Building long-term relationships of trust is crucial for sharing the Gospel in rural areas of Mexico, and for that local missionaries rely on personal interaction – the very thing the coronavirus pandemic curtails.
Travel restrictions are enforced by local authorities and, in some areas, also by ordinary villagers. They limit not only large gatherings but home visits.
“Some of the towns have taken some health and surveillance measures due to the coronavirus issue, and that has limited the mobility of several of our workers,” the leader of a native ministry said.
“Indigenous people being of oral tradition, our ministry is developed mainly through home visits. Interpersonal relationships are of the utmost importance, so being limited in making visits has become an obstacle to overcome.”
Local missionaries invest years living among indigenous people in their villages in order to gain enough trust to share the Gospel. Some workers have actually benefited from being “locked down” among those they’re serving, and their determination to remain in troubled areas has further cemented trust.
“The towns that are kept very closed and in confinement coexist freely among themselves, which gives our missionaries great opportunities,” the ministry leader said. “And people very much appreciate seeing that our missionaries sacrifice and stay with them, even though they have the opportunity to simply leave the community and go to their cities of origin in these delicate times – there are even some towns in the middle of armed conflicts, and our missionaries have remained.”
Many doors have been opened for the Gospel since local missionaries have remained with villagers through difficult times, the leader said. In spite of pandemic restrictions, workers have formed three new groups of disciples in once unreached villages.
In three other unreached villages, local missionaries have initiated contact with indigenous people through mutual friends, opening the possibility of workers to one day settle among them, the leader said.
“A family from our team is visiting some families from an ethnic group that historically has been very resistant to the Gospel,” the leader said. “There is a family from that village that has expressed desire to follow the Lord; the only thing that stops them is the social pressure they feel from their community. We will continue working and praying for God to break down those barriers.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Mission New Network, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray God will break down social barriers so the family from an unreached ethnic group can find salvation in Christ.
- Bible translations enable the indigenous church to grow stronger and redeem local cultures. Pray that translations of the Word would help bring faith that preserves the beauty of tribal cultures while redeeming them for God’s glory.