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.

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.