In early March, some of our coworkers came out to help with drywall in our house. Their arrival encouraged us greatly, particularly after the challenges we had faced putting a team together! Our original plan for February had already fallen through – some potential workers were simply unavailable, and unexpected complications forced the others to pull out only days ahead of the trip. Six people then signed up to come for a replacement March team, but three of these also needed to cancel last-minute! This chain of events left us wondering if we could afford to lose anyone else – so when the team finally arrived without further attrition, we were very thankful… and excited to get started!
Working hard, our team accomplished much. We hung perhaps three-quarters of the house’s drywall, and started mudding and taping. Some side projects moved forward, including our true top priority: leak-proofing the house! To that end: we sided a couple sections left undone last May, installed gable fascia, and – after all the roof work of prior months – re-seated each individual roof screw! While participating in several of these projects, my main work came in ‘enjoying’ the privilege of personally installing most of the house’s insulation. This included spending the majority of two days in the attic, between rafters and tin roof, placing individual batts in hard-to-access places. At the end of that job, I was grateful to have spared my co-laborers the experience… and perhaps even more grateful to be done with it myself! Though plenty of work remained for future teams, we were well-pleased with what the Lord had enabled us to accomplish.
With the drywall team’s main goals accomplished, our helpful friends began heading home… and while they were yet en route, we saw the state of the world shift before our eyes! Having heard occasional coronavirus rumors for several weeks, we had continued focusing our attention on preparing for (and participating in) construction work teams. Suddenly, COVID-19 had been declared a pandemic, and we began to realize the great impact it would have on our community, plans, and ministry!
In short order, all of our remaining work teams and consultant visits for the foreseeable future had been cancelled – along with travel between city and village. Terms like ‘self-quarantine’ and ‘social distancing’ became a part of our daily vocabulary, and we learned both to apply them and communicate their need in our remote, cross-cultural context. By God’s grace, we are in near-ideal personal circumstances for the situation – well-provisioned with food and building materials, household goods moved to Mazatlán, and our daughter’s teeth-preserving orthodontics in place! Yet, as we thank God for providing in these areas, we find ourselves asking the same question as everyone else: “What next?”
In the short term, our plan is fairly simple: stay home, no travel, socially distance. Missionaries worldwide have faced a decision between staying on the field and returning ‘home’ – in our case, our desire to remain and push the house forward partners well with favorable circumstances for doing so. Pete and I will continue working on the house – preparing what is needed before rainy season as best we can without teams to help. Meanwhile, the Nahuatl church is not meeting, and – without the aid of Zoom and other technological aids widely available Stateside – this is a challenging time for the believers out here, with isolation from the rest of the body hard to avoid. Pray for them, and pray for us – that God show us ways to encourage them and serve them at this time!
Plans for rainy season remain up in the air. While getting the house livable by then – if more unfinished originally planned – seems reasonable, we simply do not know what life in Mexico will look like in a month or two. Potential COVID containment measures, such as travel restrictions or food rationing, could force a summer relocation. We need to be able to restock our pantry for five months, bring out kitchen and furniture essentials, and find an early enough time window to finish before rain arrives! As a result, we are holding plans loosely and preparing for whatever God allows.
In the midst of a quickly changing world, however, we know that God’s love for the Nahuatl people remains unchanged. Our family remains committed to serving Him through serving them – building relationships, learning their ways, and making disciples. The next several months – or years? – of ministry may look very different than what anyone expected, yet knowing that God remains the same frees us to lay worry aside! As we continue looking to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2) in daily life, may we all find rest knowing He still holds our tomorrows in His hand.
- Much was accomplished through the generous donation of time from our last construction work team – thank God with us for the faithfulness and sacrifices of John S, Don, Torre, Crystal, Pete, and John VW!
- With all the changes stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, only God’s provision explains how well we are situated for a travel-free period: we have everything we need for this next extended phase in the mountains!
- What we expected to be a very busy season of life has calmed down significantly. Though not as we would have requested it happen… thank God with us for providing rest!
How to Pray:
- For those impacted by COVID-19, as well as the measures taken to slow its spread. In our context, pray for the now-separated members of the Nahuatl church, and for the health of the elder generation in Las Moras and its surrounding communities.
- For wisdom for our team, as we consider plans for the months to come – specifically with regards to preparations for rainy season. For Jordan and Pete, as they work on the house without the assistance of work teams.
- For requests previously shared, many suddenly on the back burner due to the coronavirus! In particular: please pray that Amy continue her strong recovery from postpartum depression, and that God provide a home school teacher/assistant for our kids.