Wednesday, 10 February 2016 09:18

Montgomery Baptist Association's Mixteco Task Force Speaking the Language of Love to the Mixtec People

Written by  Laura Bell
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“Just so you know, we don’t speak Spanish. We speak Mixteco,” a little boy said, chuckling at Hallay Cagle one summer day in 2007. Hallay had spent an entire week with a ministry she worked alongside, ministering to a Hispanic community in Montgomery, speaking Spanish to this people group, assuming it was their native tongue.  Shockingly, Hallay and her group found that this community may have looked like they spoke Spanish, but in reality spoke a language called Mixteco.

Mixteco has 50 different dialects, keeping the community separated within itself. During the same year of Hallay’s discovery of such an interesting culture and community, numerous churches around the city of Montgomery had people of this same community trickling through their church doors saying the same thing to the same assumption, “We don’t speak Spanish, we speak Mixteco.” After research, a discovery found that the Mixtec tribe is an indigenous people group from Southern Guerrero, Mexico. Relationships have been formed in the years since.


Lisa Rose, one of the founding members of the Montgomery Baptist Association’s Mixteco Task Force, did a great deal of research and investigation into this people group soon after meeting them. In doing so, Lisa found that this particular culture of people is the most unreached, unengaged people group in all of the Americas (International Mission Board, SBC). “They happen to be in Montgomery for a season. We have an obligation as Christians to share the Gospel with any unreached people group and that means we have an obligation to Jesus to reach out to this community, regardless of its language and cultural barriers,” Lisa explains. “If we don’t take the time to teach the Gospel to this people group, we are disobeying God according to Scripture.”


Three thousand plus Mixtecs live in the Central Alabama area and more than one third in the city of Montgomery.  A task force formed to identify and meet the pressing needs of these people and to strategize on how to share Christ with them.  Over the years, it has evolved into an interdenominational task force of Christian churches believing every Mixteco man, woman and child has the right to hear the Gospel and respond in every way they understand. Lisa’s church congregation, as well as many others, have partnered together to love these people with the Gospel of Jesus.  This task force has taken time and energy, the same way that Hallay Cagle did when she dedicated her life to blessing this community.


Not long after discovering this particular people group in our city, Hallay Cagle could not let a day go by without thinking of these souls and searching for ways to be a light for Jesus in their world.  She started by tutoring one child in the community every day after school.  The two would sit outside in a field and she would help him with his school work.  After months of working diligently to help this student improve his skills, his mother invited her to eat a meal with them, and from there, the rest was history.  Hallay’s involvement in the community bloomed into a haven for children to gain greater education skills, for parents to have opportunity to learn the Gospel and feel a sense of trust to a person outside their normal culture, and for the community as a whole to grow in the kingdom of God. 


Hallay dedicated time and energy to this place before going off to another city for college.  Even in her time away, the community stayed present on her heart.  Enough so, that she raised funds to move herself into the community in the summer so she could help kids with their school work, keeping them up to their grade level for school.  With time, no matter her distance, marriage, location, or placement in life, Hallay kept a steady and consistent relationship with this group in Montgomery.  The relationships that were formed created such a trust that Hallay has become the “go-to gal” for helping parents communicate, fill out school paperwork, and enhancing kids education outside of the classroom.


“Ancestor worship is a large part of what they do religiously,” says Hallay.  “They live in constant fear of what could happen because of what someone may have done before them, let alone a curse being placed on their family.  They need Jesus, because Jesus doesn’t carry that fear.” 


The community is in great need of the gospel and is already experiencing a tremendous amount of Christ’s love through the Task Force, as well as the tutoring program called Every Tribe, started by Hallay Cagle.  One particular language that Hallay pointed out was one that we all are capable of speaking… love.  They may not be able to speak English or even Spanish, but they know when a person is simply loving them.  Love has no language barrier.  When the Spirit of God is involved, barriers of language and culture are broken down.


For the last two years, the Montgomery Baptist Association and the SBC International Mission Board has partnered to host the National Mixtec Summit where churches and ministries from all over the United States come together to share best practices, pray for this people group and network with others who are doing similar outreach with this people. This year, more than 100 individuals from the United States, Canada and Mexico came together to share and pray with each other. Everyone left refreshed and full of new ideas to share Christ with this people group.


The Montgomery Baptist Association Mixteco Task Force has paved a way for our city to be a safe haven for people who are hungry for the word of God in their lives. The Mixteco Task Force is always excited when new faces join their mission to love the community, and would gladly invite any and all who have an interest in helping. If you would like to become a part of this mission, contact Lisa Rose by calling 334-271-6794 or by emailing her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 


Laura Bell is a freelance writer, born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama.  She enjoys spending time with her husband Cody and finding all reasons to have joy in life!
 

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 09:33
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