Saturday, October 30, 2010

September/October 2010
  
“Rooted and built up in him... stablished in the faith... abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:7
It’s been a long time coming, and the process was much more demanding than any of us ever imagined, but Pastor José López’ surgery to fracture, straighten and reset his leg has been, so far, an infection and clot-free success. Those of you for whom I have e-mail addresses have received a variety of sequels to the last prayer update.  If you missed out you can follow the procedure and other mini-updates on previous posts on thisand in a “Memory Album” I’m making for José. In essence, his operation is healing miraculously, and he is on his way to recovery. Please continue to pray that soon he will be back at his jobs of Old Testament translation, teaching, and spreading the Gospel of Peace to every remote corner of the Sierra Madre Mountains.


The Iglesia Bíblica Bautista Misericordia – Tepic celebrated our 19th anniversary the first week of October. It was a whirlwind of edifying activity as pastors, Phil McKeown, Steve Evers and Brent Armstrong along with 3 laymen from the Tucson Baptist Temple and UIM pilot, Dave Wolf with his wife, Olivia, visited. The theme we adopted for this year is “Prosigo la Meta” (I Press Toward the Mark) with emphasis on the mark not on I press. As a church, in addition to some incredible answers to prayer, we have had to deal with some very unexpected and rather discouraging attacks from the enemy. The theme is very appropriate for the circumstances as we are admonished to forget the things that are behind, and reach forth for the prize of our Savior’s high calling. All three visiting pastors brought excellent messages of encouragement for their Tepic extended family. In addition to the Tepic church activities, we made trips that also served to build and encourage our Huichol brothers and sisters in their remote mountain communities. Check out the activities here



Román is one of the key mother-tongue-translators (MTTs) working on the Huichol Old Testament translation project. He lives with his family in the mountain village of La Quemada. The unbelievers in his village, who are enslaved to their traditional religion and the worship of some 150 gods, are constantly looking for ways to aggravate and persecute their Christian neighbors. Román sent his 7-year-old son, Elías (Elijah) to bring back home the family burro that had been tethered to a tree outside the village. One of the villagers purposely spooked the burro that took off running with his rope wrapped around Elías’s leg, dragging Elías behind. Fortunately, Elías has no broken bones and is recovering from his injuries. At his young age, Elías knows firsthand, the true meaning of suffering persecution; Román knows the true meaning of the Psalms he has just finished drafting in his heart-language. With eyes welled-up with tears, he shared that even though he had doubted that his son would walk again, and even though his desire was to seek vengeance, he found great assurance and could honestly say along with David:  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Ps. 91:2

Hilario, MTT from the village of Los Aires, has just finished the first draft of Proverbs in Huichol. As he was working on the translation, he imagined himself in the role of that wise man, Solomon, giving counsel to his own 15-year-old son. He is beginning a chapter-a-day Proverbs reading plan with his family, in their heart-language.

Venancio is another Huichol MTT, presently working on 2 Chronicles. He has been impressed with the precision of the details that God gave Solomon for the construction of His temple. Through the translation process, Venancio has come to realize that God is precise, and He has a specific plan for the building of our lives and families, as well. Venancio and his wife, Lucía, came from their village to stay in Tepic last month as they awaited the arrival of their 3rd baby (and that’s another story in itself!). Venancio is grateful for the defined instruction Cacauyari has given in His Word for working to build a strong and God-honoring family. He told me that his prayer is that he will listen to and apply God’s wisdom as Solomon did in the building of the Temple. 

The translation job of the Huichol Old Testament is well past the half-way mark. Like every other part of this task of sharing the Truth with those who have never heard and with those who want and need to hear more, Bible translation is a tedious and laborious job that requires the teamwork of many participants. Thank you for your prayers and your indispensable position on the team.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sequel #7 - (not so positive, but still positive) to July/August 2010 Update - José López, Román and Elías--10-16-10

Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.


