Posts Tagged ‘nahuatl people’

None of us know about God. Will you teach us?

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

The Nahuatl have a story about how the world ended.  In their version there was just water everywhere.  All the people had died and all the trees were gone.  There was just one man and his little dog in a canoe.  All the people in the world come from that man and his dog.

As I checked through the accuracy of my transcription of this story with my language helper, Leyo, she wondered aloud if it was really true.  I grabbed my Spanish Bible and showed her the story of the flood.  “These are God’s Words.  They are true words from Him to all people.  He tells what really happened when water covered the whole earth, but his story is a little different than your story.”

I told her that when I speak the language better, I want to write God’s Word so that all the Nahuatl can know God.  Leyo interrupted me, “We, none of us, know about God.  No one knows God.  You guys will teach us so that we will know?”

I assured her that I was going to do just that when I was able and she commented, “You don’t speak very well right now, do you?”

I agreed with her, but said that one day I would be able to teach her the Truth.

“That’s why you’re here,” she said.  “That’s good.” 

Leyo with her 3 youngest boys & her granddaughter. She washes my clothes every week and helps me learn Nahuat.l

Although I would love to be telling them of the hope we have in Christ, even Leyo knows that we don’t speak well enough yet.  Would you pray for Pete & Liesl, Katie, and me as we continue to study the Nahuatl culture and language?

Please pray for:

-Diligence in study, daily motivation, & energy

-Profitable study times with our language helpers

-Understanding of how the Nahuatl language works

-Ability to understand and speak accurately

Learn more about getting missionary training like Rachel received


Posted by Rachel Chapman on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Checking words with Agustina while her siblings look on

I was checking words with my language helper a few days ago.  When I asked her about “uyulí” Agustina gave the definition as “it re-lived.”

“Like what, for example?” I asked.

“Oh, you know,” answered Agustina, “like if a plant is getting all dry and brown and you think it’s dead, but then it starts to turn green again and live.”

I asked if you could use that phrase to describe people.  “No.  How could you?  Once you’re dead, you’re dead.”

Agustina couldn’t imagine a way that a person could die and then live again.  She does not know the precious message of the Gospel where Jesus’ sacrificial death and re-living take center stage.  Please pray that the Holy Spirit would be moving in the hearts of the Nahuatl to prepare them to hear the message of new life.

Meet: Leyo

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Leyo (left) with a daughter and daughter-in-law. Her husband, William, is sitting in front of them.

I have two main language helpers.  One is Leyo.  She is great for conversation and practicing what I’m learning.  She loves to talk and corrects me when I say something wrong.  Then she makes me say it right.  She loves to be recorded and sometimes prompts me with, “I have a story to tell you, do you want to record it?”  Then, she goes off for 5-10 minutes telling me something that happened to her or a legend that the “old ones” tell from a long time ago.

She has 11 children that are still alive.  6 are older and several of them are married.  5 are younger and in elementary school.  She has 7 grandchildren and 3 of them are now in her care.

Two of Leyo's youngesr kids and 3 grandkids - in the distance in the canyon is one of their 3 cornfields - They had just planted.

Queen and her kids

Her oldest daughter, Queen, used to help me a lot with language and sometimes would come over just to hang out at my house.  But, now, she has remarried and has moved to another town.  Leyo is now taking care of her two kids from a previous relationship that was abusive.

Leyo can barely see things close up.  So, she can no longer sew clothes or teach her younger girls to sew.  She can’t make beaded bracelets to make money or sew embroidered tortilla clothes to sell as others in the village do.  She comes once a week to wash my laundry in the creek for money to buy soap and milk and other necessary things from the store.   With her poor eyesight up close, she can see amazingly at far distances.  She can tell you people are walking on the other side of the village.  All I can see is a person, male or female and she will tell me who it is!

Please pray for Leyo and her husband, William, and their many kids and grandkids that God would prepare their hearts to hear His Word.

Baby Wearing

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Baby wearing is not a new fad.  For hundreds, maybe thousands of years, the Nahuatl and other indigenous mothers have been wearing their babies.  Here is a 16 year old mother with her one year old:

I got to try my hand, or my back, at this ancient practice.  Katie was checking language with one of our Nahuatl friends.  Her baby was really fussy and I was trying to keep him quiet so Katie and our friend could concentrate on Nahuatl.  It wasn’t working, so I tried to give him back to his mother.  She picked up her shawl and said, “He want´s to be worn.  Here…”

I was scared to put him on because I figure he’d fall out of the shawl.  So, she tied him on me and I went about making lunch and doing other projects and he was as quiet as a mouse!

My first baby-wearing experience


This week

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Monday, June 11th, 2012

This week our house became a movie theater – complete with snacks: Tang and animal crackers!  The early showing was Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  The second showing was Planet Earth.  Both were much enjoyed!

Enthralled with Narnia

This week we studied Nahuatl.  We have a language evaluation soon, so we practiced as much as we could!

Checking words I have recorded to make sure they mean what I think they mean

This week I tried to haul water.  I went twice.  Once the water was just trickling.  I got about 30 gallons in 40 minutes.

Now, at the end of the dry season, there is very little water.

Meanwhile, I took pictures and talked to these cute kids in kindergarten.

The kindergarteners were washing up after their school lunch of beans and tortillas

This week I taught a little 7 year old visitor how to use my camera.  This was the result.

Not too bad for the first picture she ever took!

This week, Katie and I played Dominoes in order to learn how to teach others in Nahuatl how to play.  Sometimes studying is really fun!

