The burden of being clear

Missionary Katie Moore says their team feels compelled to learn to speak the Nahuatl language fluently.

“I asked my friend, Andrea, if she would tell me the story of the first man and the first woman,” Katie Moore says.

“The tale involves a man who had a dog that could shape-shift into a woman,” she continues. “The man stayed with the woman-version of the dog and from the two of them came all the people of the world.”

Katie says that Andrea then told her, “And that’s why women aren’t as clean as men. Because we have one rib from a man and one rib from a dog.”

Katie comments, “The women here don’t think much of themselves, mainly due to messages such as this one that have been drilled into their heads. They don’t believe that they are good enough to talk to God.” Katie says that in Nahuatl tradition only a “really, really wise woman” or a man would attempt to talk to God.

“Bottom line,” Katie concludes, “Is that most women feel no better than a dog.”

Katie shares that, from this and other examples of Biblical narratives mixed with superstition, the missionaries see clearly that they are not the first to expose the Nahuatl people to ideas and stories from the Bible. She says the strange Nahuatl folk tales include words like “baptism” and “blessing” in stories that vastly distort Biblical truth.

“They believe Jesus is one of the saints who you can manipulate with gifts of corn and peaches,” Katie says. Apparently the Spaniards began to “convert” the Nahuatl people as long ago as the 1500s. “The Nahuatls do not lack exposure to ideas from the Bible. What they lack is understanding the message of the Bible.”

Katie is concerned that on the surface, her friend, Andrea, agrees with everything that she presents from the Bible. “‘Yes, yes,’ Andrea often says. ‘That’s so true.’ I know that if I told her, ‘Andrea, Jesus died for your sins and if you believe in Him you will be truly clean,’ she would say I was right.