Oaxaca

A 2013 of God-given historic proportions

“The kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.” (Matthew 11:12) (HCSB)

2013. Momentum. Excitement. Heightened anticipation. Those are words describing the beginning of the year for To Every Tribe. To Every Tribe has momentum. Christ provided His mission with more than $490,000 in the purchase of 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend. There is much excitement about what God is going to do at Chachalaca Bend through missionaries who will be trained and sent to unreached people around the globe. Our anticipation of what Christ will do next through His people for his mission has been heightened by all the great things God has done for us in just the past year.

2012 – LOOKING BACK

To Every Tribe begins 2013 with hands held high in praise and hearts full of gratitude for Christ, his mission, and his work among his people! Here are our hand-picked top five things that God has been doing down in South Texas over the past year:

1. Largest attended Open House with Adoption of Village Q in Oaxaca, Mexico

2. Construction Begins on first Missionary Home in Goroka, Papua New Guinea

3. First 4 missionaries graduate from the 2-year program of the Center for Pioneer Church Planting

4. Record enrollment of 26 in the Center for Pioneer Church Planting

5. God provided over $490,000 of $1.85M, and we closed on the property at Chachalaca Bend

2013 – LOOKING FORWARD

Grateful for what God has already done, we are asking Him to accomplish the following through To Every Tribe in 2013:

1. Seek to develop and identify 2 complete missionary teams for Papua New Guinea, and expand to a potential of 3 teams for Mexico

2. Send workers to PNG to finish the house project in Goroka, and develop a construction and funding plan for the next missionary house

3. Realign and establish To Every Tribe for the next stages of growth and development in mobilizing the church, training disciple-makers, and sending missionary teams

4. Pursue a partnership with new local churches to expand the reach of Ekballo prayer, sending missionaries, and generous giving to the mission of the gospel to unreached people groups

5. Ask God and his people to provide over $1.35 million needed to purchase the 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend so that To Every Tribe will be debt free by 2014

6. Implement a strategic master plan for future training and sending from Chachalaca Bend

THE CHALLENGE

David Sitton, President of To Every Tribe, began the 2013 Open House at Chachalaca Bend with this challenge from Matthew 11:12: “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” (NIV) Christ, The Forceful Man who won the kingdom through His death and resurrection, is advancing his kingdom through “forceful” disciples willing to lay it all on the line for the gospel. Whether staying home in order to send or going as the sent, followers of Jesus have a responsibility to His mission of advancing the kingdom through a violent faith willing to do “whatever” for the gospel.

We are running headlong toward the challenges that lay before us in 2013 as Christ advances His kingdom through His people. Matthew 11:12 reminds us that Christ’s mission is a violent mission. 344 years ago, the Puritan preacher Thomas Watson noted, “The kingdom of heaven will not be taken without violence. The violent take it by force. The earth is inherited by the meek (Matthew 5:5.) Heaven is inherited by the violent. Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way…the right way to take heaven is by storm; or thus, none get into heaven but violent ones.”

The advance of Christ’s kingdom through To Every Tribe will not be without a violent faith, with war being waged against anything that would present itself in opposition to the gospel. This includes violence against the desire for all the baubles that this world has to offer. Paraphrasing Watson, Christ’s mission is military. But we do not wage physical weapons aimed at physical violence. We do not offer a sword of death and oppression. We offer Christ and his gracious provision in the gospel. Our sword is the Word of Christ proclaimed to the unreached, those who have no access to the good news of Jesus. This war is waged by sacrificial proclamation, sacrificial praying, sacrificial serving, sacrificial sending, and sacrificial going to those who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are 3 billion unreached people on this planet. There are 3 billion reasons for a violent faith that takes heaven by storm.

OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE

We are eager to see what Christ will do through To Every Tribe in 2013. And there are many opportunities for you to participate with us in Christ’s mission.

1. First and foremost, you can pray that Christ will be honored and glorified through To Every Tribe in 2013, and that He will continue to use To Every Tribe to spread His name and His fame among those who have no access to the good news of Jesus.

2. Your help is needed in serving in many diverse areas of ministry.

3. Your gifts are needed to come alongside local churches in helping train and send more risk-taking followers of Jesus to some of the 3 billion people who will never hear the good news of Jesus unless we tell them. We still need $90,000 in order to have full ownership of the 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend. We need your help. Participate with us in propelling missionaries into the harvest from Chachalaca Bend by clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/givenowTETM

God-given historic proportions. 2013 is going to be a year unlike any other at To Every Tribe. We look forward to partnering with you in the gospel for the advance of the gospel and Christ’s kingdom! Pray for us. Partner with us. The gospel continues its advance in 2013 and we are excited Christ has included us in His mission, a mission fueled by violent faith that sacrifices all to take the kingdom for the sake of Christ.

