The serpent—with a man’s head in its mouth—loomed above me, sending a shudder down my spine. I gazed at this intriguing statue (below) while walking the grounds of the University at Cuernavaca in Mexico. This serpent is also found on the university’s logo, and appears in murals and other pictures throughout the campus.
The legend of this serpent has come down from the pagan Aztec religion. Apparently the serpent is the god who gives wisdom—the “good god.” But there is another god, the bad one, who brings rain and catastrophe.
As I pondered this, it hit me that this depiction could be a perversion of the real history of what happened in the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Eve (offering wisdom). The Creator God then judged that rebellion.
What a sad heritage for the people of Mexico to be told that the serpent is the “good god.” This was just one of the many experiences I had in this country that has given me an even greater burden to see the true creation/gospel message proclaimed widely around the world.
And of course, Darwinian evolution is taught as fact in the education systems of Mexico, as it is in so many other countries.
It was certainly a culture shock as my wife Mally and I flew into Mexico City and then drove south to the city of Cuernavaca for a seminar at the University, and also to preach in services at an evangelical church. As we traveled around Mexico City and then on to our destination, our hearts went out to the Mexican people, most of whom have a much lower standard of living than we do. As we thought about the millions of souls in one of the largest cities in the world, God’s Word in Romans 10:14 tugged at our hearts:
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
I was told that a number of strategic people were present at the seminar—pastors and other influential leaders in the church in Mexico. It was a very emotional moment when a man—who was finishing his training to be a teacher—came up to me during the break to tell me (through a translator) that he “didn’t know what to do now.” I asked him to explain.
He said that he was a Christian, but had never heard anything like the messages I had given. He didn’t even know that evolution was wrong and that Christians could believe Genesis. His education was very evolution-based. This future teacher went on to say that he was thrilled with what I said; it made so much sense to him. But now he didn’t know what to do. How does he teach? What can he say? He didn’t want to compromise—it was ripping him apart.
The question time could have gone on for hours—people asked question after question, very similar to those we receive all over the world. There is so much confusion among Christians everywhere about what they should believe concerning Genesis. How thankful these believers were to have questions answered and their faith built up!
People were also hungry for the materials we have produced in Spanish. We have only just embarked on our big push into Spanish-speaking countries, and already we have many materials in the pipeline. The few resources we were able to offer on this visit were in great demand.
On Sunday morning I spoke to around 4,000 people at two morning services (right). Afterwards, there was a real jam as people were packed like sardines as they tried to get to the book divs to obtain materials and sign up for our new Spanish newsletter.
I was told that 17 people stood up in the services to publicly confess to having received Christ that morning.
And how thrilled we were when an editor associated with the largest Christian magazine in Mexico (100,000 copy distribution) asked us to provide two pages each issue that would be dedicated to teaching people the truth about Genesis and the creation/evolution controversy. I was told that this is the only Christian publication that is currently accepted in secular bookshops in Mexico.
As the translator explained what this young editor wanted from us, there was no way we could say “no” to this request. So we have committed ourselves to providing, at no charge, two pages for this bimonthly, and soon to be monthly, Spanish-language Christian magazine.
What a blessing it was to receive a letter from the organizer of our meetings. Even though Spanish is his main language, he wrote the following in (somewhat broken) English:
Thank you for your prayers, organization, support, time, money, etc. Thank you to each one of you. We pray and hope in the Lord that brother Ken’s back is fine by now and we will continue praying for all of you, your families, and the ministry. You break some records around here.
We have received preachers, teachers, and evangelists in our church on Sundays, but preaching on creationism broke the record of sells of cassettes. In one morning 700 hundred cassettes of brother Ken’s message were sold.
Around 300 people sign for “Respuestas” [AiG’s new Spanish newsletter], even though lots did not sign because they needed to wait in line, and because of too many people and little space. Well … we did not expect this. (Lack of faith)
I received emails from people in Guatemala and from Perú asking for information about you. They want to have conferences on creationism. Maybe we can start praying for you to make a trip giving conferences in México (Monterrey and Mexico City in the two biggest churches there, each one of 8 to 10 thousand people). Then stop in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Perú and Argentina. We can also contact Brasil and Venezuela. Well … let’s just pray. I know it will happen sooner that we think.
I got the vision of your ministry and I am very excited. I will give some of your material to take to Cuba. I will write you soon.
My translator for this series of meetings was a young lady whose mother is a U.S. citizen and father a Mexican. She has such a burden for the people of Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. Katia has made the decision to move to join us in Kentucky to head up our Spanish ministry and coordinate our translating efforts in this language spoken around the world.
Genesis 11 and the confusion of languages
Isn’t it fascinating that the reason we need a translation ministry is because of what we read in Genesis 11? Because of man’s rebellion, God gave different languages to cause man to spread out around the world, instead of working together to rebel against God.
As I visited the pyramids built by the Indians in Mexico, and thought about the pyramids we see in other parts of the world, they reminded me that people had spread out around the world from Babel, taking their pagan religion with them. We can see a remnant of what they knew in the past within their cultures (for example, the serpent that supposedly brings wisdom).
In fact, various Indian tribes around the world, the Australian aborigines, and other cultures have legends handed down from their ancestors that sound like the creation/Flood accounts in Genesis. These legends are changed versions of the true record in the Bible.
But praise the Lord we are able to take the creation/gospel message into other languages to restore the truth they once had and preach the true history of the world, and the true gospel, so people can be saved.
Please pray for our Spanish ministry and for other translation ministries that AiG is involved in. Thank you.