Monday, March 18, 2013

Oaxaca, Mexico Trip Report

Each year, To Every Tribe sends missionaries on trips throughout the world.  This year, we had a team in Papau New Guinea, another in India, one couple from To Every Tribe went to scout out Malaysia/Indonesia and we had a team in Oaxaca, Mexico.  After much prayer, David chose to be part of the Oaxaca, Mexico team.  We have been serving in northern Mexico each month and God has really been putting Mexico on our hearts for long-term mission work.  The need is huge in Mexico and there is so much work to be done there.  The kids and I remained on campus while David went to Oaxaca, Mexico for just over 2 weeks.  Oaxaca is pronounced "wa-ha-ca" by the way.  This was the longest David and I had been apart and God gave us amazing strength, grace and comfort during our time apart.  
Pictures from the motels they stayed at in Mexico

The trip to Oaxaca, Mexico was a 3 day drive for team.  They stopped in 2 different cities along the way and spent the night to get some rest. This was the furthest into Mexico that David had been and he loved watching the scenery and landscape change throughout the trip. 
That's a volcano on the far left!

Did you know part of Mexico is in the "Ring of Fire"?  So one night David sends me an email telling me he is loving all the volcanoes in Mexico.  I was like "Volcanoes?  What volcanoes?"  So I shared his email on Facebook and my Dad commented "honey, Mexico is in the ring of fire". I honestly didn't believe him so I looked it up and sure enough, it's true! Should have known my Dad (a big History/Geography buff) was right and where I was in Geography class in 9th grade when they taught that?!  (Don't answer that Dad!)  Anyway, after 3 days of traveling the team finally arrived in Oaxaca City, Mexico.  To Every Tribe has a few missionary families already in that area completing language school and some actually in villages in Oaxaca working to reach tribal groups with the gospel.  
David rode in the truck bed around Oaxaca City

A Catholic church in Oaxaca City, Mexico

While in Oaxaca City, they spent a day resting and looked around the town.  They visited some of the missionaries from To Every Tribe who live in Oaxaca City and got to stay at their houses overnight too.  
Randy & Sue - Bible translators for Wycliffe

The team also went to Mitla, Mexico to the Wycliffe Bible Translation facility there.  Randy & Sue wanted to live in "Village Q".  Their hearts desire was to learn the native language, create an alphabet and create a grammar system and translate the gospel into their native tongue. However, their request was denied but their heart burned so strongly to bring the gospel to this village that they began working from outside the village to accomplish their goal.  They were able to make friends with a couple of people from Village Q who were willing to help them but it took 27 years for them to be able to complete the translation of the New Testament into the language of Village Q.  In February 2011, the New Testament was finished and ready for distribution to these people.  Praise God for steadfast warriors who do not allow opposition to stand in the way of doing the Lord's will. 
The mountain pass to "Village Q"

The next day the team packed up and drove up into the mountains from Oaxaca City to reach the people in Village Q. Village Q sits at about 7,100 feet up in the mountains and it took about 8 hours to go just a few miles on this road.   A cold front had moved into the area and it was in the 30's at night with a strong wind while the team was there.  You may not believe it but southern Mexico can be really cold!  Yet, the daytime temperatures were really warm.  
A picture of Village Q - it sits on the side of the mountain

The purpose of this trip was to host a dental/medical clinic for the people in this village.  David was again able to do dentistry for 3 days on people in the village.  This service gave him and the team the opportunity to personally serve the people of Village Q.  David also led praise and worship time for the team and he even played guitar for some of the villagers there just for fun.  One day in the village, he got to talking to a man named Mr. M. This man invited him to come into his home for coffee (grown right there in the village) and he took a few other guys from the team with him. Mr. M knew a little bit of Spanish so David was able to communicate with him in Spanish (although David only knows a little Spanish so far) and they worked on learning words in both Spanish, Zapotec (the language of Village Q) and English for Mr. M to learn.  At the end of their time in Village Q, the village president came to one of our missionaries that lives in Oaxaca City and indicated he would be willing to write a letter of invitation for some of our missionaries to come live in their village!  Because of new Mexican immigration procedures and tribal village government, a formal invitation is required to live among these unreached tribal groups in Mexico.  Please pray for Village Q and that To Every Tribe will receive an invitation to come live and work among that village. 

The need for missionaries in Oaxaca is great as there are still dozens of unreached villages all throughout the mountains just like Village Q.  Our family is prayerfully looking to move to Oaxaca to serve after we complete our training in May 2014 to serve as long-term missionaries there.  We would love for you to cover us in prayer as we continue to serve in northern Mexico each month, complete our training here in south Texas, continue to raise support and prepare for that move to Mexico! 
A Skype call from Mexico

One final note, can I just say how thankful I am for technology these days!  While David & I did not get to talk to each other personally every day he was able to email me each night and sometimes in the mornings the first few days thanks to internet cafes and wi-fi in towns where they stopped along the way.  Once they arrived in Oaxaca City, he actually called me on Skype (see picture above) and I cried I was so happy to see and hear him.  When they went up into the village we had no communication at all as these are primitive, tribal villages.   In fact, you couldn't even take pictures in the village as these people still believe you can still their soul by taking a picture with a camera!  It is such a blessing to know that when we move to Mexico we can still keep in touch with family and friends via Skype, emails, Facebook, least until God opens a door for us to move into a village!  

Thank you to each and everyone of you who prayed for David, the team and our family while he was gone.  Thank you to those who used our Oaxaca Trip Prayer Guide to pray specifically for the team and the needs we listed.  We love knowing are surrounded by faithful prayer warriors as prayer is one of our most powerful weapons!  

In case you haven't seen it yet, we have a new missions video and you can learn how to partner with our family and join in our mission work too.