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:
The people group that speak this language has been somewhat “engaged” with the gospel but is not “reached”. (According to the Joshua Project around 1.5% are evangelical Christians.)
Andworship songs that are in Spanish but composed in the music style of those people groups such as this:
It turns out that the Alacatlatzala Mixtecs are from an area not far from where the church plants I visited with Northern Light Ministries last year where our dear friends are still working. Here is an interactive map of where they come from in relation to the NLM Church plants that we visited last year. From Chapultepec, it’s only about 70 miles away (as the crow flies).
Thank you all for praying and please continue with us in prayer for these people. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
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.
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
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!