The medical and dental clinics have been a great avenue for building relationships with the people for the purpose of sharing the gospel. The language spoken by the Coicoyan people of Jicaral is a form of Mixteco. In order to communicate we usually needed double translation from English to Spanish to Mixteco. The longer we were there the more we found that the people can understand Spanish but aren't very quick to speak it.
In the past, the people of Jicaral have been wary of outside influence as remote villages often are. In particular they have been resistant to the gospel. Several years ago a Mexican church planter was run out of the area. When some of the villagers found out where he lived they went to find him. He wasn't home but his wife was and they slit her throat. Because of the dangers the TETM trips have used a team approach and have focused on using the medical and dental clinics to gain the people's trust.
Slowly the receptivity has increased over the past 5+ years as teams have gone in. This year the people seemed to be comfortable with us being there. We were able to play soccer with the kids, speak to several of the parents about the gospel(while their children were receiving fluoride treatments), and even hold their babies! The response to the gospel was one of indifference, but we are praying that that will change.
Before we left the leader of the village asked us several times about sending an English teacher for their school! This may be an opportunity for the beginning of a church planting team among the Coicoyan people. Would you pray that the details would come together for a team to be able to live there permanently? There is also one known Coicoyan believer who lives about a four hour drive away who is interested in helping planting a church among his people. Ask the Lord to give him the courage to follow the Spirit's leading in spite of cultural pressure against it.
Here are a few pics of the trip. Enjoy and keep praying for us!
We had a doctor from Mexico (Alexandra) and a nurse from Canada(Kathy). North America was well represented on this trip.