Post 74 / The Next Language
January 25, 2022
Theirs Is the Kingdom
Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. [Mat 5:3-7 KJV]
At last. The final stage of recording the Zapoteco El Alto was as unorthodox as everything else in the process has been.
As promised, Pastor Pablo had asked the elderly speakers to be ready to speak to the unreached Zapotecos in a special service that would be vernacular only and I believe was the first of its kind for these members.
The pastor led with translating the Beatitudes quoted above and then had a few comments comparing their history as the poor, the miserable, the hungry and the merciful — contrasted to the situation they find themselves in today as Spirit-filled sons of the Kingdom.
None of this program was planned or organized in our sense of doing things, but God put it together. Nine different speakers stepped up to the microphone and filled in different parts of their history. Some of them were in their 80s. Some were wearing facemasks. All were thankful for the opportunity to tell their story and God’s story in their beloved Zapoteco. One even used an ancient form of speech, and the last was a monolingual woman, heard for the first time in the church.
Over the hour plus of testimonials, the story went something like this: They could all remember life before the road came in the nineties. Before that there was no electricity, community water or communication, or commercial fertilizer for their maize and bean crops. They could remember being hungry as children and walking the grueling three-day trail over the mountains to the nearest town where they could get their necessities. With shame they recounted drunken riots and fights, cross dressing and orgies, and the helplessness against temptation.
They grew up sharing stories of when the Spanish first entered, forced them into submission, and established the Catholic Church. Most could remember being punished by the nuns for speaking their vernacular in school. Then they could remember a reversal of policy where they were taught that unless they maintained their language the “missionaries from the north” would come in and steal them from the church.
Then some actually went “north” and learned the truth about the Gospel and found a living power that actually gave them power over alcohol, shamanism, and family abuse. They suffered greatly for their faith when they got back to their home areas with a new lifestyle. Some joined Stephen as martyrs for their faith.
Eventually the town of San Antonino El Alto admitted the reality of the presence of a Protestant church, which has earned its status as citizens along with everyone else. Reportedly 40% of the town is today evangelical. By all appearances the acrimony is over. Believers delivered from the control of the bottle now enjoy an abundance of food and necessities. Bondage and debt imposed by the shaman for healing are today gleefully contrasted with God’s answers to prayer that have no charge.
This praise service and invitation to partake in God’s best gave evidence of living in a kingdom age that is already new and getting ready to get newer and better. No one expressed the illusion that they were already in heaven or that the new earth wouldn’t be even better, but they did present a challenge to those that had been unable to withstand the shaman and the disillusionment of following dead images that never changed anything.
In about a month you will be able to hear this story yourself on 5fish.mobi under Zapoteco El Alto. This story will be heard by anyone with a cell phone anywhere in the world. The San Antonino El Alto church’s first challenge is to quietly share this story with the residents in San Pedro El Alto just a few kilometers away. There the Gospel is still shut out but a few secret believers are known to exist.
Larry DeVilbiss | Executive Director
Global Recordings Network USA
If you are interested in learning how to share links on social media that will promote use of our recordings and the Gospel in general, please contact Roland Heck@GlobalRecordings.Net