Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

Mission News

Written by Mary Overduin
Language Studies
Since a few months ago I started with a FARO route, like I did in Costa Rica. I am able to use the stories I used there, but have to make them quite a bit shorter as it is much harder to memorize the Achi language. I have found a beautiful spot by a river about one-half hour walk from here. Now I combine the walk and the memorization. I memorize as I walk and then spend another half-hour by the river. Sometimes people stop and ask what I am doing and I try to say a few sentences in Achi. As Lydia (Mary's helper) was unable to work for me for several months due to school activities, I started by Bible reading in Achi with Abelino, the gardener. Now, since about three weeks, we are also asking each other questions in Achi, about one-half hour per day. Pretty well everything I ask has to be corrected, but I find I am beginning to understand a bit more of what he says. It does, however, go very slowly, and sometimes I do get a bit discouraged. As everyone around here says, I am learning "poco a poco"--bit by bit.

Bible Studies
I still have two Bible study groups... For the time being I have stopped with the Gospel of John, as the discourses were too difficult for them, largely because of the language problem... Whenever possible I take along a picture of the story I am teaching, for example this week it was about the parable of the Good Samaritan, and I had a picture of the robbers as well as the Good Samaritan. This seems to help quite a bit. There is usually a lively discussion among themselves in Achi and often some questions are asked afterwards. I always write down the verses we read and then they ask Santiago or one of the others who can read, to read it for them again later. At the class we listen to Bible portions in Achi before and again after the Bible study. Most of the time they can tell me the next week what we talked about the week before.

Sunday Services and Sunday School
We still have our services on the porch. When all the people are here it is almost too small and we are presently looking for a place that we can use as a church... A well-known witch doctor and his family have started to attend our services... Do pray for them that they may come to a true saving faith and turn away from their old evil way of life. The Sunday school class has become quite a bit smaller... Attendance now ranges between eight to fifteen children. They continue to enjoy the colouring after the class.

Other Activities
In October I went along with the Herfst family and the Westeringh family from British Columbia to visit the Bridge project in Chitomax, an aldea far in the mountains. We were able to go part of the way by car and then it was walking (climbing) for more than two hours. We took along two mules and, yes, I did have my first real mule ride! ... In September I started with a "story-time class" for the older children of the Sunday school. I first read a chapter from the book "Leading Little Ones to God" and then from a story book. It is, however, quite difficult to find good Christian books for children in the Spanish language. With the help of someone from Grand Rapids we have now found a few. If anyone knows of any, please let me know.

We still have our Friday evening services at Santiago's house every other week. Especially the children know pretty well all the Achi songs by memory! They love to sing.

Ken [Herfst] still continues to teach the Bible School... Last week I started teaching this same course to a young woman, Juliana, who comes to our services every other week. She lives in a distant aldea and only comes to Cubulco every other weekend. She can read Spanish fairly well. We start by discussing a lesson from a booklet on Bible doctrines and then do a lesson from the book... All the answers are given at the end of the lesson and she has to check each answer before going on to the next. For us it seems quite simple, but for them it is all new and it will take her a few lessons to catch on. The lessons gradually become more difficult...

There do not seem to be enough hours in the week to get everything done that needs doing... By the beginning of August the condition of my arm worsened to the point where I was once again having much pain; it was more swollen and stiff. I can thankfully say that now, with medication, hot water compresses as well as exercise, curbing some activities [typing only short periods of time], there is quite a bit of improvement, at least the pain is much less and it is also less stiff.

Thanks to everyone for the cards, letters and even some phone calls that I received for my birthday. As always it was much appreciated. Due to the problem with my hand it is more difficult to answer letters personally, so I hope this will answer your questions. At this time of year I would like to wish you all a blessed Christmas and New Year. May you all experience the love of Christ and the peace that is to be found only in Him,

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