28 Jan 2008
This video will begin with Thurman speaking as we look over the town of San Jeronimo. He tells the story of the day in the early 70s when a small plane flew over the village and dropped gospel tracts and so forth. (Approx. 70 seconds in length)
The homeland of the Mazateco People is in the rugged Sierra Madres of southern Mexico. Catholic churches abound in this area. Some of these churches are centuries old but all are the towns central focus. Inside homes, as well as in the churches, religious symbolism is pervasive. Parades on Good Friday and Palm Sunday involve entire villages carrying palm leaves and other green vegetation to be used in the celebration. Funerals with mourners carrying small crosses are common. Statues and paintings of Mary the mother of Jesus and the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Mexican Mary, are in roadside shrines and churches. In some homes the Virgin of Guadalupe shares the spotlight along with feathers, candles, chicken feet and other witchcraft items. Other prominent symbols of superstition include plastic bottles to prevent lightning strikes and an over abundance of scarecrows in the fields. The culture is permeated by centuries of indoctrination in Catholic rituals and pagan gods.
Along the main street in the town of San Antonio is the John 3:16 Baptist Church. Most people, as they walk by, ignore its presence. Nevertheless, like the little plane that dropped tracks of the Gospel of John, this church is reaching out into the homes and communities of these mountains. The paths are sometimes difficult to travel. They may take sharp turns and get ever smaller and more difficult to follow. The destination, however, is what matters. Here in a small concrete block home with dirt floors, Jesus is praised and the Gospel is taught. The songs are in Spanish but the pastor preaches in their native Mazateco language and dialect.
On camera singing and preaching
On another day, across the creek and up the hill is a home made of mud and sticks. It too has a dirt floor. The small living room of this humble home is filled with people wanting to hear more about Jesus and with people praying and singing praises. Here, too, they learn about the Good News in their own heart language.
Along another busy street in this same town is a bright yellow building. The bottom floor is a restaurant. The church meets on the top floor.
Walking great distances over difficult terrain is not a problem for the Mazatecos. It is a mile hike down a steep hill to the large recently completed El Campamento Eden training facility. It is located on a small patch of level ground near a free flowing stream. The only way in or out is by foot or by donkey. .
Inside the facility, a small generator powers the lights and the refrigerator. It also powers the projector and sound equipment which is used to show the Jesus movie and other Christian videos. The two wings of the building are dormitories for 40 people each with bathrooms complete with toilets and running water. The auditorium is spacious with room for 300 or more people.
These videos were taken in March of 2004 and, even before completion, the building was used for training Mazateco pastors and lay people. It was first used during Easter week of 2002 with more than 150 people in attendance and dedicated Easter week 2003.
It took two years to complete this facility and it was done entirely by volunteer labor. A total of 14 teams from the United States contributed to the construction as they worked side by side with local believers in this labor of love.
The hope for the future of the Mazatecos of today lies with the few dedicated people who have set a goal of having a church with trained leaders in every village by the year 2010.
This is a God sized task that can only be accomplished by the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit as He leads dedicated people to unselfishly give their lives to His service.
PRAY FOR THE MAZATECOS
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