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Yucatan - Part 2

YUCATAN (Part 2)

So many of the things I hope to achieve in my quest to become Jimmy Gospelseed are centered in the Mayan city of Tizimin, in the Yucatan. The Mukul family were one of the first converts in that area. Shortly after I became a deacon at Northwest, the elders handed me a letter to translate. Felipe Mukul had just graduated from Peacher’s School and needed support to preach the word in Tizimin and the villages around that city. Elders get requests like that constantly, so they didn’t think the budget would allow it. A couple of individuals and I wanted to give him something and we did for a few months. I was asked to go down there to verify that this was not a scam. I went on my first trip of many to look at the situation and take photos. The things I saw have changed my life so much that I can say without reservation that the Mukul family and all the brethren are the most kind and dedicated Christians I’ve known. 

I found that Felipe, his wife, Alicia and baby boy Bani were living in a small house owned by his father Bernardo and his mother Marcelina. Felipe was selling soda pop out the front window of the house to help his parents. Bernardo made and sold ice cream from his bicycle with a box on the front. His best sellers were coconut and pineapple. The church building consisted of tree limbs for walls, dirt for the floor and tar paper for the roof. Add people to the mix and the heat was almost unbearable for a Colorado guy. They had a desire to grow and already Juan and Galo, his two brothers, were preaching in different towns. His brother-in-law Eliseo, preached in another congregation across town.  

 All these things happened about 39 years ago and the partnership and bonds we established back then have never slowed down. There are now 12 churches with about 300 members. Felipe’s 4 sons and 1 daughter are all very active in the various churches. His youngest son, Fernando is adept at computer skills and sends photos frequently. The churches have area meetings for men, women and children. Northwest has supported them in many ways: new buildings, new restrooms, vehicles, Bibles, song books and travel funds to visit us. Felipe came to my house twice, once with his brother Juan. They got to see snow for the first time and took videos home to show the brethren. They have remained faithful in spite of hurricanes and the tragic death of Bernardo in an electrical accident. 

On that first visit Felipe and his mentor, Venancio told me the amazing story of the first attempts to evangelize the area. They would go by motorcycle with Bibles to teach the locals. At one of them a rich and influential farmer gathered up his friends and with rifles and threats told them to leave and never return. However, with prayer and perseverance, they baptized that man, and he became a leader in the new church he helped finance. Felipe and Venencio were truly the best Gospelseeds I’d ever seen, and that story humbled and astounded me enough that I’ve never forgotten it. 

Jim Bailey

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