Thursday, June 19, 2008

Medical/Dental Clinic in Jicaral

From May 25-June 5 I was with a team as part of our training at the CPCP(Center for Pioneer Church Planting) with TETM(To Every Tribe Ministries). The purpose of the trip was to do a Medical/Dental clinic in Jicaral, a village in Oaxaca, Mexico deep into the mountains. This was the first opportunity for the students to put the basic dentistry training to practice. It was a bit harder to do a filling on a squirming 5 year old than it was with the maniquine in class!
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!
Our training will be done in August and then we will be doing some travelling to raise support for our long term plans in Papua New Guinea! Lord willing, most of our time this fall will be spent travelling in the midwest.

On the way down to southern Mexico we had engine trouble that delayed us 2.5 days, just long enough to meet a fellow missionary that has experience in church planting among unreached peoples and is also interested in the Coicoyan people!

We had a doctor from Mexico (Alexandra) and a nurse from Canada(Kathy). North America was well represented on this trip.

It was great to have Gerry, our dental instructor, along on the trip. He stayed busy doing extractions all day.

Josef and Lina Urban, missionaries from northern Mexico joined us for the trip. Their boldness with the gospel was encouraging. They're looking to move to southern Mexico to work.