Merry Christmas! I got a letter this week from one of my missionary friends, and I so want to share it with you to help you see why we are here in Mexico.
An Incomplete Christmas Story
Written by Linda Steinbacher
There is a little girl. Her name is Eva June. She is our second granddaughter. She is six years old. Eva is beautiful, smart, and she listens closely to the stories she is told about children who are not as fortunate as she. Several months ago she sent me a letter. In it were some pictures she had drawn and colored. She also sent her love to me and she sent me her money. It was a $ 5 bill. She had told her mom that she wanted to send it to me so I could give it to a poor little girl. My heart was touched.
There is another little girl. Her name is Luisa. She is a new friend of mine. She is nine years old. She is the oldest child of four. She has three younger brothers. Luisa lives hidden away a short hike from a Tepehuan village. She lives in a very crude room and on cold winter evenings she huddles around an open fire trying to stay warm.
I decided to save Eva’s $5 and give it to a little girl in this particular village. Candy, the on-site missionary, led me to sweet, little Luisa. I decided that instead of giving her cash, I would buy material with Eva’s money and make her a nice, warm, cuddly blanket especially for a girl.
Candy was able to translate my little story about Eva into Tepehuan so Luisa and her family would understand about the new blanket. I also had with me a few pictures of Eva and our family. I wanted Luisa to choose a picture of Eva for her very own. Needless to say, she was thrilled with her blanket and her new picture.
You ask, “Why is this an Incomplete Christmas Story”? Well, Luisa got her new blanket in time for a Christmas present, BUT…the most important gift of all, the precious gift of Jesus, has not been given to Luisa or her people group yet.
The missionaries are ready to start teaching Bible lessons, BUT… the tribal leaders have not given permission for the teaching to begin. In January, Barry Wingo will go and talk to the head tribal judge. This is a crucial moment. It is crunch time for Luisa and her village. Please pray with us that Barry and Candy will be given permission to teach the Bible rather than being asked to leave the village for good. These people are very protective of their animistic beliefs and resist anyone trying to “change ” them. We all know that this amazing “change” would bring them peace and joy, BUT… they fear losing control of their world!! “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
As you enjoy your Christmas celebrations and thank God together for Jesus as family and friends, take time to plead with God to open the hearts of the Southwestern Tepehuan leaders so that little Luisa and all her “people” can hear the truth about the baby Jesus. Barry & Candy Wingo have been working in Mexico for a very long time. They really want to permanently live among their friends. Barry & Candy spend three weeks in the tribe and two to three weeks in the city for the last 10 years. Each trip is exhausting and sometimes dangerous (10 hour trips on 90 miles of dirt road). In spite of this, they have learned the language, taught literacy, and have Bible lessons prepared to share with the people. Barry’s takes about 15 minutes each morning when they are in the tribe to read a short Bible lesson over the radio.
Please pray with us for Barry & Candy as they seek to live among the Tepehuan and for the Tepehuan leadership to give the Wingos permission to live there permanently. This is a crucial time for the Tepehuan people!
This is Vicente. He’s one of our students this year. Two and a half years ago he graduated from the Bible School here in Chihuahua, and then he went back to his home and spent the next two years translating two books of the Bible into his native language Guarijio. He came to the Ranch in August so he can finish the rest of the training and head back out to his home to help the missionaries, work in the translation, and encourage the believers. We are so thankful he is here at the Ranch.
Vicente is a guy that has a good attitude about everything, he loves to serve in tons of capacities, he enjoys sharing God’s word with others, and more. He shared with us at our Christmas party that since 2006 he’s been able to celebrate Christmas. Not in the sense that we know of giving gifts and putting up a Christmas tree, but more in the sense that he understands why we have Christmas. In 2006 Vicente placed his trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior because he heard clearly in his heart language the gospel. He’s very thankful for the missionaries that moved to his hometown to share the gospel with him in Guarijio. If they hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t be here at the Ranch or following the Lord!
We are so thankful that Vicente and his people have missionaries among them to share with them the Good News that through Jesus we can have eternal life. But sadly there are still so many other villages and tribal groups here in Mexico and around the world that don’t know there is Good News for their lives. Please pray for us as we continue to train and equip Latinos with the goal of reaching tribal people with the Gospel.
This year I’m so excited to head to Oregon for two weeks to meet my little nephew! He is the answer to an 8 year prayer and I’m so excited. I’m ready to see my family, snow, and friends!
Lincoln Eugene Pierce
Every year we are so blessed to remember how our Savior humbled himself and came into the world as a baby (Phil. 2.6-7). Then he grew into a man and at the age of 33 laid down his life and became our sin payment, our source of salvation (Heb. 5.9)!
Merry Christmas to you and your family this year.