“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.” Acts 13: 47-49 NIV
Though not all people in the Yucatan who hear the truth of the Gospel are glad…it is a commandment of our Lord that we bring salvation to the ends of the earth. When one considers a people group like the Mayans who have heard bits and pieces about many different gods and religions over the centuries, it is a privilege to be a part of bringing the One True God to them!
Todd and Shananne Lewis are the liaisons between The Chapel and the Mission House ministry in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Todd initially took part in a Chapel trip to the Yucatan and felt God’s tug on his heart to become more involved. He was able to take his whole family on the next trip, and soon the family was equally excited. Todd and Shananne are using their passion to reach the Mayan people and their God-given gifts to help facilitate Chapel trips, to publish Mission House prayer requests and to help coordinate Chapel-assisted projects for the Mission House ministries.
By the end of March, The Chapel already will have sent four groups down to the Yucatan in 2016! Each group that goes is energized by the Mayans and their response to the Gospel and activities of the Mission House. Seven additional churches have been or are being started in surrounding villages, and The Mission House is working hard to train and commission pastors to start churches in even more villages in the Yucatan in the near future.
The Mayan people, especially the children, are very open to the many opportunities to learn about Christ, which the Mission House and the village churches provide. Family ties are very important to the Mayans and often when one member of a family becomes involved with the Mission House, others soon become interested in exploring what is going on there. The adult Mayans are grateful for the medical and dental care that teams have provided. These efforts have been an incredible outreach tool that draws many Mayans directly to those who can show and tell about Christ’s love while meeting a host of very real physical needs.
As one might imagine, the Mayan people do have many hardships. One of the biggest struggles is alcoholism among the men. Men are the primary job holders in the Yucatan. Unfortunately, many of them have to travel several hours from home to find work, and they use the lion’s share of their income on alcohol. Only a small percentage of their income goes back home to the women and children for food and other necessities.
The women spend a large portion of their time preparing food for the families. Most of their effort is spent working with corn to make tortillas. The corn is soaked and then needs to be ground by hand. There are some commercial community grinders in the area, but most are quite a distance away.
A couple of women work in small stores located in the villages. Most women, however, weave colorful, strong hammocks for their families. Mayans sleep and sit on hammocks instead of beds and couches. Some of the women sell their hammocks, but they get only a small portion of the purchase price. The rest of the proceeds go to merchants from Cancun in exchange for supplies. Later the merchants collect the hammocks, paying the village women only a few dollars per hammock.
WOW is looking forward to coming alongside Mission House ministries in 2018 to support the Mayan women in some tangible, creative way. WOW will be taking a visionary trip to the Yucatan to see the region first-hand and to collaborate with Mauricio, the Mission Hope Director. WOW will be sure to report more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, watch for details on WOW’s Very Special Purse Party Five in 2018, along with other opportunities to contribute to this great mission! We invite you to get involved in The Chapel’s outreach to the Mayan people who live only a short distance from our country, yet whose culture is markedly different!
Todd Lewis points out that if you have not yet been on a mission trip outside of the USA, this is a very affordable and exciting trip to take with one of our Chapel teams. There are opportunities for all types of people with various interests. Please also consider praying for this ministry in specific ways by visiting http://thechapel.life/outreach for up-to-date prayer requests.