Friday, December 30, 2011

November/December 2011 Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.

November/December 2011 

Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. Psalm 86:11

The end of October marked the 5-year anniversary of the "new birth" of the first 36 Huichols from José Lopez' natal village of Guásima del Caimán. All of the believers of that village made a collective decision to relocate at a place on the outskirts of the town of Puga, about 30 minutes’ drive from Tepic. They named their new village “La Bendición” (The Blessing) and dedicated their village and themselves to follow Kakaɨyari, the one true God who saved them from the darkness of their sin and brought them to the Light of salvation. They held a big corn-sharing festival in honor of the anniversary. The brothers and sisters have been so exemplary in their Christian walk that unbelievers from villages scattered throughout the Sierra Madre have come to hear for themselves the “reason for the hope that is in them.” In spite of major hardship and persecution, they have remained faithful, and their pastor, Refugio, absorbing all the Bible teaching he can get, is a loving, sacrificial leader of his little flock of more than 30 families.

The 7 Huichol mother-tongue-translators involved in the Old Testament project agreed months ago to meet together the first week of November in the village of Zapote to work on polishing the draft of 1 Samuel.  Hilario from Los Aires, a 6-hour hike, 10-hour rural bus ride, 1-hour local bus ride, 40-minute boat ride and an additional 40-minute hike from the host village, had said he would probably have to sit out on this one as his wife, Angelina, was due to deliver their 6th child any day. Angelina insisted that this OT project is so important to her that Hilario should participate in the workshop, affirming that if she should happen to go into labor, she could handle it herself this time. Angelina's determination that Hilario leave to take part in the workshop did not mean she just was giving up her errands assistant (“Honey, run and get me a diaper”...”Bring me a drink”... “Check on the other 5 kids”, etc.). Hilario is the "midwife"; he has assisted in the births of all of their children in their humble adobe home worlds away from the nearest clinic. She meant she was willing to handle that by herself this time. The divinely appointed time for the arrival of the strong, healthy man-child, Manasés (Manasseh, as in Joseph’s son from the recently polished Old Testament book of Genesis), just happened to be November 6, 5 days before Hilario’s return to his village home.
Two weeks later, little Manasés began to have trouble breathing; within 3 days, he had completely stopped nursing. Some of the villagers suggested Hilario set out on foot for help from the nearest clinic, hours away, but Hilario knew the baby would never survive the trip. He and Angelina prayed asking for a miracle and committing baby Manasés to Kakaɨyari. The following morning, UIM pilot, David Wolf, “just happened” to arrive at the airstrip 40-minutes’ hike from Hilario’s house for a pre-arranged meeting of the Huichol Bible students from  Hiliario’s isolated village with the Mexico director of the study program. David was able to airlift Hilario, Angelina and the gravely ill baby Manasés to Tepic where he was admitted, nearly unconscious, to the pediatric ICU of a local hospital. Details way too numerous to 
share were expedited, Kakaɨyari saw fit to spare the life of the 20-day old baby, and 10 days later he was discharged to return to his village. When I dropped Hilario and Angelina off at the rural transport bus station for their long, strenuous return home with their now month-old, miracle baby, Hilario shared with me that as both Moses and Joshua in the recently translated Old Testament stories had directed the children of Israel as they were about to enter the Land of Promise, he would see to it that Manasés never forgets God’s provision for his life.
And speaking of the Huichol Old Testament translation project, praise God that 96% is now in at least 1st-draft form! There is still much work to accomplish in reviewing, revising, community checking, etc.; and there are many details such as translator transportation and safety, finances, insight, orthography transition, and availability of adequate back-translators for which to continue praying. Of particular encouragement is that at the celebration last month of the 9th year anniversary of the founding of the village church at Zapote, 3 key Huichol pastors put to use some of the now-translated Old Testament passages as their texts. Manuel taught from Deuteronomy about Moses as he lead the Children of Israel up to the Promised land and his admonition that they remember and remind the future generation from where the one true God had brought them. Joaquín applied the words of the son of Hannah, “Speak, Lord…Here am I,” a valuable lesson from the recently polished 1 Samuel passage. And Refugio finished with a message from Isaiah 5 telling how God, because of His love, had provided for His chosen people a beautiful vineyard which they failed to utilize and consequently experienced God’s judgment for their lack of faith and productivity. He admonished, “We must listen to God’s warning and follow through with His instructions.”

May we join with our Huichol brothers in sincerely asking Kakaɨyari to “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” Psalm 86:11


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas 2011