Willy and I recently experienced our first Easter in Mexico. Instead of an abundance of Marshmallow Peeps and Cadbury Eggs, we were met with machete wounds and malnourished children. Easter for the Tarahumara is closely tied to animistic rituals and parties filled with drinking. Tarahumara men covered in white body paint beat drums loudly in the streets. The people believe that drum beating and heavy drinking will strengthen God and protect them from curses. Even though these rituals seem so strange and harmful, we know that the Tarahumara are searching for peace and acceptance from God.
In the midst of this spiritual darkness, we saw glimpses of redemption and renewal. We want to share two “before and after” stories from our Tarahumara friends.
This is Ramon (name changed for privacy.) Living in the canyon, Ramon battled months of weight loss, bloody cough, and fevers. Desperate for help, he made the long journey to Hospital Misión Tarahumara, where he had heard that he could receive free treatment. At our hospital, Ramon was diagnosed with tuberculosis and severe malnutrition. He and Willy became good friends, reading Bible stories in Tarahumara together (despite Willy’s broken language abilities!) 6 months later, Ramon returned for a visit- he was unrecognizable! He brought handmade baskets from his wife in thanks as he now has the strength to work and care for his family again. Praise God!
This is Maria (name changed for privacy), a sweet 19-month-old Tarahumara girl who arrived to the hospital this month with Kwashiorkor, a severe form of malnutrition due to lack of protein. Her family had run out of food to eat and she developed swelling, hair loss, peeling skin, and inability to walk. She weighed just 12 pounds. After two weeks of intensive treatment in our malnutrition program, Maria starting walking again and was ready to celebrate Easter with her older brothers. Malnutrition claims the lives of up to 50% of young children in the Copper Canyon, but Maria was able to overcome and her future will be forever changed.
In the middle of this dry season in the Copper Canyon, we rejoice in seeing signs of new life in the people we serve. Thank you for your prayers and support of our family’s work here among the Tarahumara, without which these “afters” would not be possible!
“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)