We began in 2009 and after 2 years the first Tarahumara church El Alfarero (The Potter) was planted through LightShine. God quickly matured and blessed El Alfarero, and we’re now partners in bringing the Gospel to the Tarahumara through LightShine and church-planting. We are in awe of God’s goodness! It’s incredible that in just 8 years the small church in Colonia Tarahumara, planted through LightShine, has become an equal partner with LightShine! El Alfarero is primarily composed of Tarahumaras, church eldership includes Tarahumaras, and Tarahumaras are a primary aspect of their missions outreach. Now, as God produces Born Again believers through the LightShine, El Alfarero helps those new believers form into a well discipled and well led house church in their own local Tarahumara colonia. The house church can grow, additional house churches can be birthed, and eventually a colonia church can be planted as a central gathering place for the house churches.
This model allows Tarahumaras to be Born Again, to move quickly into serving and leading their own people, all while continuing to be led and discipled through El Alfarero. This is a hybrid house-church model that has found success worldwide in many indigenous people groups.
The Tarahumaras are marginalized within the broader Mexican culture, and oftentimes discriminated against in Chihuahua City. Therefore, although there are healthy churches in Chihuahua City and in the Sierra Madres, the Tarahumara have very little access to them. That adds up to a minimally reached people group, less than 2% evangelical Christian, just a few hours south of the U.S. border! LightShine, then, brings a Christian community into each colonia through LightShine staff until a local group of Believers are Born Again and become the Body of Christ in their own community, led by El Alfarero.
We’ve seen fruit through well led and accountable house churches. Learning lessons from the last 10 years, we’ve incorporated that same house church model with the older teens in LightShine. We see the older teens as a small church as they learn to love and live for one another. In each colonia, the teen house church is co-led by both LightShine and el Alfarero. We’re so blessed to have witnessed the Body of Christ within the Tarahumara nation grow into a strong leadership position alongside LightShine!