Aska mishtokaró. Shihtal ini nih. -- It´s your turn. Put this one here.

And, finally, this week we stuccoed the outside of our house with our friends.  It was a long day!

Finishing up the last wall. Now, the rains won´t eat away at the adobe.

Well, that was the week in pictures.  Thanks for praying for us out here in Las Moras learning the language and culture of the Nahuatl people.  Please pray as we continue to build relationships and learn language so that we can clearly communicate God´s Saving Truth!

From Katie: Not straight talking…

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Monday, March 12th, 2012

As we continue to spend hours daily studying the Nahuatl language, it is fun to see things start to take shape and make sense.  Several months ago I had written down “amomelahtaketsaliste” as meaning “a lie.”  We knew that the verb, to talk, is “taketsa” and “amo” means not.  Then, a few weeks ago, while studying some adjectives, we came across the word “melah,” or straight.

Suddenly, it became clear: a lie to the Nahuatl is “not straight talking.”  A perfect example of this kind of conversation comes from a young girl in another village.  She gets on the radio and spreads fear and confusion about what it takes to please God.  She tells the Nahuatl that they must dress in a different kind of clothes, perform certain dances so that it will rain, or stop using modern technology.  If the people fail to comply, they are warned about wild animals that will eat them or bad things that will happen to their family members.  We know that Satan has the Nahuatl trapped by his warped and twisted thinking.  We also know that we have the “straight talk.”

Please pray for God’s protection on the Nahuatl people until they have his truth.

Nahuatl family - father, mother, and most of their kids

Needed: Clean Water

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
We hope to provide clean drinking water for the village and a source of running water for us.

In Las Moras, Mexico, the Nahuatl people have few options for water. Some haul it from a nearby stream where people also bathe and wash laundry. Some haul it from small, dirty springs that are often muddied by livestock. Some gather it from puddles when it rains. None of them have access to clean water, and many suffer from water-borne illnesses like typhoid and dysentery.

When we began working in Las Moras, we immediately identified clean water as one of the community’s critical needs. The remote location, depth and size of the well, and equipment needed to provide clean water placed an early cost estimate at $20,000. We are now earnestly seeking funds with the hope of raising enough money to drill the well in May 2012. The goal is to make clean water available for all the people who live there, including our team.

Would you pray with us that God would provide the money for the well?  Would you also pray that God would use us to show His Love to the community?

Would you like to help finance a well for Las Moras?

Call New Tribes Mission’s Finance Office at 1-866-547-2460 to donate with a credit card.  Specify your gift is for the Mexico Fund – Well Project.

OR, send a check made out to New Tribes Mission to

New Tribes Mission
1000 East First Street
Sanford, Florida 32771

with a note saying it is for “the Mexico Fund – Well Project”

Either way, you will receive a tax-deductible receipt. THANK YOU!

Conversation with Alberta

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Alberta for blogOn the second day of the dental clinic, a truckload of people arrived first thing in the morning. Alberta was the first one in the door and therefore the first with the dentist. She was really nervous. I told her it wouldn’t hurt, the doctor would give her medicine (anesthesia) so she wouldn’t feel pain. I checked on her a few times. When she was done, she left quickly!

A few hours later, as I was sitting with some ladies outside, she came back to the clinic to wait for her friends to finish with the dentist. I asked her how she felt. She said, “I feel SOOOO comfortable! I don’t feel any pain. In fact, I didn’t ask if I could eat anything, and at lunch time, I just ate my food, and I felt SOOOO comfortable!”

I asked how her visit was with the doctor and if she was afraid to come back. She kinda laughed. “There’s no reason to be afraid of this doctor! I didn’t feel ANYTHING! I’ll tell everyone to come, but this is the last time you are having a dental clinic, right?”

Not sure what rumors she was hearing, I said cautiously, “As long as the people here are happy with us living here, we want to help the people and we’ll bring dentists whenever we can.”

She quickly answered, “We like you guys. You don’t kill people, and you remove the plaque from our teeth!”

It’s nice to know what people think of us! :)

Alberta 2 for blog

Life in Las Moras

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

2011 Video from rachel chapman on Vimeo.

Our best Nahuatl so far…

Posted by Rachel Chapman on Monday, January 17th, 2011

To kinda give you an idea of what we know so far, I’ll let you listen in on a conversation my co-workers and I had with one of our friends…

Visiting our Nahuatl friends

Visiting our Nahuatl friends

We spoke in Spanish, Nahuatl, and English.

Here’s how it went…

My co-workers and me:

Our Nahuatl friend:

Hi!  How are you?

I’m fine.

Come in.  Child, go get some chairs.

Sit down.

What have you been up to?

Nothing much.

What have you been up to?

I am teaching. (home-schooling Josiah)

What else can we say?  Eat!

I eat. Sleep!  How do you say sleep again?

We slep.  No.  We seep.  No, we sleep!

You all sleep together?  or separately?


If you sleep together, you say “We sleep (together.)”

If you sleep by yourself, you say “We sleep (apart.)”

That’s a huge difference!  We need to learn that!

Can I record you?

We sleep (together.) We sleep (apart.)

I bathed really early this morning.  The water was freezing!  Cold water.

Do you say cold water or water cold?

Water cold.

That’s what I thought!

Your pig is really big!  Big pig.

Here’s some corn from our garden.

How much?

Nothing. It’s a gift.

Thank you.

Well, we’re going now.

Go ahead!

See you later.

I’m waiting here for your return.