28 Jan 2008
The rugged Mixteca Mountains of southern Mexico is the birthplace of a great and noble people. Even before the Mayans … before the Aztecs, … there were the Mixteco people. Some say that in the misty beginning of time, … gods planted trees along the River of Lineage. It was from these majestic trees, … these holy trees … that the Mixteco nation came into being. Others say that the people did not come from the trees but … instead … the gods molded them from ears of corn and eventually these men of corn populated the world.
In reality, the Mixteco people became one of the major civilizations of Mesoamerica. The Aztecs finally conquered them about 30 years prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Eventually, the Spanish subdued them; nevertheless, they hung onto much of their original culture and traditions. Today, the Mixteco people claim allegiance to the Catholic Church but still practice many of their pagan beliefs. They have also retained their original language with over 50 dialects spoken today.
people have migrated throughout the Americas but most live in southern
Mexico mainly in the State of Oaxaca. Thousands continue to
migrate to the United States for work. Today, the Mixteco
population totals about 400,000.
Much of the farm work is
done by hand. Typically, the hired hands receive less than $5 a day for
their efforts. In order to earn more money, many men work in the
United States and Canada as well as other parts of Mexico. Families
left at home wait in line at the bank to receive the money wired to
them. This income is important since it represents a large portion of
the local economy. Some purchase a
vehicle in the United States and drive back to Mexico retaining the
original license plate for many years.
Most of the residents, ... as well as the visitors, ... to the large city of Tlaxiaco are Mixtecos. The zocalo is where many come to shop, sell food and handcrafts, or perhaps to visit with their friends. The Mixteco women make beautiful hand-embroidered blouses and skirts. Many hours are spent in creating these garments for themselves as well as to sell to others. On the other hand, the Trique Indians, … who also live in the area, … wear colorful pink and white dresses.
Superstition and the Catholic Church are intertwined to make the tightly held and strongly defended belief system for the Mixteco. The Santo Niño, the Holy Child, exemplifies the pervasive mixing of superstition and Christianity. During this festival time, dolls are dressed in colorful costumes and brought to the Catholic priest for special blessings. These dolls, … in some way, … are representative of the baby Jesus. It is thought that those who pray to a sanctified doll will receive good fortune.
The Catholic Church has
a very strong hold on the people. Inside the church, the statues and
paintings conjure up a strong emotional and sacrificial appeal to the
worshippers. This domination by the Catholic Church has been
perpetuated through the centuries and has an almost unbreakable hold on
the Mixteco people. This tightly held bond makes it very
difficult for missionaries representing evangelical Christians to
develop trust and friendships with the residents. Helping to meet
physical needs through training in better farming practices has proven
to be a successful venue in reaching out to the people.
among the Mixteco people are few. Some have been in existence
for many years but growth is slow because of the difficulty in getting
younger believers to make the commitment to serve in a leadership
· Pray for the breaking of the bonds of superstition and Catholic tradition among the Mixteco People.
Overlay: Break Bonds of Superstition and Tradition
· Pray for strong and courageous men of faith that can be taught to train new leaders.
Overlay: New Leaders
· Pray that churches will be planted and that they will multiply among the Mixteco People.
Overlay: Every believer a trainer. Every home a church
Closing scene – Philippe and Jim walking off together
Overlay: Pray as we build personal relationships
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