week has been loaded with new things. We’re getting into the grind of work down here and still adjusting to life fueled by corn, re-fried beans, spicy salsa and gratuitous amounts Coca-Cola.

Baptisms

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14 new believers were baptized on Sunday morning. We got to together the Papalote church (the “mother church”) and the Benito Garcia church plant across the road from us to celebrate and worship at the beach as these new believers we’re baptized.  It is an awesome thing to be a part of!

Please Pray for Jose

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We written about Jose before. He was a witch doctor when he was younger and became a Christian about five or so years ago.  Please pray that he will have relief.  Right now he is living alone and is in constant pain, hardly able to sleep at all. Among other things, he has terrible arthritis and constant cramping in his legs.

Please Pray for Us

We just began teaching at four different events; two guitar classes, youth group meetings, and Thursday night bible studies.

  • The guitar classes are every Wednesday night and all afternoon on Fridays. We’ve been really surprised with how excited people are for these classes. Between the two classes, there are at least 22 students signed up right now.  Please pray us and the people taking the classes–that we will be able to better connect with the community.
  • The youth group meetings are every Saturday at 5pm. There are on average 12 kids attending.  We are just starting to go through the book of Mark together.  Pray for us to teach it well and fluently, pray for them to learn how to learn from the Bible, and pray that those who aren’t saved will understand and believe in Christ as Lord.
  • The Thursday meetings are with pretty much the whole church. We are attempting to teach through storying and discussion based techniques, which is a completely new style of teaching for them and for us. We hope that the people here will better grasp the Bible as a whole and will know how to clearly communicate the Gospel through stories. Right now this is a huge challenge for us–pray that the Word is taught clearly and with the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray for good interaction.

Back in Baja

We made it!

This trip, praise the Lord, was the best one we have had so far.  Mainly because Liam was such a trooper!  He slept nearly the entire plane trip and didn’t even bat an eye through the entire six hours in the car.  We are so thankful!  Now we are safe and sound in our little trailer waiting to see what God has in store for us for this upcoming period of time before we have the baby.

We have not been able to sit down with Francisco and Maria to catch up for an extended period of time yet, however we have been able to talk to them enough to communicate a couple of praises and prayer requests:

Vasti and her neighbors

Many of you had been praying for the family of a beloved young sister in Christ named Vasti. The picture above is the gate to their home. Her and her siblings were in danger of being sent off to live with their stepfather while their mother found work.  The stepfather had previously abused them, and so we asked you all to pray.

We found out that just recently that her mother (Carmen) found work again, so the kids were able to come back and live with her.  We’re so thankful and we’re praising God for answering our prayers to take the children out of this terrible situation.

Also, we’re thankful that Carmen’s health seems somewhat stable for the moment.  However, it still doesn’t appear to be good. It sounds like the doctors haven’t given much a real diagnosis.

We also asked for prayer for Vasti’s neighbors. They had forbidden their kids to go to church and even see Vasti’s family. Vasti said that those families are still keeping their kids from going to church.

  • Please pray their their hearts would soften and that God will open a door for us and Vasti to show them that Gospel is truly good news meant for them and their whole family.

Luciano and Mariela

Praise God, for what’s happening right now in the family of Luciano and Mariela.  Luciano accepted the Gospel after meeting with us a couple times about 4 months ago. Initially Mariela, his wife, was wide eyed and pretty shocked to see the way her husband believed and confessed his need to change to strangers like us, but not much later she seemed to have accepted both us and the Gospel. We left back to the states in June having just started to really get to know them. They have been meeting consistently with Francisco and Maria and seem to be growing in their faith. They have two young kids that are also being affected by the change they see in their parents.

  • Pray for them as they seek out how to live for Christ in their work, in their community, and in their family.
    • Specifically Luciano needs clear direction on how to work for Christ. He is struggling to know how and where to work.
  • Pray that they would become more and more desirous for knowing God and more satisfied in their relationship with Him.
  • Pray that they would understand God’s love clearly and powerfully enough to love their neighbors like God wants them to.

Living in Two Worlds

We’ve now been traveling in the states for about 6 weeks. We’re really thankful for God’s protection as we’ve driven over 3500 miles during that time. Visiting family and friends has been a blessing and refreshing in many ways. We’ve feel very much loved and supported by all you.

It’s kind of an interesting feeling, moving between Mexico and here in the states. Both places have severe struggles but they are very, very different worlds. We’re experiencing the concept of being aliens and strangers here on earth in a more direct way than we ever have. Our home is with the God and with his family. On earth, the most “at home” we feel is when we are fellowshipping with our dear brothers and sisters in Christ and living in fellowship with God.

Praise God!

  • For anyone who does not know, we are expecting a new baby in April. Please pray for him or her and copious amounts of grace for us to become godly, wise parents.
  • We’ve asked for much prayer concerning Chuy (the child who was badly burnt) and his family and we’re seeing results. Chuy seems to be doing very well health-wise and right before we left to the states, Chuy’s Grandma and aunt had clearly professed faith and commitment to Christ. Please pray for more families members and the growth of these two new Christians.

Please pray…

  • For a girl named Vasti and her neighbors. She is 14 years old and is maybe the most passionate member of the Church in Nueva Era. A few days before we left, she asked us at youth group in tears to pray for her neighbors. She had invited several of the kids to the VBS that we hosted at the church and some confessed faith in Christ. When those kids returned home, their parents reacted terribly and won’t let them come back to church. They also seem very angry at Vasti. Please pray for these kids and their hard families where we believe there is also much child abuse.
    • On top of this, we recently learned that Vasti’s mother may have cancer and has been fired from her job. Without the means to earn money, Vasti’s mom believes that she needs to send Vasti and her two younger siblings to their ex-step father’s home. Francisco and Maria have learned that this step-father was and probably still is horribly abusive in many ways. Please pray that those kids will not go back to that abuse and that they will be safe. We and especially Francisco and Maria need prayer on how to act.
  • For our trip back to Mexico. We’ll be flying to San Diego on the 23rd of this month and we’ll be driving down from there in two different vehicles.
  • For God’s wisdom and direction for our family as we expect a new baby. We have tentative plans to come back to the states to have the baby but we are still figuring out many of the details.