Friday, June 27, 2008

Monthly Meetings

women in quiniatlaThe Mission team from Rio Blanco normally goes to the mountains 6 days a week to conduct Bible studies or evangelism among the Indigenous people in the Sierra de Zongolica mountain range.

Beginning in May, they have meetings for the different age groups every Saturday. Every month there is one meeting on any given weekend. One week is for women, another for men, another for the youth and the fourth is for married couples. They do this every month until sometime in October or November. Every week they have the meeting in a different town. Here is a picture of a women's meeting in Quiniatla. It is an agricultural town located in a steep valley nestled between two mountains. Most of the people farm coffee and bananas or are carpenters who make furniture.

When they have a meeting in a particular town, the Christians who live there are responsible to provide a place to meet and some kind of refreshment for the believers from the different towns. This is a great show of hospitality. Often times they will put a lot of money toward providing food for everyone to eat. Sometimes if there is only one family in the area that they are having the meeting, there will be a lighter snack instead of a meal. Nevertheless, the believers go to great lengths to provide what they are able to for others to enjoy.

In order for the meetings to take place on Saturday, the missionaries must wake up early in the morning and gas-up the trucks to go to the different villages to pick up the people. There is about 3 or 4 different directions that they have to go and this ends up costing a lot of money on gas and often times the trucks are loaded down beyond capacity as people pile on the small vehicles. The women's meetings are especially large because more of them go to them and they sometimes bring their kids. I remember several times where the women would be bouncing around in the back of a borrowed pick-up truck with their children.

The definition of comfort there and here is like night and day. I remember complaining silently that I had to sit on the floor or that my back was hurting from all that jumping around. I think we are spoiled here most of the time. Our roads are great and we have much newer and comfortable vehicles to ride around in. Most of the time we have only 1 or 2 persons riding in them. Whenever you see a truck in the mountains it will usually be loaded down with people because there are much fewer vehicles than people.

The meetings usually begin with prayer followed by singing and announcements for the next meeting or to discuss business. They introduce the speaker and they talk for about an hour. They always have a special speaker for these meetings and usually it is someone from the church in Rio Blanco. After the meeting, they eat and then take everyone home. This is usually a long day with the missionaries arriving back at their homes/lodging close to midnight.

men in tlaquilpa
Men's Meeting in Tlaquilpa

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