We have returned from our trip to a few small villages in the state of Puebla! It was an amazing trip, filled with so much movement from the Holy Spirit, coffee, piloncillo, food, and of course, more
food! We are able to come along side one of our YWAM Mazatlan teams and their leaders, to encourage and work with them in these villages. We had built relationships with the majority of the team before they left on outreach; either at our early mornings in our home, during our Thursday ministry times at EL Recreo or one special friend, when on our own DTS outreach met him in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, he came with us to the village of Atatlahuca, Oaxaca (and is now completing his own DTS outreach!!)! Our Father blessed us with the ability to continue building relationships with these young people as well as giving us words of encouragement for each of them all to finish off the last half of their outreach! The Lord is amazing in how He brings people into our lives again and again!
We arrived in
Mexico City and we were picked up by at the team's parents, we then drove to the city of Puebla to pick up the Engage an Impact team then we all headed to Atla, Puebla! The mountains were simply breathtaking. The small villages and towns we drove through made us want to make
another road trip but next time with a truck to purchase some of the beautiful furniture, plants, dishes and all sorts we viewed as we drove through! The people group we were visiting with were the Nahuatl (Na-wa-tel)
We arrived late at night to the village church where we had a short time of worship and met a few of the families we would get to know over the following 2 weeks. Dennis, and I with the team then made our way to the house of Florencia, Ivan & Diane, where we were greeted with coffee and pan dulce (sweet bread) - which we would continue to enjoy every morning, as it was baked fresh daily at a local Panadería (bakery).
Our days were typically spent doing house visits with the people of the local churches in Atla and nearby Xolotla (show-lote-a-la). The churches there have no pastor at the moment and are struggling, with things like gossip, unforgiveness, unbelief of Jesus being able to transform lives and that He is The One True God. So the outreach team went to give encouragement to the church and its people. We prayed for the homes we visited and we prayed for the churches. We walked though the villages and shared Jesus, we had times of evangelism. We saw the Holy Spirit move through the streets, homes and lives of people as we walked.
There is a great spiritual warfare going on in these villages due to their past being rooted in an animistic world view. There are so many idols and altars from past churches and religions, there is witchcraft, there is fear and it is palpable. The idols and altars all over the villages, the roads, the houses, people are wearing them, they are everywhere.
We were also in Atla for Día de los Muertos (Day of the dead), it was a very heavy couple of days, as there were always fireworks (think shotgun or canon type of noise). The walkways to homes were decorated with marigold petals so the dead would find their way home, there were large flower arrangements and shrines set up in front of the houses. The banging noise of the fireworks, there was music blaring from large speakers from homes, and this was all mixed with dogs barking continually and it generally started at 3 a.m.
Dennis and I were able to meet with a few small farmers to talk about holistic changes they could try with their gardens and coffee trees. One gentleman, Manuel, was absolutely tickled to share his coffee production and explanation of how they make piloncillo (the raw form of sugar cane, used in coffee and other beverages and desserts).
We spent lots of time with the family who hosted us, laughing, talking, praying, singing, helping around their yard and home. We enjoyed meals, devotions and talks about their family culture and village. It was such a beautifully sweet time. We were sad to leave not jus the village but the team who was there as well, but we had other obligations to attend to when we got back to Mazatlan! So we now look forward to when we can return to visit Atal again and sit around the table with Flornencia, Ivan and Diane!