The Beginning of the Trail

Read: Psalm 138

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before “the gods” I will sing your praise. (v. 1 NIV)

It was 1958. Sam, my future husband, was a third-year student at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, and I was finishing my last year in the same town at Hope College. One Sunday morning we heard Dr. John Kempers speak about his work as a missionary to Chiapas, Mexico. He mentioned the need for a young couple for youth ministry. God used his words that morning to call us to the Tzeltal (pronounced Zell-tall) people of Chiapas. We were blessed to serve in Chiapas for 41 years.

God taught us so much through the Tzeltal people. They had come out of animism, a worship of spirits, which had bound them to fear. Those who became Christians learned that there is a God more powerful than the evil spirits, one who loved them and wanted them to be his special people.

The Tzeltals were subsistence farmers, poor in earthly goods, but so wealthy in the eternal things of God. This month I will share some of the lessons I learned about prayer and trusting in God while living in Chiapas.

My prayer for you is that these reflections based on experiences among the Tzeltal and Tojolabal Christians will strengthen your faith in God and increase your belief in the power of prayer. —Helen Hofman

As you pray, thank God for his lessons of eternal value, and ask him to teach you to trust him completely.

About the Author

Helen Hofman is a retired missionary. She and her husband Sam worked with the Tzeltal and Tojolabal Indians of Chiapas, Mexico for more than forty years. In their work, they helped set up a Bible School to train the Tzeltals, taught in the Bible School, prepared Sunday School materials, textbooks, hymnals and audiovisuals. They also coordinated the translation of the Amatenango Tzeltal New Testament and the revision of the highland Tzeltal Bible.