Taking Toucan Sam On A Mission Trip

Philip Long December 4, 2015
Taking Toucan Sam On A Mission Trip

Photo Credit by Debi Howey

Jonathan Howey dug Toucan Sam out of his closet. The toy could repeat back what was said to it. But Toucan Sam had no idea what adventures awaited him on a JESUS Film mission trip to Yucatan, Mexico.

Accompanying his grandparents, Butch and Debi Howey, 14-year-old Jonathan provided Toucan Sam an arm to rest on. The two became instant hits with Mayan children.

Partnering with The Message for Mayans, JESUS Film teams equip local believers to show the film in the Mayan dialect almost every week. The Message for Mayans’ goal is that Mayans in every village will hear the gospel in their own language.

Jonathan was struck by how thrilled and responsive the Mayans were to the filmed version of the gospel. “It made me realize how much we take for granted here,” he says. “we can read the Bible and understand what it means. We have good teaching and preaching.”

Debi and Butch also noticed the sincerity and perseverance of the Mayan believers. Debi reports a story of a group of Mayan believers who formed a church through this work. They were stonewalled by the owner of the village’s well, who said that if they built a church, they wouldn’t be allowed to have water. In response, the Christians said, “we want a church more than we want water.”

Debi and Butch seek to pour passionate faith into their grandchildren while leaving a legacy of giving through missions.

Jonathan visiting one of Mexico's deep water cenotes. Photo by Debi Howey.

When asked about his favorite memory of the trip, Jonathan says, “I like going to the cenote, an underground natural pool.”

Scuba divers explore the cenotes in the Yucatan, marking the depth of Cenote Azul at 237 feet. It’s a reminder of the deep faith Jonathan, and Toucan Sam, have witnessed going from his home to Mayan villages to the cenote.

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