Thursday, November 03, 2005

“Faith that becomes sight" is one of the greatest joys of a missionary's heart.
Last January, Kirt and I shared the following sad news about the village of Zapote de Picachos:

“It has been more than 20 years ago since Fernando, a Huichol Indian man, settled in the beautiful mountain valley he called, Zapote de Picachos. The place nestled high in the Sierra Madre includes an artesian well of fresh, naturally-pure water. More than 15 years ago, Huichol missionary, José López, went up to “Picachos” to share the Gospel with the people of the small, newly-founded village. Four years ago, we built a beautiful little church building there for the more than 60 enthusiastic believers who have grown tremendously in this ministry. To us, the Picachos church has been a dream church. They have been exemplary in giving and going throughout the mountains of Nayarit to share their faith. In late November, their pastor, Manuel, came with some very sad news. Some Mexican government officials claim that the village of Zapote de Picachos, is too hard to reach with medical and educational supplies to meet the needs of the people, so the officials told them that they would have to leave their dwellings and relocate to an area about 9 kilometers away to a place nearer the lake about 3000 feet below. They were told that the government would provide them with housing and fresh water in the new location.”

By mid-December, the old Picachos village looked like a ghost town.
The promised “housing” in the new village turned out to be one plastic tarp per family, and the lake water is contaminated. Many of their children became sick with dysentery and boils. Because Picachos is only one of hundreds of hard-to-reach villages in the mountains of our state, the whole thing did not make sense. In meetings Kirt had with Pastor Manuel and his church leaders, they assured him that they were “OK” with the change, and they would take down the removeable parts of their church building and carry it, piece by piece, to their new location. Pastor Manuel said, “They may have meant it for bad, but as Joseph of the Old Testament said, God can use it for good. We want to consider building a larger church building, because our opportunities to reach more will be better.”

Eight months ago, in March, when we visited the new Huichol village of Picachos, a new church building was still only a dream, and a far-fetched one, for sure. None of us knew that that would be the last time Kirt would be with us in the village, and that two activity-filled weeks later, he, our “construction contractor” and spiritual leader, would be promoted to Heaven.

In spite of our great loss, Pastor Manuel never lost sight that God could provide for all of the needs of his little flock,
and that not only could He provide to replace the church building they had lost, but He could also provide to make it even larger than the original. And God did provide. He provided the funds necessary for the purchase and transport of building materials, he provided the wisdom necessary to find the best materials at the best prices, and he provided willing laborers. Many Mexican and Huichol church members sacrificed and offered unimaginable physical labor in getting the materials to the site and in the building process.

This past Wednesday, two boatloads of brothers and sisters from the Mexican Tepic church and around 200 Huichols celebrated our fulfilled dream.
Pastor Manuel chose to call the celebration, not an “Inauguration Service,” but a “Dedication Service.” He said that anything can be “inaugurated,” but this service was to dedicate the building as well as the “church” itself, the people, to faithfully continue serving and reaching out to those who have never heard the “Good News.” Many prayers, gifts of love and much special care literally made “faith become sight.”

Click here to see a slideshow of the last phase of the construction project, the roof.

Click here to see a slideshow of yesterday's church dedication celebration.


At 1:52 AM, Blogger Jacob Hantla said...

Praise God! I can't wait to see it in person.


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