I waved to a friend in the village to which she responded, “That is the way they say we should greet now, don’t they?”
“They” are the village authorities. Just last week, for the first time, they announced on a loudspeaker in the Nahuatl language telling the community about the virus. Included in these warnings were the words, “And don’t go down to the city, any city”.
Yet the city is coming to the village, by the hundreds and thousands. So many indigenous people are out of work in urban areas that they are packing up and heading for the hills to their rural homes. The virus contracted in the city is now spreading rurally. There are thousands of other families that are now seeing the end of their corn crops. Currently people are planting new crops that will not be ready for harvest until late fall. Every grain is precious. None is let fall on the ground.
Merchants are beginning to gouge the people with exorbitant prices.
When the volcano Chichonal erupted in 1982 in Chiapas, Mexico, we brought in truckloads of grain, paid for the freight out of our own pockets and sold the corn at cost. That forced the angry merchants who were way overcharging to lower their prices. How true the proverb is: “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.” Proverbs 11:1
People need to live, share and keep a watch so that ugly greed will not sneak up in times of scarcity. This is when the “me and mine” attitude grips and desperation makes one grab for all one can personally get. Mexico is behind on protocols and action as compared to other countries. We are trying to get loads of beans and rice to share in the mountains. Already there are shortages of these staples. This is of immediate concern to us. We are asking for wisdom to do our work as the Lord would direct.
The governmental directive of groups of 50 or less means that the last two Sundays believers have met in small groups in various homes. We visited each one and the leaders were beaming at the enthusiasm and the participation in the Word even of those who are normally quiet. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13
The words of Scripture were leaping out at them as faith was growing in them while they shared. Tollan, a young leader in the church, told his family he would be having a time of praise to God and study of the Scriptures in his home. To his amazement, his grandfather, a man who has mocked and shunned Christians and who kept his wife from coming to worship for decades, walked in the room and quietly sat down. Tollan’s heart burst for joy! He told Denise, “I feel part of the family. I feel accepted. I never thought this would happen in my life!”
Yes, fear is gripping some, but God’s Word and God’s people are in overdrive to trust the Lord in these circumstances. They are in high gear to help the less fortunate (yes, even in villages there are the “haves and have-nots”). They want to be an example of the Believer to the unsaved in their families and towns by word and deed in real time. For this we lift our hands in praise to our God in heaven!
We are in touch with our family. How sweet for us to see, by video, three of our young grandchildren celebrating church at home during this quarantine time. Two strummed small ukeleles for worship and the third, who is learning to read, looked at her little Bible and pronounced slowly and reverently “God…is…our…refuge”.
We ask special prayer for our son Erik who is in Iraq under some trying conditions. Please pray that if it is the Lord’s will he could leave and come home for a time.
Our daughter Rebeca is due to be married here in Mexico in May. We are delighted for her and the man God has chosen for her. We have been blessed to see their patience, trust and confidence that God will show them what to do in light of these changing times.
God encourages us daily. A recent sermon has stirred our hearts. Pastor Philip Miller said:
“In this time of social distancing, separate and cloistered as we are, we dare not distance ourselves from the Great Commission Jesus gave us.
There is still grace to share
There is still compassion to unleash
There is still kindness to offer
There is still hope to extend
There is still love to give
There is still freedom to proclaim
There is still good news of great joy that will be for all peoples.”
Amen and Amen.
Thank you for your prayers for us, for the work here and for our family.
Our prayers are also for you, especially at this critical time in your personal history with God and in this world,
Ed and Denise