Before my language evaluation in late June, Amy and I prayed together several times regarding the results. We had a lot of questions about the new testing standard I was pioneering for NTM Mexico, and I felt a lot of pressure to test out and be done! With Amy’s formal studies completed, my own goal – one level higher than Amy’s – was the last official requirement to meet before we would be free to leave Chihuahua. Obviously, we really hoped I would pass and we could start heading toward the mountains!
However, even though our own goal was clear, we wondered while praying if God might have another immediate purpose. I often felt like an icebreaker, as if being used to clear a path others could more easily follow later. What if God desired I not pass this time, allowing our leadership a chance to re-evaluate and improve the final stages of Spanish study? With this thought in mind, Amy and I prayed that God would provide His best outcome: that either I would pass, or that in not passing we would see Him at work – for both our good, and that of future coworkers.
As we shared in our previous update, I did not receive the rating allowing us to move forward. You might imagine this was discouraging – and frankly, you would be right! Yet before that same day ended, we received a phone call from our field leaders – informing us that they would meet to review the graduation process, and evaluate what we truly need to see from our new missionaries in Spanish before sending them to the mountains. What a quick and complete answer to our prayer! Even while disappointed in many ways, this was exactly what we had hoped to see God do through that result.
After our leader’s careful and prayer-filled consideration, two decisions were made. The first is, I am still being asked to reach ‘Advanced Mid’ ability in Spanish. This represents a new, higher standard than has historically been in place… a level of study not previously required in Spanish, but instead only in the indigenous languages of church planting ministries. However, past experience has shown that our limits in Spanish affect how hard it is to learn a third language. The more clearly I can communicate in Spanish, the further I can also go in the Nahuatl language! Even though this is a more difficult standard to achieve, the hard work now will pay large dividends for the clarity of the Gospel message in Las Moras… as well as in future ministry once the work of that church plant is complete.
The second decision from these meetings is that I (and others) will have a lot of new help! Our language program is changing dramatically with the adoption of this new standard, and my nerdy side is super excited for the challenges and opportunities ahead! We will have classes digging into advanced features of Spanish (particularly those most unlike the familiar English grammar), which will be a good start. New local ministry opportunities will allow me to gain better experience, while pushing forward more intentionally on language. Finally, in November we will have a two-week workshop on discourse analysis – training which will not only apply to Spanish study here and now, but opens up possibilities for providing consulting help to other missionary teams down the road.
While this clearly is not our most preferred result, clear communication of God’s Word in Las Moras is too important for incomplete preparation. We are therefore absolutely willing to prioritize the next twenty-plus years of ministry over arriving in the mountains a few months earlier! As we prepare for one more phase of intense Spanish study, we are so encouraged to see how different this time will be than what came before! Amy is healthy again, unlike most of the past year… and is even done with her own study, freeing me to get out and pursue more opportunities! The backlog of extra work from that difficult phase of life has almost been completed, which provides more time to take advantage of the new resources our consulting program will provide. Finally… it just will be a lot easier to pursue our daily study goals with the aid of our new truck!
Yes, we’re fairly excited about this! Just as we were committing to a local vehicle search instead of importing from the United States, God brought the right truck along in a way only He could have done. What we need was so specific due to family size and ministry details, and at times seemed impossible to find. Yet God provided… and within 18 hours of finding this truck, the importers said it would pass the amazingly strict importation process. This is no minimally acceptable rig, but in many ways the best we could have hoped to find! We bought the truck, and it will be ready for the importers after minor repairs.
We will share the full story in our next update, but for now – as God has clarified our next steps here in Chihuahua – please join us in thanking Him for His many kindnesses to us. We are excited for this final season of study, and grateful we will be much more mobile going forward than has been the the case for quite some time.
‘Now What?’ Updates from the Nahuatl Bible Teaching
God’s Word continues to go forward among the Nahuatl people! There has been solid attendance – at times more than our teammates anticipated! – and the people seem to be understanding the message well. We are so excited to see what fruit God brings from His Word among the Nahuatl people, as they finally hear of Him in their own language!
Our coworker’s son Kester burned himself badly at the beginning of this month, and the Hypki family had to go to town for a few weeks for his treatment and a more sanitary healing environment. This caused a temporary pause in the teaching, but Kes is now doing well and teaching has resumed.
- Read Pete Hypki’s recent update to hear his words on the first day of teaching back in July, and how a few weeks later God provided a clear path through thunderstorms to get Kester out for medical treatment!
- Next, take a few minutes to read Katie Moore’s account of the adventures of daily life among the Nahuatl people… and the privilege which comes from walking with God through each one.
Praise God with us!
- For the provision of the truck we’ve needed
- For a clear view of our next steps in Mexico
- For God’s Word going forth among the Nahuatl people
- For people continuing to come hear what God has to say
- For Kester’s healing and safe return to Las Moras
Ways you can pray:
- For the Nahuatl people to hear God’s Word and come to Him
- For our teammates in Las Moras, persevering in teaching
- For our family adjustment to this new phase in Chihuahua
- For the logistics and importation of our new truck
- For strength and quick learning as I re-enter language study