A few weeks ago, Agatha – a Nahuatl believer – came to a shocking realization: the village meeting at which she had just arrived was all about her! Another woman, Melody, addressed the crowd – describing how badly she had been treated by Agatha during a community project. In fact, Melody has nursed a personal grudge against Agatha for years, rejecting multiple attempts at reconciliation. Instead, she finds fault with Agatha for minor or non-existent provocations. Yet this time, her accusations were so incessant and public that the village decided a meeting was necessary to resolve the situation. Agatha had not known about this – were it not for a few ‘coincidences,’ she would not have even gone. Now, she wondered how best to faithfully represent God in a place where her character and reputation were unjustly attacked.
As discussion continued, Agatha gathered her courage and spoke up. Most people likely expected her to repudiate Melody’s claims, reject responsibility, and throw accusations back into her opponent’s face! Yet Agatha instead chose to humble herself. She shared her lack of intent to mistreat Melody in any way, but acknowledged that tiredness or past disagreements could easily have impacted their interaction. Rather than push back on Melody individually, Agatha spoke of a shared responsibility for the situation – saying that together, they clearly should have done better – and that for her part, she wanted a good relationship with Melody moving forward. In a culture where grudges easily stretch from years to decades, or spread from individuals to families… this was a shocking response to such public attack!
Those hearing Agatha’s words were clearly impressed. Several who had spoken against her even nodded, and now made approving comments. The village judge ultimately admonished both women together, requiring they get along better in the future – or face traditional shame-inducing consequences. Agatha’s response of confident accepting submission stood in clear contrast to her accuser’s muttered “Fine.” She had defused the situation; a gentle answer had indeed turned away anger (Proverbs 15:1). Yet Agatha knew that much of the initial opposition she had faced came from another situation, one tied to her public testimony as a believer. Though nervous, she saw an opportunity to clear her name.
Agatha told the Las Moras community that she was not upset about the discussion involving Melody, because it was important that neighbors respect one another and get along. However, she said, she was frustrated by weeks of whispered rumors about her – rumors that she had stolen and desecrated one of the two main village idols! One of the images had in fact been taken from the local ‘church,’ and shortly thereafter appeared a ways up the road, broken and partially burnt. However, this took place on a day when many outsiders were in town to receive government scholarships for local students. Widespread drunkenness always follows these cash payments, and similar vandalism had taken place in another town a couple years prior. However, since Agatha publicly rejected idol worship and ancestral traditions, she was seen as a reasonable scapegoat for these events. Now, she had won an opportunity to address those rumors head-on.
Making her case before the community in simple fashion, Agatha asked her neighbors to consider what would happen if she had taken the images… would any of them have stopped bringing them food offerings, or doing tasks to try to please them? Of course not! Why, then, would she bother desecrating those statues, which had never done anything to her? In fact, Agatha pointed out that her own beliefs prohibit her from disrespecting or damaging others’ property, and that it would go against God’s teachings for her to do such things. She asked why she would risk community displeasure in such a way for no gain, especially when she would be the first person suspected due to her differing beliefs. In the end, Agatha illustrated that if people had come talk to her instead of talking about her, they would already know she had not done this thing.
Seeing our sister in Christ grow in maturity is a great joy for our team… as is seeing the Lord work through each of the believers in ways which really don’t touch upon us at all. As cultural outsiders, managing a situation like this well would have simply been beyond us! Yet as we prayed, God blessed us with the privilege of watching our sister-in-Christ navigate the obstacles with a blend of cultural propriety and Christ-honoring sensitivity. This is one more milestone on the road to having worked ourselves out of a job, and seeing Jesus fully establish His church here in the Nahuatl community. Keep praying with us that God complete the good work He has begun among them, and bring His children here in Las Moras to maturity in Christ!
- Uncontrolled fires and drunkenness have been more prevalent recently, but God has protected the community from so many of these hazards!
- A recent opportunity for our team to visit a neighboring village allowed us to firm up existing relationships, and start to build new ones.
- Teaching opportunities the youth continue to go well as we study Hebrews 11 men and women of faith. Also, August remains very interested in our ongoing chronological Bible study, engaging with thoughtful questions and demonstrating good understanding.
How to Pray:
- The community is in dire need of water; this season has been particularly hot dry! Yet there have been a couple early rains, and signs that rainy season as a whole may begin early this year. Pray for rain!
- Our team’s internet connection was shut down when our provider decommissioned a satellite, yet God has already provided a way to get things up and running again. Pray that a couple quality details can be ironed out, and that the new connection serves the team well this summer!
- 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 make plans for how best to help her.
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!