Thursday, July 28, 2005

July 2005

I’ve been back in Tepic for three weeks now, and life has been non-stop since Timmy, Jacob, Kiki and I landed in Puerto Vallarta. Jacob and Kiki have returned to the States, and Timmy is helping at a youth camp outside of Guadalajara where 15 of our Tepic young people are learning to walk closer to our Savior. He will be leaving for the States as soon as they return to Tepic. Not one day has passed since I’ve been here that I haven’t thought of how important our team of friends and family is in making this work in Mexico the success that God has allowed it to be.

During my first week back, we had non-stop visitors from the Tepic church welcoming us back home with gifts of our favorite treats like brownies and flan and many beautiful flowers. We had a constant stream of Huichol pastors arriving on the front porch. I guess the smoke signals made their way to the various villages, and they took off hiking down the slopes of the Sierra Madre to the Mellberg’s half-way house. They all seemed so happy, and between sobs and smiles, each of them had to tell his story of how the works are going in their respective villages.

Tree Planting

Pastor Martín organized a group of young people, and not so young, to make a trip out to the new Picachos village (Huichol) to encourage the brothers and sisters there. He and Timmy got their heads together and came up with the bright idea that we could transport a bunch of fruit and shade trees to the village and plant them while we were there. Their new village is so barren, shadeless, hot, and depressing. The rainy season is just getting under way, and the timing is perfect. So Timmy took some funds from Kirt’s Memorial gifts and rounded up the young people that could go with him to go from nursery to nursery selecting trees that would be appropriate for the village. Martín, in typical Kirt fashion, contacted the government organization for “reforestation” and got them to donate a bunch more. With three truckloads of people, 90 trees, and digging and planting tools, we headed to the village. When we got to the dam, we loaded the trees and ourselves into two boats and took the 40 minute trip upriver. There was a whole band of Huichol brothers, sisters and kids waiting for us when we arrived at the landing, and we looked like an army of fire ants hiking to the village, all of us with trees in each hand. I wonder if fire ants ever ask themselves in the middle of their seemingly endless hike what they were thinking when they tackle their task of transporting supplies for the winter?

Church Planting

We were so impressed when we arrived in the village to see that they have worked very hard to get their foundation in for their new church building. It will be 1/3 bigger than the building in their old village. So far they have hauled 35 100lb. sacks of cement from Tepic, to the dam, up the river, and on their backs to the village…and we were thinking twice about our measly trees? They have gone to an area nearby to dig the sand for mixing in the mortar, and that also has been transported on their backs and some by burro, in large gunny sacks. They are determined to have a beautiful new church in the center of their village. They have made plans to hike up to the old village and bring down the large metal doors, windows and roofing material, also on their backs, to install in this church. We are having another metal door and two large windows made to match, since this building will be bigger than the first. We brought enough macaroni salad, beans, sandwiches and tortas along to share with the whole village, and they made us delicious hand-flapped tortillas. It was a long day, but never to be forgotten. Church planting was one of Kirt’s passions, but he knew that could only happen by obeying God’s command to make and multiply disciples. The churches are a natural outgrowth of fulfilling that mandate, and we can all do that.

The Tepic church has been full to the brim on Sundays, and there are several new believers since I left for Phoenix in April. Three people, Manuel, Zobeida and Elsa received Christ this past Sunday. The people are still reeling from our great loss; however, we are all learning not to cry because Kirt is gone, but to smile because he was here.

Plans to start moving on the long and tedious process of turning in Kirt’s immigration papers and revising my non-immigrant resident FM3 status from being “Kirt’s property” to my own at the office of immigration, got preempted when Marcelino and Rosenda showed up from the village of Codorniz, the most remote village of all with which we have worked. Rosenda’s shoulder, arm and hand are in severe pain one moment, and then numb the next. Some of the non-believers of their village have tried to convince her that someone has put a curse on her; and the nature of Huichol women, in particular, as well as roots in traditional beliefs makes her very susceptible to believing everything she is told. Marcelino is the co-pastor along with Porfirio in their village church. Please pray with me that this oppression will not be an obstacle in Marcelino’s service and the growth in the church at Codorniz. Pastor Manuel from Picachos also showed up to pick up his church power plant that Noe tuned up for him and some supplies for the next phase of the church building. I talked him into accompanying Marcelino to the General Hospital; since thankfully, Manuel has learned the ropes of getting Huichols in past the social workers.

There were 17 men in men’s prayer meeting on Wednesday morning. I thought it was ironic that nobody sat in “Kirt’s” chair at the table even though they needed the extra space. When Pastor José Lopez from Salvador Allende showed up a little late, I escorted him to that chair. Wow! You could have heard the proverbial “pin drop.” Hopefully that will get the brothers past the “Shekinah Glory” syndrome that prevails.

As Kirt always concluded our prayer updates, “We are forever grateful for your love and care that allows us to be here sharing God’s love.” Thanks again for your sensitivity and supportiveness of not only the work here in Tepic, but also for me, personally.



“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)

Click here to see all the pictures from the trip to Zapote de Picachos


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