Just 250 miles south of the New Mexico border, deep in the Copper Canyon of Mexico is an unreached people group called the Tarahumara. They are an animistic, indigenous people of Mexico who are scattered throughout the canyon numbering well over 200,000. They gather in pueblos of 20-100 families that live off of corn and beans that they cultivate from the land. Their crops are generally very meager at best and so the health of the Tarahumara is relatively poor. As a God seeking people their form of religion includes fiestas where animal sacrifices are made in ceremonious style and dress. The earth, corn, and bean are objects of worship and the use of tesquino, an alcoholic beer made of corn, is consumed to excess during these fiestas. The influence of Catholicism can be seen in many of their practices and stories as well. Largely, illiterate, they are an oral culture in which their history and mythlogy is handed down through the generations.
Our mission of reaching the Tarahumara with the gospel of Jesus Christ began in 2007 with a medical outreach in Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. Learning some of the customs and language is a challenge as the world view of the Tarahumara is vastly different than our own. But we believe the Lord has given us a mandate to continue in learning about and reaching out to the Tarahumara. Several mission trips are made each year to La Mesa, our primary mission center in the Canyon, to meet medical needs and provide food for the village. We support an indigenous pastor and his family who have assimilated into the community and live in the village most of the year guiding the church plant and bartering goods in order to meet the needs of the people in a way that honors their culture.
Our first church plant in La Mesa now has over 100 members attending from villages as far away as 20 miles. We have built a church building for them to gather in as well as a house for the missionary and his family, and a cocina (kitchen) in order to feed the body of Christ after the church services. Many of the believers walk long distances to attend church services and part of our ministry is to meet the need of hunger when they come.
Recently, the Lord led us to our 2nd church plant in a village about 3 hours from La Mesa. This pueblo had heard about our ministry in La Mesa and began to speak to the missionary about the possibility of our planting a church in their village. They are very receptive to our groups, and on our recent first journey to El Rancho we saw a very deep interest in the gospel message. We are very excited about the potential of planting yet another church among the Tarahumara in El Rancho.
We also continue to participate in an annual medical outreach in the city of Cuauhtémoc; this outreach involves both a medical outreach and a meal ministry as we often prepare and serve upwards of 1500 meals twice a day for a 4 day period. There is also ample opportunity for us to share Jesus during our time of this medical and meal ministry. WE typically have local church and local Christian participants in these outreach opportunities.
If you would like to be part of a ministry that is focused on church planting among the Tarahumara, by taking a short term trip, by supporting our missionaries, by serving in Care-teams, or through financial donations please contact Dan Lutz at the church 896-2990