Investigating Chiapas

Last week, Dave and I traveled into the neighboring Chiapas state. As I sat down to write about this intense trip, I realized that it was too much to cram into a single post, so I have broken it down into bite-sized segments. Our purpose in Chiapas included teaching Spanish-speaking believers how to make disciples, mobilizing future missionaries, and assessing the Evangelical Christian movement among indigenous people groups within the far reaches of the state; the Lord allowed us to accomplish much, safely, and in a relatively short amount of time. After a ten-hour overnight bus ride from Oaxaca, we arrived at our first destination, Pijijiapan, a sweltering coastal town of about 50,000 and the site of a growing yet fragile Evangelical Christian movement. Our purpose here was to conduct discipleship training to a group of about 100 believers from throughout Chiapas state. In the process we had the opportunity to help encourage and instill in them vision to go as missionaries to unreached people groups around the world. Being based in the world’s most populous Spanish-speaking country gives us a unique advantage for missionary mobilization efforts among Latin Americans that we may not otherwise have elsewhere. Our strong emphasis on accurate, field-based people group research from around the world enables us to clearly communicate actual missionary sending needs. Events such as this in Pijijiapan are where it all comes together. The discipleship training was followed by a time of intense prayer, worship, and a ceremony complete with flags and ethnic garb in recognition of the many thousands of unreached “nations”, or people groups who, 2000 years after our Lord Jesus walked the earth, do not have so much as a single Gospel available in their language. Several missionary candidates left this event later that evening deeply burdened to translate Bibles and plant churches in multiple countries ranging from China to India. From my experience among most Latin American missionary candidates is that they are deadly serious about the Great Commission. This group of candidates, spanning an age range of 10 to 60, are even now making whatever preparations necessary to answer our Lord’s command to “therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…” – Matthew 20:19.

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