Wednesday, March 01, 2017

January/February 2017 - Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…They said to the woman, “…we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.

January/February 2017            
Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…They said to the woman, “…we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:39, 42)
Jesus cared about the unbelieving Samaritans even though He was Jewish and Samaritans didn’t like Jews. Jesus shared with one needy Samaritan woman who believed, and He sent her back to her village to share with her people the Truth that had set her free. The Truth she shared set them free, too.
That’s how God’s plan works. Emilia knows that well. She celebrated her 32nd birthday, Friday, giving of herself to the Huichol village of Guamuchilillo. That’s not quite like showing up at Starbuck’s and ordering an on-the-house Venti Chai Latte with extra whip in your honor. Emilia’s birthday trip to Guamuchilillo started the day before with a trek from her village to the river, hopping on the first launch that happens to come by to take her downriver to the Agua Milpa reservoir, then catching a rural transport on to Tepic. 

She rounded up a large pack full of supplies including pan dulce (sweet bread) to share with her friends, and she made copies of Bible lessons she had prepared to share with them and the village kids for the next 2-3 weeks. Emilia spent the night at my house, then she caught a pre-dawn ride to the airport on the outskirts of town where our willing UIM-Aviation friends loaded Emilia and her supplies into their Cessna. Her 30-minute flight to the airstrip at Tierra Blanca (TB) saves many hours of riding a rural transport then hiking through the mountains. 

The UIM-A crew had already arranged flights to pick up the Theological Education by Extension (TEE) teachers who just spent this past week teaching students in a couple of other mountain villages. They made the trade-off at TB (the shortest and scariest, most uninviting airstrip ever with constant, crazy, random air currents) dropping off Emilia and picking up teachers, Zacarías and José Luis, for the return to their village, La Bendición. From TB, Emilia hiked with her heavy load still another 4 hours deeper into the Sierra Madre. Emilia thrives on sharing the Truth that has set her free with the villagers of Guamuchilillo, and she joyfully makes the sacrifices necessary for the privilege. 
When a friend asked her, “Why does a single lady like you do all this stuff?” “God’s Word tells me to,” she replied without missing a beat.

Emilia graduated with the very first group of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) students after 5 years of studies. She is a faithful and diligent student and teacher.

Emilia is also a vital member of the team of mother-tongue-translators (MTT) working to finish up the assignment of converting the Old Testament into the heart-language of her people.  The task was once humanly impossible, but we expect the job will be complete by the end of 2018. Each MTT left the 34th 2-week workshop last week with the completed version of 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Samuel, Amos and Ecclesiastes in hand. Emilia really liked Amos 8:11: Days are coming—affirms the all-powerful Lord—in which I will send hunger to the land; it won't be hunger for bread or thirst for water, but hunger to hear the words of the Lord. And she asserts: “In Ezekiel 3:1-10, I learned that God told the prophet first to eat the scroll that He was going to give him, and afterwards he was to speak to the Israelites. He obeyed and was satisfied; it was sweet like honey. Likewise, I will read the word of God until I’m satisfied, then I’ll share it with others who need it.”
So, what convinced Emilia and her family in their remote mountain village of their need for the Savior? More than 35 years ago, José López heard and believed the Truth, Way and Life and was set free, indeed. Just like the Samaritan, he couldn’t wait to share the Good News and his changed life with others like him who had never heard and believed. On one of José’s many mission trips hiking through the Sierra Madre, he stopped off in the remote mountain village where Emilia’s parents lived. The villagers soundly rejected the Gospel, and José continued on his way. A few months later, Emilia’s older brother, Salomón, became very ill. The family spent everything they had getting “help” from the local shamans and appeasing their powerless gods, but Salomón was dying. Emilia’s father, Faustino, desperately set out on foot with the baby and his mother, trekking through the mountains in search of José with the hope that Jose’s “God” might save their son. They found José; José brought them to Tepic, we got Salomón to the hospital, and he lived. His parents returned to José’s village convinced that Jesus alone, is mighty to save. Weeks later, they returned to their own village, healed of their own deadly condition, and they shared their new-found faith. Emilia was born the following year. She has heard the Gospel since she was born, and she, personally, gave her life to Christ as a young teenager.
What if José had never heard?  What if José had never shared? What if Emilia had never heard? Just like the villagers of Samaria, the people of Guamuchilillo have found someone “like them” whom they know and trust, and who, regardless of the cost, has taken it upon herself to share what it is that has changed her and motivates her to make such sacrifices -- the greatest love and power in the universe, that of Jesus Christ the Savior. How blessed we are to be able to participate with Emilia and her friends. May we follow her example in our own villages.

They said to the woman, “…we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:42)



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