A Letter From Mexico

“Does Jehovah Love Us Even Though We Are Indians?”

MELESIO, an O’dam-speaking man, occasionally came down from the mountains to find work. He attended Christian meetings and took Bible literature back to share with his people. He begged for someone to visit them and teach them more about the Bible.

The O’dam, a very isolated ethnic group, live high in the Sierras in north central Mexico, some 150 miles (240 km) from the nearest congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Several of us decided to visit them.

Obtaining a pickup, tents, and sleeping bags, and taking enough food and gasoline for three days, we set out from the city of Durango. Starting at four o’clock in the morning, we drove for eight hours up a dusty mountain track to where it ended. This was the entry point to the region of the O’dam. Ahead lay a deep ravine and another mountain.

We left the pickup at a ranchito, and for the next three hours we proceeded on foot, carrying our equipment to the bottom of the ravine. There we made camp, gathered enough wood for a bonfire to ward off wild animals, and slept in three-hour shifts to keep the fire going.

Early the next morning, we began to climb the mountain. There were many paths, and we got lost several times. One in our group spoke a little O’dam, so we shared a brief Bible message at dwellings along the way. To our surprise, people began telling us that in Los Arenales, our destination, there were some who called themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses and that they held Bible meetings there. This was surprising but encouraging news.

With blistered feet, we arrived at Los Arenales. The community consisted of scattered adobe houses with cardboard roofing​—no school, no electricity. Cut off from the outside  world, the people lived in extreme poverty, subsisting on corn tortillas and little else. We found Melesio, a slender young man who was overjoyed to see us. He invited us to his simple home and told us that he had been praying every day that Jehovah would send His Witnesses to teach his family and his fellow O’dam the Bible. He felt unable to answer all their questions.

The O’dam practice shamanism. They use such charms as eagle feathers and bones, worship the forces of nature, and live in fear of the shamans, who exploit them. Melesio explained that when he learned on his trips to the city that Jehovah is the true God, he destroyed all his idolatrous objects. The community expected their gods to punish him with death. When nothing happened, they realized that Jehovah was more powerful than their gods. Consequently, they began to attend the Bible study that Melesio conducted with his family, using our literature.

“I told them that first they had to burn all their amulets and idols,” said Melesio. Many overcame their superstitious fears, and the number attending grew to over 80. Amazed to hear this, we decided to hold a meeting that very afternoon. We sent word by messengers on horseback to those who regularly met at Melesio’s house. Although it was midweek and on short notice, 25 came, arriving on foot and on burro.

With Melesio interpreting, we held a question-and-answer session on the Bible. They asked questions like: “Does Jehovah love us even though we are Indians?” “Does he hear prayers in O’dam?” “When Armageddon comes, will Jehovah take us into account even though we live so far from the cities?” Using the Bible, we were happy to assure these humble people that Jehovah cares for the meek, no matter what language they speak or how isolated they are. They begged us to send someone to teach them more.

After the meeting, we shared our food with these newfound friends. Night had fallen, and it was very cold at that altitude, so we were grateful when they offered us a room that was under construction to sleep in. The next morning they led us back down to our pickup by a shortcut, and we traveled back to Durango, tired but content.

What a privilege it was to meet these sincere people, most of whom cannot read or write or speak Spanish but who want to learn about the true God and worship him! Since our visit, six Witnesses have been to the community, staying for three weeks. They provided spiritual help to about 45 people who sincerely want to serve Jehovah. All of them attend the meetings regularly.

One final note. The only little store in Los Arenales does not sell cigarettes anymore. This is because so many people are studying the Bible and they have all stopped smoking. They have also legalized their marriage.

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Melesio with his wife, four daughters, and mother-in-law

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A Bible study and a Christian meeting in Los Arenales

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Servicio Postal Mexicano, Correos de Mexico