During Amy’s recent language evaluation, our consultant asked her to discuss colors. Looking down at her beautifully patterned traditional skirt, Amy pointed to a section and began to demonstrate her hard-earned vocabulary. “This is yellow,” she said in Nahuatl to our friend Lenny – who had come to help with the evaluation. “And this…”
At this point, Lenny picked up on what she perceived was Amy’s train of thought. “Why, yes – that’s orange,” she replied in Nahuatl. “And that’s red! And that part over there is green…”. By the time Lenny finished, she had mentioned all the other major colors groups – rendering the subject of no further use in the evaluation. Fortunately, Amy was able to clarify what she was trying to accomplish – and proceeded to show off her growing vocabulary in several other ways.
Lenny initially misunderstood Amy’s intentions because of the simplest of reasons: she is not one of our usual language helpers! When everyone who regularly helps Amy and I study was unavailable for our evals, we turned to friends like Lenny and her son Efron to stand in the gap – fellow believers who know why we’re here, are excited to see God work through us, and want to do whatever they can to help. Lenny came determined to do her best, and – despite a couple hiccups – through her patient assistance Amy was ultimately able to demonstrate what she had learned.
Particularly in early language study, this kind of communication challenge often comes up with new language helpers. They are unfamiliar with our foreign ways of thinking, and need time and experience with us to better grasp our planning. We expect to work through early hurdles during language sessions, but Amy simply never had the chance to do so with Lenny before her evaluation day.
Amy and I are working hard to acquire the language ability and cultural understanding required for clear communication with the Nahuatl, who were so recently unreached by the Gospel, that we may effectively make Jesus known among them. In order to do so, we need trained language helpers! Missed sessions as things come up are common out here, and having multiple friends and neighbors prepared to help is more necessity than luxury. Please pray that God provide us with several faithful teacher-friends… ones who will persevere through language study’s challenges, and hang in there with us until the job is done.
Last month’s language evaluations left Amy and I with good, tightly focused direction for our next season of study… and the first couple of weeks – though busy! – have gone well. We are working through a plan to visit each family in the community, one house at a time – demonstrating in culturally significant ways our desire for friendship – and this is something we will generally continue as long as the Lord has us live here. As well, we have begun to develop more relationships with language helpers with whom we hope to work, build friendships, and share Christ in the months and years to come.
Fluency in local ways and words is a goal still a long ways off, and one requiring much perseverance, sacrifice, and dying to self. Yet the ultimate goal of a mature Nahuatl church is worth these costs, and we trust in God’s enabling to uphold us as we serve Him. Thank you for praying for and with us through this amazing journey!
- Our consultants’ visit in mid-March was productive – setting us up well for our next season of studying Nahuatl language and culture.
- Jasson and Kim Farmer, along with their four kids, came to visit us for Pilot Appreciation Weekend… then, earlier this week, Jasson came back with one of his sons and coworker Kevin to install new solar gear – panels, batteries, et cetera – in Rachel and Katie’s house. These guys really lay it on the line for us!
- On Easter Sunday, August – the Spanish-speaking husband of a believing lady – asked me to come talk with him about questions he had about the Bible. That conversation led to plans for a weekly Bible study, where we’ll dive into God’s plan for saving us from the sin we cannot escape in our own strength. (Keep us in prayer!)
How to Pray:
- For our team and the Nahuatl believers – all of us face challenges particular to our roles and circumstances; pray that God encourage and uphold us in our walk with Him and the good works He has prepared for us to do!
- For Amy’s health. Though not as profoundly as before, some of the effects of her post-partum depression have returned – affecting how much sleep she needs, and energy/encouragement levels during the day. Pray for wisdom as we consider how best to help her. Also, join us in thanking God for how He continues to uphold her day-by-day, making it possible for us to continue forward.
- For God’s provision of a homeschool teacher’s assistant… someone willing to live here with us in our home, taking on the primary work of teaching our kids day-by-day, thereby freeing Amy and I to spend more time growing in our language ability and cultural understanding.
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!