Editor’s Note: we had this blog ready to publish at midday on Thanksgiving, but our internet connection went down for 24 hours. Just one more adjustment in the mountain missionary lifestyle!
On Friday November 15th, our family sleepily crawled into a fully loaded pickup truck and put Mazatlán in the rearview mirror. We drove two hours on Mexican highway, refueled, then picked our way through narrow streets to find the turn onto our mountain road. There, new-construction pavement gave way to recently-graded dirt – which in turn was soon replaced by a city driver’s worst nightmare: packed dirt torn up by tropical storms during rainy season, steep grades, and stretches of soupy mud threatening to prevent further progress. The journey was difficult – but at long last, the day’s journey would end in Las Moras: the village where God has sent us to minister among the Nahuatl people.
Our arrival had been a long time in coming. 610 days had passed since we left Chihuahua, 1277 since officially joining the Nahuatl church planting team, 1927 since first arriving in Mexico, and 4475 days since Amy and I started our training at the New Tribes Bible Institute. In many ways, this event is merely a step on our journey through life with the Lord – not an end unto itself. Yet as Thanksgiving reminds us once more just how much we have for which to be grateful, we find ourselves celebrating this moment – truly thankful for God’s faithfulness in bringing us to this point, through every challenge along the way.
Life in Las Moras is different in some very obvious ways. Though Spanish allows basic communication, the Nahuatl people speak a language we do not yet know – and live in ways we do not yet expect, much less understand. As we learn to be good neighbors in this context – helping neighbors move food and building materials, sending text messages for people without connections, and giving pain medication to the injured – cultural differences can make everyday things more difficult. Yet we are grateful for the opportunity to help, showing Jesus’ love in this context, and to learn at the same time! In particular, the privilege of getting to know our brothers and sisters in the Nahuatl church helps us appreciate the value of persevering through all these little changes.
Beyond the life of the people around us, many other things are changing as well. The freedom to no longer live out of suitcases is a great and long-anticipated relief. As we unpack and settle in, we are learning what life in the mountains requires on a daily basis: water conservation and filtration, solar power management (how many lights can we use at once?), and new strategies for long-term food storage. Everything is new to us! We have already celebrated our first birthday (I turned 37 the day after our arrival), and our first holiday is upon us as well… these things as well flex to the realities of our new context. As one might imagine, the amount of change is tiring! Yet we remain content, thankful to be where God so clearly wants us, and resting in His unchanging nature while learning a new way to live daily life.
Now that we’re here, the work of house construction can also continue! Though life is already full, completing this project remains one of our top priorities – so we can move in before the start of the next rainy season, return Rachel and Katie’s house to them at their home assignment’s end, and have a platform from which to tackle full-time language and culture study. Our first primary focus is preparing for a New Year’s church team, coming to install our house’s solar-electric system.
Once that is complete, we’ll work on what remains to make our house functional: everything from plumbing and drywall to the kitchen and bathrooms. Our hope is to find multiple teams willing to come out a help with that work this spring, after a planned dental clinic in January has been completed. Meanwhile, we continue to make progress ourselves – working inside the house, involving our new neighbors in parts of the work, and bringing supplies and materials up from the coast. Between that work and simply learning to live in a remote mountain village, we expect to be plenty busy for quite some time!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from our family here in the mountains… we are incredibly thankful for the part you have had in our journey this year, and wish you the best as you pause with family and friends to thank God for His grace and provision!
Thank God with us!
- We’re HERE!
- For God’s protection on the road here. This time of year, the road is about as bad as it gets (unless traveling in actual rain) – despite a couple minor incidents, we arrived safely!
- Our family is healthy – completely healthy! At times, this has been a struggle… we are very grateful. We still have food intolerances to work through, but Amy is doing well and no one is sick with anything!
Ways you can pray:
- For adjustments to life out here… everything is harder, takes longer, and involves new ways things can go wrong. Please pray that God help us learn this new way of life quickly, and keep us content in Him through the changes!
- For the work on the house that lies ahead – in particular: the personnel, logistics, and planning necessary to bring about the work needed so we can move into our house this spring!
- For the relationships we are building in this community. Pray for lifelong friends, for a good testimony, and the ability to fit well into a culture we don’t yet understand. Please pray as well that our errors as outsiders do not inadvertently harm the ministry in which we have come to participate!