To Every Tribe Adopts a New People Group in Oaxaca

David Sitton and AJ Gibson sign the “People Q” Adoption Covenant

Guest Post by Chris Johnson

To Every Tribe did an awesome and weighty thing on January 14!  During our 2012 Open House, To Every Tribe adopted an unreached people group in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico.  We first came into contact with this people group (named People Q for security reasons) during a 2011 scouting trip conducted by To Every Tribe missionaries. These same missionaries are now focusing on the People Q as the location for a church planting team.

People Q is the second group To Every Tribe has adopted in Oaxaca.  A To Every Tribe church planting team now lives in a village of the first people group. That team is in the process of learning both Spanish and the Indian dialect of the people, as well as acquiring cultural understanding.

During the adoption ceremony, a formal letter of commitment was signed by the President of To Every Tribe, David Sitton, and our Mexico Field Director, AJ Gibson.  AJ began the ceremony with an explanation of the people group adoption process.   Missionary Chris Johnson then explained how To Every Tribe came to discover and begin to develop relationships with People Q.  The ceremony ended with a wonderful time of prayer for People Q, for a team to go and give their lives to bring them the Gospel, and, no matter what the cost, for a church to be planted in this region of spiritual darkness.

To Every Tribe will continue get to know the People Q better through medical clinics we are planning for the village.   We pray for the People Q regularly: for God to open their eyes and save them, and to build His church in that mountainous area.  The formation of a team to reach the People Q is already in process.  Please pray for a team of church planters to become well-formed and quickly deployed to the village, for the glory of God and the advance of the gospel of Christ into this unreached region.

To Every Tribe did an awesome and weighty thing on January 14!  During our 2012 Open House, To Every Tribe adopted an unreached people group in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico!  This people group, named People Q for security reasons, was found by To Every Tribe missionaries during a scouting trip in 2011.  These same missionaries are now focusing on the People Q as the location for a church planting team.  This is the second people group To Every Tribe has adopted in Oaxaca, Mexico.  A team is already working in the first people group.
During the adoption ceremony, a formal letter of commitment was signed by the President of To Every Tribe, David Sitton, and our Mexico Field Director, AJ Gibson.  AJ began the ceremony with an explanation of adopting people groups.  Chris Johnson then explained how To Every Tribe came to find and begin to develop relationships with the village.  The ceremony ended with a wonderful time of prayer for People Q, for a team to go and give their lives to bring them Gospel, and, no matter what the cost, for a church to be planted in this region of spiritual darkness.
To Every Tribe will be getting to know the People Q better through medical clinics we plan and run in the area.  We also are praying for People Q regularly: for God to open their eyes and save them, and to build His church in that area.  The formation of a team to reach the People Q is already in process.  Please pray for a team to be fully formed, for work to begin in the village, and the door to be open for the team who goes to live among them.
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Report: CPCP Mission Trip to Oaxaca

Note: Because of security concerns and the searchability of the internet, complete names and locations are avoided in this report.

On November 8, eleven members of the To Every Tribe staff and CPCP student body left Los Fresnos, TX for a two-week trip to the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca (pronounced wuhhahkuh). We were accompanied by a dentist, a nurse, and one To Every Tribe missionary who was heading to Oaxaca to join his church planting team there. The purpose of our trip was to conduct four days of medical and dental clinics in the northwestern Oaxaca village of E.J. The trip to E.J. is just over 1,000 miles. Once in Oaxaca, we were joined by our church planting team, two Mexican doctors, and two Mixtecan interpreters who would help us bridge the language barrier between our team’s English and Spanish and E.J.’s Mixtecan dialect.

God’s hand of blessing upon us was evident from the first day that we left south Texas. The trip had been bathed in prayer and fasting. We were deeply aware of the dangers involved in traveling through Mexico, and had sought the Lord’s help in every facet of the trip. A caravan of three vehicles, a trailer, and 14 Americans traveling through Mexico attracts a good deal of attention. But God was gracious, and our trip both to and from Oaxaca was amazingly free of problems of any kind. Throughout the two weeks we could see a clear one-to-one correspondence between our specific prayer requests and the Lord’s intervention to answer those requests.

The main part of our journey to Oaxaca took three days, bringing us to our first major stop—the Oaxacan city where our church planting team is temporarily based. This city is located just 45 miles by road (18 miles as the crow flies) on the other side of the mountain from E.J. On the fourth day of our trip, we made the 5 hour journey over the mountain to E.J. This jaunt took us from 5,500 feet above sea level up and over the mountain’s 9,000 foot peak, and then back down to the 2,500 feet of E.J.

