I sat with my friend, exhausted from a long day mixing cement and carrying buckets of it to make the footings for his house as the sun set outside a store in Juquila. We sat there reflecting on all of our hard work and our sore muscles. As we sipped our cokes my friend Tadeo began to share a story of an incident that happened to him a few months ago. He suffered an attack at another job site when a person clubbed him over the head with a 4×4 post almost killing him. He called me to pick him up at the site in a village about two hours away. He opened up to me months later about the truth behind the attack. He explained that others were jealous of his work ethic and how the crew bosses were giving him more responsibility. The attack was based on jealousy and drunken rage. Tadeo the told me that since he met me and we had become friends, his perspective on life had changed. He began to care more about his family and his own life. He saw how my family lived and how I loved and supported Eunice. He said that he wanted that kind of life, and now that he met me he knew it was a possibility. He acknowledged that life was going to be hard trying to make a better life for himself and his family with all of the negative influences in the village, but was thankful that he had me as a friend to guide him through the tough times. We were just two tough guys exhausted and almost in tears sharing a moment that neither of us expected.
Our time in Juquila has been one of struggle and success. The clinic has helped hundreds of people from several villages, but we haven’t seen the fruit of a new spiritual awakening in Juquila. Eunice and I have always believed in our plan to evangelize Juquila knowing that it was going to take years. Through the months we have struggled with doubt about our plan, was it going too slow? But that night, sitting with Tadeo, God showed me that His love is being shown, shared and received. As I close in on ten years in the field I have seen churches form in small indigenous villages, but all are devoid of young adult males. They are the life blood to a healthy, growing and reproducing indigenous church. They are also the hardest to reach. If a young church is filled with only women and children the new religion is for women and children exclusively. I have heard many men over the years say that church is fine for their wives but they don’t need anything from that feminine God. Tadeo shared with me that night that he trusts me to guide him, and show him a Godly path. Eunice and I have suffered through time and doubt, but we are now seeing signs of fruit, of progress. I am so thankful that we are given the time needed to develop relationships that will be the fertile soil for a healthy church in Juquila. Each one of you who read this letter are a part of the work going on here. God is good and to Him be the glory.
We are so excited to see you in these coming months. We are ready for some time to share and be encouraged by you. We are ready to recharge our batteries. Please pray for our travel plans and our scheduling while in the U.S. Also, pray for Ian’s Mexican passport, we have had a difficult time getting it (I will explain when we meet in person). There is one more note of business, we are joining a mission agency called CTEN (commission to every nation). They will help with our tax receipts and receive all of our support. They have a website www.cten.org where you will soon be able to donate to our ministry online. We are in the process of getting everything setup and hope to have everything fully functional by August. Feel free to check out the website and see what they are all about. As for us we will be doing what we have always done. Thank you all for your support and we look forward to seeing you soon. God bless us all!
Until we see one another again,
Phil, Eunice and Ian
Phil Raiford firstname.lastname@example.org Friedberg Moravian Church 2178 Friedberg Church Road Winston-Salem, NC 27127
Facebook: Indigenous Mission Today