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Tampamolón

The following is an extract from my journal, translated from Spanish.

April 25, 2007

TampamolónAfter the wedding in Huichihuayán, we got in the van accompanied by five Mexican brothers and sisters, going to our next destination: Tampamolón, the home of two widows. Brother Dugan had already told me their story. Many years ago they were married to the same man, and it came to pass that a certain brother taught him the Gospel, and he wanted to become a Christian. However, the brother told him that according to the Bible, a man can only have one wife, and if he wanted to become a Christian he would have to divorce one of his. So he did this, but only a few months later he passed away. After his death, since the two women didn’t have jobs, they decided to help one another and make a living by baking bread. The one bakes it in a big oven (which she showed us), and the other takes it to sell; in this way they can make enough money to survive. The name Tampamolón, according to an Aztec man who was there, means “place of the wild pigs” in the Tének dialect, called this because when the Huastecs lived there, there used to be lots of wild pigs in that area. However, these two widows are Aztecs, as are all their neighbors.

They led us to their house, and we all sat down in a breezeway between two buildings. We talked with the widows a good while; they were very nice and showed us great hospitality. They even gave us all Coke, even though it was clear that they didn’t have much money to spare. The one lady showed us her oven, a large structure made of mud and adobe. They had a dog (or chichi, as the Aztecs say), and the surprising thing is that he was a very friendly dog. The other dogs we had seen were really scared, and when they saw someone with a stick, they would run in fear. They were very skinny, and one could easily tell that they were hungry. But we could see that this dog, Kiko, was loved. He wasn’t hungry or scared, he barked, and he liked people. Read More

The Gospel Is For All

Of one the Lord has made the race,
Through one has come the fall;
Where sin has gone must go His grace:
The gospel is for all.

These words written by J. M. McCaleb from a certain hymn ring so true, and all the more to me as I have witnessed the work being done for the Lord in Mexico. This song emphasizes that the saving grace of Jesus Christ is not reserved for us only, but for every single soul on this planet. The second verse reads, Say not the heathen are at home, / Beyond we have no call, / For why should we be blest alone? / The gospel is for all. Even those who have never heard of God must receive the gospel in order to be saved.

We could think of all kinds of things that might present problems to evangelists, whether it be prejudice or distance, but something I have never considered is that of literacy. In this country it’s something we often take for granted, but in Mexico there are many elderly people who have never learned the Spanish language, and accordingly were never taught to read or write. What about these people? Can they become Christians even though they are not able to read God’s Word and probably never will? Read More

I.C.E.N.

Huichihuayán, Huehuetlán Municipality

Instituto Cultural Evangelístico Náhuatl

On Tuesday of the week I spent in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, we went to the Cultural Institute for Nahuatl Evangelism (Instituto Cultural Evangelístico Náhuatl), more colloquially known as “the school.” Located in the town of Huichihuayán (wee-chee-wah-YAHN), this is more precisely a preachers training school, where men from all over the Huasteca come to learn how to preach the Gospel and to learn more about God’s Word. In recent years brother José Hernández Félix has been the director, and he has brought about many good things for the school, and accordingly the student body has grown greatly.

The concrete building is well furnished, even with a kitchen where a hired cook fixes the meals for those staying there. The inside of the building is painted a pleasant lime green colour, and as you walk in the door you will find yourself in the main room of the building, alternately used as a classroom and a dining hall. Down the hall are some classrooms and a bathroom. It is really a nice facility, and I am so glad that there is such a work going on in that area to further the kingdom. Read More

The Scriptures in Nahuatl

Cristo, yaya catli tenextilía Toteco ya ipa itztoya quema ayamo oncayaya nochi catli onca. Cristo senitztoya ihuaya Toteco huan yaya Toteco. Yaya itztoya ihuaya Toteco ipan ipejya nochi catli onca. Cristo quichijchijqui nochi tlamantli, huan niyon se tlamantli catli onca amo yolqui iseli. Yaya nopa nemislismacaquetl huan quinmaca nemilistli nochi catli itztoque. Yaya nopa tlahuili catli quintlahuilía masehualme ipan ininyolo. Ni tlahuili tlahuía campa onca tzintlayohuilotl huan nopa tzintlayohuilotl amo hueli quisehuía.

(Juan 1:1-5)

At El Cañón, the first congregation we visited in the Huasteca, I noticed that even though most all the members knew Nahuatl, the singing was done in Spanish and there was a noted absence of a Nahuatl Bible. I inquired about this there, and as far as I could tell the Bible had not been translated into Nahuatl.

However, at Tlapexmecayo I discovered from the preacher there that a Bible did indeed exist in their native tongue—but it was translated by some denomination, and had doctrinal errors in it. At La Soledad brother Macario Zuniga showed me his Nahuatl Bible, and even brother Pascual owned one.

I was full of questions. If a Nahuatl Bible does exist, why don’t people use them? Are there truly errors in the text that could potentially deceive someone seeking the truth? At the house of brother Pascual (the man who recently started a congregation in his home), José Hernández Félix and brother Nicolás clarified it all for us.

Quite simply, no one reads or writes Nahuatl. Everyone who knows how to read and write does so in Spanish, because Nahuatl is a spoken language only. Granted, it is fairly easy to write the language using the Roman alphabet, but it is not taught in schools and practically no one can do it with ease.

Although some Aztecs have Bibles written in their own language, by far most of them read from the Reina-Valera version in Spanish. Perhaps this situation will change in the future, and only time will tell whether a new Nahuatl translation will be needed to aid the spreading of the Gospel.

Chalchocoyo

Matlapa municipality

Church of Christ at ChalchocoyoAfter visiting the congregation of the Lord’s church at La Soledad Monday morning, we travelled to the town of Chalchocoyo (the name of which means “guava” in Nahuatl). The church at Chalchocoyo is one of the biggest in that region, and there was a great turnout considering it was Monday.

Upon arriving we were greeted by a bunch of children on the road, who were very interested to see us. We were soon led down the hill to where the church building was, and entering we saw Bienvenidos los hermanos de Aledo, Texas written on the chalkboard. It was here that we first met brother Nicolás (a local preacher) and Abraham Antonio, who led the welcome song when we were all assembled. After this Mr. Dugan introduced each of our company, and when this was accomplished Nicolás spoke in Nahuatl inviting anyone to come forward if they had something to say to us.

First a young man came up, and he was able to speak good Spanish. After him was an elderly man of 80 plus years who knew only Nahuatl. However, this did not hinder the message in any way, for what he said was translated to Spanish by Nicolás, and then brother Jesús translated into English. It was quite interesting to observe this process, and I was glad I didn’t have to rely on too much filtering. After that a monolingual Aztec lady came up and spoke to us; all of these thanked us for coming and gave us much encouragement.

A meal followed, with the regular fare. We ate in their old building, which was built on a higher level than the old one. It’s a smaller building, and one reason for its abandonment was foundation problems. It served us well as a fellowship hall, however! Read More