Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Missionary, Frank Arrellanes, and 8 young people from the Gracia y Paz Church in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, arrived in Tepic Saturday afternoon. They have been preparing themselves and the tools necessary for their first mission trip to share God’s love and provide clean water for Huichol families in 4 Huichol villages, Puga, La Bendición (the believers who have moved from Guásima del Caimán), Zapote de Picachos, and La Mesa (the central hub for the Zapote de Picachos community). The filters are specially designed to strain out 100% of the parasites and 90% of harmful bacteria from impure water that the villages currently receive. The addition of a few calibrated drops of chlorine to the filtered water destroys the remaining 10% of bacteria. Each filter that Frank and his youth group fabricated themselves, weighs over 250 lbs. Our friends from Puerto Vallarta spent the afternoon and evening in Tepic fellowshipping and ministering with the Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Tepic youth group. Sunday, right after church, a busload from IBBT caravanned along with them to the first two villages, Puga and La Bendición, to install the first 2 of 4 water filters they fabricated and transported.

The logistics for transportation, transfer, and delivery of the units because of their weight and the inaccessibility by vehicle to various villages is nearly inconceivable.
The first 3 ½ hours from Puerto Vallarta to Tepic and then to the nearest point accessible by vehicle to each village were made in the back of Frank’s pickup truck. Then delivery to each village presented its own unique challenge. Frank engineered a clever system of 3-meter-long, 4-inch tubes complete with foam padding, straps, and wooden pallets used to lug the horrendously heavy filters, one-at-a-time on the shoulders of 8-10 strong volunteer carriers. The first filter, delivered to Puga, had to be heaved up the mountain, around the obstacle course of several tight corners, between several low-hanging obstructing huts, and into the common area where the village believers, led by pastor Valentín, meet. Delivery of the second filter met with fewer physical barriers but a much longer hike down a long, rocky slope into the brand new village of La Bendición (The Blessing, the name given the new village of the newly relocated believers from Guásima del Caimán), where Refugio is pastor. When Pastor Refugio realized that in order to get the job done before dark on Sunday after church, we all left without lunch, he mobilized the ladies in his wonderful little flock, and they prepared us a delicious banquet of hand-flapped tortillas, beans, eggs and potatoes. As usual, the sacrifice and effort made to reach out and be a blessing to our Huichol brothers and sisters, was dimmed by their love and generosity toward us. Click here to see some shots of the filter deliveries to Puga and La Bendición.

We left early Monday morning to drive to the Agua Milpa hydro-electric plant where the remaining 500+ lbs. of filters and 18 volunteer delivery people from Gracia y Paz and the Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Tepic were loaded onto 2 motor boats for the 25-minute trip up river. The final 40-minute hike to the village was not for novices. Thankfully, 10 of us, our friends from Gracia y Paz, must not have believed that the final 40-minute hike to the villages was as rigorous as we had told them, especially with a 250 lb. filter hoisted on their shoulders! After the 3rd of the filters was delivered, installed, and instructions for its operation were given clearly by Frank, the last filter was destined for delivery to a central family in the village of La Mesa which is actually a part of the Zapote de Picachos community. La Mesa, a 20-minute hike from Zapote, is populated by all unbelievers. The goal of the installation of this filter is to show underserved and unconditional love to a prominent family of the village in hopes of earning the privilege of sharing the truth of the greatest gift of all. Pastor Manuel will be making periodic trips to share the Good News while maintaining and checking the purity of the water from the filter they received unexpectedly and “with no strings attached.” The missionary team from Puerto Vallarta brought care packages of basic staples such as beans, rice, and corn flour to leave as an added gift in each of the 4 villages where they installed filters. They headed back to Puerto Vallarta, exhausted after 2 days of backbreaking service, but exhilarated by the opportunity to serve as God led them. Click here to see some shots of Monday’s delivery to Zapote and La Mesa.

This weekend is proof-positive, again, of God’s incredible plan for each doing his or her share individually, for the purpose of combining efforts as a team and producing an effect for the Kingdom far greater than the sum of all the parts.


At 6:48 PM, Blogger Jacob Hantla said...

Praise God. I'll be praying for La Mesa. I can't imagine how difficult it was to carry those tubes up that hill from the boats. Thanks for the update.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Joan said...

Unbelievably awesome! God's love flows through them all!


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