How fortunate José (Yes, that is José...STANDING now, and only 4 little bandages!) is to have brothers and sisters from 2 villages who are willing to sacrifice to take such good care of him as he recovers from his surgery. How sad it is that while he has been staying with Ramón and his family in the village of Loma Alta, someone back in his own village of Carlos a la Torre broke into his humble little house and stole absolutely everything of value that he owned (except his bed); his CD/radio/cassette player, his oscillating fan, his point-and-shoot 35mm camera and a 10-meter bundle of electric cable. They took an extra Bible he had left at home, too, but that was found discarded along the path leading from his house to town. José knows what it means to “suffer loss,” and this is certainly not his first experience.





2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Román is one of the key Huichol mother-tongue-translators working on the Huichol Old Testament translation project. He lives with his family in the remote mountain village of La Quemada, the village to which Pastor Manuel of the previous “Sequel #6” hiked for the Bible-teaching session. The unbelieving villagers who are enslaved to their traditional religion and the worship of some 150 gods are constantly looking for ways to aggravate and persecute their Christian neighbors. Román sent his 7-year-old son, Elías (Elijah) to bring back home the family burro that had been tethered to a tree outside the village. One of the unbelievers purposely spooked the burro that took off running with his rope wrapped around Elías’s leg, dragging Elías behind. Fortunately, Elías has no broken bones, but the severe rope burns made him unable to walk. When UIM pilot, David Wolf, was able to return to the village to bring Pastor Manuel back to Tepic, he also delivered a supply of *sterile bandages and antibiotic ointment for treatment. Román reported yesterday via his solar satellite Internet connection that our prayers for Elías are being answered and he is now able to walk again. Seven-year-old Elías knows at his young age, the true meaning of suffering persecution.










*BTW, I bet my friends, Margaret and Yvonne, among many willing tools in the Master’s hands who have a vital part in this work, never dreamed that the huge supply of sterile bandages and assorted ointments they loaded into their suitcases and left with me when they came for a visit to Tepic 2 years ago would find so many important applications. The medical supplies have now been instrumental in keeping infection from a severe burn (mine), José’s repulsive surgical wounds (MANY bandage changes) and now Elías's rope burns.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Sequel #6 (positive) to July/August 2010 Update - José López Passes the Baton and the Race Continues 10-9-10

The Sunday after church that Martín, Erén and I went to Loma Alta to remove Pastor José López’ stitches was more than a mere “positive sequel.” It was a monumental moment that passed so naturally, I don’t think we even realized its magnitude. With stitches removed, wounds bathed in Betadine, and a re-bandaged, still miraculously infectionless leg, José accepted the challenge to pray for his “sons” in the faith and “brothers,” Benjamín and Manuel. They were to return to Tepic with us for an early-Monday-morning departure in the UIM plane that would drop them off in two remote mountain villages for a solid week of intense doctrinal teaching. The brothers and sisters from the churches in those isolated communities of La Quemada and Los Aires, respectively, had set aside the entire week for studying to show themselves approved. With eyes brimming with tears and a voice teeming with emotion, José passed the baton as he asked God’s protection, wisdom, accuracy and stamina for the two volunteers who would take his place, implementing the 2 Timothy 2:2 mandate: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

UIM pilot, David Wolf, left the Tepic runway bright and early Monday morning with his “precious cargo.” He dropped off Benjamín on the Tierra Blanca landing strip, a 40-minute hike from the Los Aires church, but before he could land with Manuel on the Zoquipan strip near the village of La Quemada, the Cessna developed engine problems requiring that the landing be aborted, and a forced return to Tepic. The needed replacement part, not available in Tepic, would not arrive until Wednesday. Manuel made the decision to leave by bus at 4 am the following morning, Tuesday, making the trip to La Quemada via a 13-hour bus ride to Zoquipan and then hiking on to the village. The rains have practically demolished the rural mountain path that the bus takes, and half-way to the destination, the driver announced he was turning back to Tepic. Manuel chose to get off the bus and hike the rest of the way on foot. Never for a moment losing sight of his “commission,” he arrived by moonlight at 2 a.m. in Zoquipan and waited till daybreak to continue on to La Quemada. He began the teaching with which he had been charged that very morning, and by Sunday, when the pilot was able to fly back to the nearby village to retrieve him, the lessons had been taught, the tests were taken, and the enemy’s efforts had been thwarted by the perseverance of God’s faithful servants.