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Indigenous Teeth

those teeth - yikes

Who has stronger teeth... the Otomi or the Mazahua?
The answer could spark an ethnic war!

[Now that I've piqued your interest, read on and enjoy
this story told to us by our Brazilian medical
missionary friends, Carlos and Monica Oliveira]

Acahualdo is a zero stoplight pueblo surrounded by cornfields in the central highlands of Mexico. It is a predominately Mazahua indian town, but just a few miles to the north there is a concentration of ethnic Otomi. There's no real bad blood between these two groups, but a little cultural pride can make for a good story (think of them like as you would ethnic Irish and Italians in New York.) 
 Dr. Monica Oliveira in their portable clinic
Dr. Monica in their portable clinic

Monica and Carlos were visiting Acahualdo as part of a free medical/dental campaign. In this high mountain village the electricity would fail then surged, shorting out our electrical dental equipment.  Added to that, near the end of the day a volunteer dentist attempted to extract a tooth from one of the Mazahua patients but ran into problems.  The tooth wouldn't budge.  Monica, an oral surgeon, came to his aid.  After an entire hour, a lot of sweat, and even muscle spasms in their arms, they succeeded in dislodging the tooth. 

As the exhausted team packed up their equipment, the patient who's tooth they had just struggled with came up to Monica and asked, "Doctor, who has stronger teeth, the Otomi or the Mazahua? 

Monica acknowledged that his Mazahua tooth  had been the most difficult to extract.  Half the group assembled behind her shouted for joy.  The Mazahua gloated to an Otomi man standing beside him, "I told you that the Mazahua have stronger teeth!" 

"But who has straighter teeth?" asked the Otomi. 

"Yours are straighter," Monica said to the downcast Otomi man, but added, "It really isn't a racial issue, but an individual one.  The location and type of infection of the damaged tooth  made a big difference. And you can be comforted by the fact that your Mazahua friend is going to have much more pain than you as soon as the anesthesia wears off. 

This put a smile on the face of the straighter toothed Otomi.  

Tooth envy aside, seeing love in action has produced a good reception for the Gospel.  The indigenous Mexicans have an old proverb:  

Stop shouting against the wind.  Words are noise if not accompanied with action.
Upon seeing Monica and Carlos' love in action these groups were more willing to hear the missionaries' words.  In fact, after the medical/dental campaign, there was a service at which many Mazahua and Otomi showed a desire to accept Christ as their savior.  
Carlos Oliveira caring for indigenous families 
Carlos Oliveira caring for rural families

If  you'd  like to contact Carlos and Monica Oliveira,
send them an email by clicking on the address below


Tim & Annette Update

Annette and I have been asked to speak at 3 conferences this summer. Starting the second week of this month until the first week of August we will be traveling to 3 Mexican cities to talk on the subject of "YOUTH: the key to Mexican church growth and ways to reach them."  Our talks will be based on the surveys, polls and experience we've gathered in the last two and a half years.  

We would love it if you would pray for us during these conferences. It's will be the first time we've done anything like this in Spanish. We've got all the facts and figures that prove the dire need for youth ministry in Mexico, but communicating that clearly and in a way that doesn't sound paternalistic is what we need your prayers for. We know God is in control... so give us a boost with your prayers.  

Thanks!  :^)

Us saying bye to You
Tim & Annette
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