The concept of water baptism is not a natural fit within Nahuatl culture. Rainy season flooding can transform oft-placid (or dry!) creeks into treacherous, surging rivers – making crossings dangerous. Rumors circulate of large and malevolent snakes, said to live below the water’s surface. Furthermore, animistic fears come into play as well – it is ‘known’ that startling a spirit within the water can lead to sickness, or worse! No wonder the Nahuatl rarely know how to swim, and do not submerge their heads when bathing in shallow streams. For them, the prospect of fully entering the water is an understandable source of fear.
So when the Nahuatl church first learned of baptism, our team was unsure how the believers would respond. As the subject repeatedly surfaced in the book of Acts, their questions on its purpose and significance continued – and their understanding grew. Finally, one lady spoke up: “Well, I guess we’ll just have to do it, then.” With dry season leaving nearby creeks empty, seven Nahuatl tentatively committed to be baptized when the rainy season returned. How many of those brave seven, though, would actually face down their fears and follow through?
Some five months later the chosen day arrived, and Nahuatl believers gathered by the rain-filled creek. One by one they entered the water, publicly declared Jesus is the only one with the power to save, and were immersed. Some were initially hesitant, yet still went forward – unwilling to wait to proclaim their faith. When the last baptism was complete, it was not seven believers who had followed through, displaying faith in Jesus through both word and deed. Instead, they were twelve!
What a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit in these believers’ lives! What encouragement to our coworkers, who have faithfully labored for years as God sustained them! We do not yet know the full impact of these events in the eyes of those Nahuatl who have not believed, but such a display of fear overcome will not be missed. As evangelical teaching begins anew, this example – alongside that of believers’ changed lives – underscores the truth and power of the Gospel. What joy it brings to watch God make His Name great!
A Time to Rest
After the season of construction this spring, our family was tired! We had been separated for most of three months, Amy and the kids in El Paso while I worked with Don and church teams in the mountains. Our communication was limited to an occasional text, and perhaps three 10 minute voice calls per week. Stress and exhaustion weighed upon us, even as we rejoiced in the experience of God’s sustaining faithfulness through it all. Field leaders urged us to prayerfully consider this summer an opportunity to recover, and – especially after early summer travel kept us from truly resting – we followed their counsel.
Delaying plans to visit partners in Midwestern states, we kept things simple: still pushing projects forward, but with fewer appointments and at a slower pace. God has greatly refreshed us through this time, and further blessed us through precious moments with our beloved family here. As homeschool begins anew, and family preparations mount for moving to the village, we find ourselves reinvigorated, joyful, and excited to tackle the challenges lying ahead.
Asking for Prayer
One particular challenge at this point is financial. During on-site construction last spring, a second shipment of wood became necessary. Beyond the cost of additional lumber, another dump truck delivery over our long mountain road was quite expensive! Later, awesome work team productivity meant bringing out drywall and wiring several months earlier than expected – again requiring an all-day (each way!) large truck delivery to our location.
Our original plan has been to order a solar system this Friday (the 20th), so it can arrive in Las Moras in time for planned installation by a December work team. Right now, we do not have the $15-20K that system will cost – including importation and transportation. Neither do we have funding for materials beyond those already in Las Moras. After discovering this, we also learned last week that our truck’s engine needed to be replaced! God provided both a locally-available engine, and a mechanic who cleared his schedule to get it installed – so our means of taking materials, food, and even just ourselves to Las Moras is back in service. Yet this too added another $5.5K to our immediate expenses.
These needs and their timing are so obviously beyond us, yet we rejoice to see God keeping us at rest in Him as we consider them – trusting His plan for what comes next! In sharing this news, we know God may inspire some who read it to take part in His ultimate provision – encouragement for which our gratitude will be difficult to fully express! Yet our specific request is for prayer. As we continue forward in faith, please pray for God to reveal which steps He would have us take. Pray that He show us if our plans must change to align with His. Then, join us in watching for God to work! This ministry is His, not ours – and we eagerly anticipate seeing how He will next move it forward.
Thank God with us!
- The testimonies of faith seen in the first Nahuatl baptism are such an encouragement. He is at work in Las Moras!
- This summer has been a season of rest and recovery for our family – one we sorely needed, which God graciously provided!
- Though unexpected financial needs surprised us, God has kept us resting in Him – at peace, and confident in His greater plan!
Ways you can pray:
- That those attending the evangelistic teachings in Las Moras see their Creator’s power and faithfulness in the believers’ changed lives. Pray that they continue attending, recognize their need for Jesus, and trust Him alone for salvation!
- For continued joy, as we move forward in the work ahead – particularly in tackling projects outside our areas of expertise, adjusting to the challenges of remote living, and saying goodbye again to dearly beloved friends and family.
- Ask God to continue faithfully providing for the true needs of this ministry – not what we perceive as needed, but what He knows is required. Pray that we keep our eyes on Him alone, resting in His sufficiency and love for us!