July 3 2013
Nayarit mission reflections:
The recent mission outreach to the Cora people in Cangrejo with Jay Tenbrink, Pastor Hector, Mark Hoffschnieder, and group of faithful men was spiritually awakening. The following thoughts are reflections on the opportunity to continue to prayerfully grow the ministry to the Cora. Although not much went as planned on the trip, it did provide a revealing contrast of both the opportunities and obstacles facing the Cora in these times. Although there appear to be gains in infrastructure such as the access road to the village, the new irrigation dam, advances in public education; they are more than offset by marginal employment, low income, out migration of educated youth, seasonal worker out migration, alcohol abuse, violence, and family disintegration.
Need - The Cora Indigenous People are numbered approximately 25,000 in the mountain areas of Nayarit Mexico. They are an unreached people, although well exposed to the presence of Catholic tradition. The Cora are a proud independent people living in tribal settings as survival agriculturists without an advanced economy. Their faith is animistic with Catholic influence. The Cora traditions and culture are experiencing a great deal of pressure from the outside world creating alcoholism, family strife, exiting youth, and a powerful drug counter culture among many other cultural stresses.
Short term goal - to share the love of Christ in word and action leading to personal relationships in Jesus Christ on the part of Cora individuals and families.
Long term goal - to build self sustaining communities of Christian believers living in the Cora Culture, to protect and preserve their culture, and enhance their economic well being as is possible.
Process- establish trust and relationships with leaders and people within the Cora Nations by learning in depth their culture and ways, engage with them as grace filled living examples and create a desire to receive and live the teachings of Jesus. We will look for opportunities to engage with willing individuals and families by focusing on ways to create a personal relationship of trust:
- seek to define needs and assist as possible - for example with economic improvement in agricultural production - by sharing knowledge, techniques, and engaging in projects that will benefit the community at large through increased crop production.
- assisting with physical needs such as dental, vision, medical care as possible
- encourage further development of the marketing of local artisan products.
- establish faith based nurture for those struggling with alcohol, family violence, etc.
- connect believer groups and communities to facilitate a network of support and encouragement
- organize support groups for youth, women, economic development as possible in the culture
Application – The journey of building trust will take time. We have talked about the New Tribes approach of community understanding with the intention of frequent learning visits for a year or so, then moving a family or small group into the community as allies in resource, with the purpose of developing deeper relationships and local leadership. The intention being to honor the existing culture while creating a foundation upon which to build new sustaining strength in Christ.
Support- The opportunity to reach out to the Cora is completely dependent upon authorization from the Tribal Elder Council. The work of Padre Pascual Rosales over the past 40 + years and his encouragement of Jay Tenbrink and Cristiano Centro has created this opportunity to share Christ in the La Mesa Cora culture. Prayer is a constant need. Church networks, financial resources, teaching and training models are all integral to the success of the project. As the vision for this work is revealed the details will be set forth. Our immediate prayer is for discernment and direction, that the Lord will bring many to assist with this season of planting for harvest.