A Mixtec village of about 2,000 people, E.J. has been a ministry target of To Every Tribe for several years. As a ministry, we began to visit E.J. in 2003 and over the years have conducted 6 clinics there. The goal of each of these clinics has been to open doors for the future arrival of a To Every Tribe church planting team. This year’s clinic was especially important for us as we now have a church planting team preparing to move into the village within the next few months.

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Ministry in this village is particularly challenging. Access to the village from modern cities over the rugged mountains of Oaxaca is probably one of the lesser challenges. The vowel-abundant Mixtecan dialect spoken there sounds more like a southeast Asian language than Spanish. (Here’s an example of what Mixtec looks like in its written form: Á xîni-un ndáa ndo’ó kití kúú-a.) The life and culture of the Mixtec people seems foreign—even to those of us who feel very comfortable and “at home” in Mexican culture. The people seem distant, their faces hard and their eyes hollow. Their cold, dead-pan gazes seemed totally unresponsive to our smiles and greetings. It only took a few minutes in the village for us to realize that these are people whose lives are hard, who know little joy and peace, and who have no trust of outsiders.

Although there are doubtless numerous historical and cultural causes for this gloomy ethos, the spiritual factor is clearly the most prominent. Mexican Mixtec religion is syncretistic, blending elements of Catholicism and ancient Mixtec animism. Evidence of folk Catholicism mixed with the worship of deities from the local pantheon is abundant—from roadside shrines to the decoration of local graveyards to floral arrangements placed on the front of homes. E.J. still celebrates an elaborate annual ritual honoring “El Señor de la Lluvia” (the Rain God) which includes the building of an altar and the sacrifice of animals whose blood is thrown on the altar.

Undoubtedly the most important and striking fact about the religious life of this and the surrounding Mixtec villages is the total lack of any gospel witness. These Mixtec villagers, classified as “rural peasants” by the Mexican government, form a tribal community that is as “unreached” with the gospel as any other tribal community on any lesser developed continent in the world. What an incredible privilege to be part of bringing them the message of God’s love and grace!

As mentioned earlier, life in the Mixtec villages is hard. Agriculture is important, but difficult in the rugged mountain terrain. Employment is scarce, forcing many men to leave their families and villages to look for jobs in other areas such as Mexico City, Baja California, and the U.S. (southern California). In the 4 days that we were in E.J., I met several people who had been to the U.S. to work. Although the government has made significant steps to improve the livelihood of these people (roads and electricity have been introduced within the last decade), village life is still very dangerous and backward by modern standards. For example, the people still do not use outhouses—facilities are “open air” (which contributes to an abundance of problems with intestinal worms).

Land wars with neighboring villages are a constant source of violence and conflict. Just last month a twelve-year-old boy from E.J. was killed by men from a neighboring village because his family’s corn patch was allegedly located on land controlled by that village. One evening halfway through our visit, two armed men came up to our camp to inform us that there would be some shooting that night down the mountain near the river that our hill overlooked. They said they just wanted to warn us so that we “wouldn’t be afraid” when we heard the gunshots. As predicted, we could hear multiple gunshots at night throughout the remainder of our stay—evidence of the ongoing land conflict that we’d stumbled upon.

Earning the trust and favor of people whose lives and histories are stained with violence and abuse is not easy. But on this trip, by God’s grace, we found the centuries-old barriers begin to tumble. After several years of conducting dental and medical clinics in the village it seems that we have finally “earned the right to be heard.” As the week progressed, we witnessed the people opening up and beginning to smile more and express confidence. Hundreds of personal interactions throughout the week between our team and the people we ministered to provided us with many opportunities to show God’s love in very tangible ways, even if we were generally unable to communicate to them in their own language. In the four days of the clinics, God gave us the grace to minister to over 500 people from E.J. and at least 6 other neighboring villages (one of which was located three hours away in the neighboring state of Guerrero).

God is good, and he is clearly at work in the region of E.J. to make his name and grace famous among people who for hundreds of years have lived with no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for To Every Tribe as we continue to work among the Mixtec people of northwestern Oaxaca. Pray for “fruit that remains” from our ministry these last two weeks in Oaxaca. And please pray for our church planting team as they seek to move into the village of E.J. within the next few months.

But God’s grace was not only at work in the lives of the villagers of E.J. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this trip was the work of grace that God was carrying out concurrently in the lives of our team. He worked powerfully in us, in some cases confirming our calling and commitment to pioneer church planting, in other cases awakening within us a specific burden for the unreached Mixtec tribes of Oaxaca. Only in eternity will we be able to see the long-term spiritual results of our humble efforts the last two weeks. Soli Deo Gloria.