Worldwide pandemics have a way of complicating things – including plans for the (mostly) annual dental clinic in Las Moras! Pulling off this year’s edition required jumping through many hoops – including considering PPE access, medical experts’ recommendations, and two nations’ coronavirus responses. Despite these challenges and more, our little mountain community still wanted the clinic to go forward – and our awesome dental team was willing to make it happen. Planes arrived carrying people and supplies, boxes were pulled out of attics, tools lined up on sterile tables… and we got to work.
The actual clinic ran three and a half days, though travel and prep/cleanup required plenty of additional time. Over 130 patients were treated – receiving cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, reconstructions, and referrals for work beyond our on-site capacity. Some lived less than a five minute walk from the clinic, while others spent several hours walking or driving from surrounding communities. In each case, it was our privilege to show God’s love to them though addressing basic needs. We are grateful He has provided this avenue to serve the common good out here, and pray that our volunteers’ sacrificial service draw people to the One whose example they emulate.
After the dental clinic, our family spent some time on the coast – resupplying, getting badly-needed (overdue!) vehicle and equipment repairs, and occasionally even resting. This was also an opportunity to pick up a Christmas gift promised to our kids – a kitten named ‘Jack,’ who the kids promoted to ‘Captain Jack Sparrow.’ Both Amy’s parents and my own visited at different times: reunions which encouraged us greatly, as we took time to celebrate special moments often missed while apart. That precious time passed all too quickly – as always – but we are incredibly grateful for God’s kind provision of such little foretastes of heaven!
As we returned to Las Moras, a team of missionaries from Chihuahua made the trip as well. A trio of students from the NTM Mexico Spanish program – Gamaiel, Lucas, and Ryan – left their families and studies for a week in order to help us (along with our good friend and build foreman Don Chubb) push the house a little further along. Meeting some of our newest mission coworkers was a long-anticipated privilege, easing some disappointments from missing our COVID-cancelled biannual field conference. Reality did not disappoint – these are some awesome guys! – and we got a ton done.
Top priorities included connecting a cistern to house waterlines, varnishing our entire kitchen against rainy season mold (also installing cupboard doors), and hanging the most helpful interior doors. Once that was done, we tackled other pre-rainy season projects: sealing windows and doors, installing a porch rainwater collection system, and more. We made bed frames, built shelves and cubbies, reinforced floor weak spots, and connected our twin tub washer… and then sorted all the leftover building materials and tools (which had been occupying parts of the living and dining rooms) into our newly re-organized shed. Along the way, the guys also finished myriad other small projects too small and numerous to list.
Remote ministry has a way of magnifying many life challenges which would be simpler if living in a typical Western context. In the mountains, one cannot simply call a plumber or contractor! Ryan, Gamaiel, Don, and Lucas sacrificed their time to come alongside us and bless us through talents God has given them. We are grateful for each of them, and the way their gift of service eases our load as we work among the Nahuatl.
Coming up soon for Amy and I is a new milestone: our first formal Nahuatl language and culture evaluation. Such evals are a critical part of our studies – a chance to see how far we’ve come, recognize weak areas we have not perceived, and plan out strategy for upcoming study. In a project spanning multiple years, such assessments keep us on course and help us adjust well! Stepping underneath a microscope is always a humbling experience, so please pray for good attitudes and humility on our part as our coworkers arrive to help us in this marathon journey.
- For great results from our visiting dental and work teams, and a chance to see some of our family in person.
- For God’s provision of some pretty wonderful coworkers – both those here in-village, and those supporting us from afar.
- The next few months look like a good season for (mostly) uninterrupted culture and language study.
How to Pray:
- That God encourage, strengthen, and embolden the believers out here – who regularly face oppression and ridicule for their faith.
- That the our language/culture consultants’ upcoming visit strongly benefit our pre-rainy season studies.
- For the teaching and discipleship opportunities our team has in the community, from Sundays and Bible studies to regular-life community interactions and relationships. Please pray in particular for the younger generation that is growing in the Lord!
Considering our neighbors’ privacy in a digital world limits what we share publicly. Please email me if you would like to join our partners’ private Facebook prayer group for the Nahuatl church and church planting ministry. Also, if you rely upon social media to see our updates, please consider also signing up to receive an email notification when we publish new posts!