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.