Evangelical Christians in the San Cristóbal municipality of Chiapas State have faced opposition from other villagers for several years. In May 2016, 84 homes in the area were looted and partially destroyed, forcibly displacing 350 evangelicals. A year ago, these believers were prevented from constructing a church building and again forced to leave.
In the latest incident, the homes of five Christian families in the community of Mitzitón were destroyed on 10 January, and 30 people were expelled.
Many of the Tzotzil people, who practise a combination of traditional Aztec beliefs and Catholicism, have been strongly opposed to the growth of evangelical Christianity in their community. Sometimes they have blamed neighbouring followers of Christ for the misfortunes they themselves encountered.
The expelled Christians now must wait for a decision to be made by local leaders, determining if or when they will be allowed to return.
Sources: Evangélico Digital, Christian Post
- Pray that the Lord’s provision and protection will be upon all these persecuted Christians, including those who have been driven from their homes.
- Pray they will be allowed to return and live peacefully within their community.
- Ask God to soften the hearts of their opposers, that they may come to realise the hope and saving grace that are available to them through faith in Jesus Christ.
Post your prayers in the comments below.
More than a year after being expelled from their village because of their faith, a group of Christians are now sharing the Gospel with their new neighbours.
While a few families in the original group abandoned their faith for the promise of getting all their possessions back from the villagers, the other families remained strong in faith. Two families moved into homes provided by a local church, while seven others moved onto property owned by a VOM-supported frontline worker.
Several of those families have since moved into permanent housing and opened a small shop to sell groceries. This provides not only an income but also a means of sharing the Gospel in their community. Praise God for those who have been rescued from darkness.
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Alfrery Líctor Cruz Canseco was in the pulpit of the Fraternidad Cristiana church in the municipality of Tlalixtac de Cabrera, when he was shot at point-blank range on 18 August.
His attacker attempted to escape but was prevented from doing so by members of the congregation, and subsequently handed over to the authorities. Pastor Cruz Canseco is reported to have died from his injuries on the way to hospital.
The motive for the murder is not yet known; however, it follows a series of attacks targeting religious leaders, including the enforced disappearance of another pastor, Aarón Méndez Ruiz on 3 August.
The expansion of violent criminal groups in Mexico and the pervading climate of impunity surrounding such crimes has led to an increase in violence against religious leaders. Many criminal groups view church leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, and their influence, as a threat to their power. Religious leaders continue to be threatened, kidnapped and killed, and a lack of proper investigation means perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.
Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Assist News Service
- Ask the Lord to comfort the loved ones of Pastor Canseco in their time of grief. Pray too for the members of the Fraternidad Cristiana church.
- Pray for Pastor Ruiz and his family. Pray the authorities will investigate his disappearance with great urgency. May there be word of him soon.
- Pray for the perpetrators of the crimes; may the Lord be at work to bring many to repentance and faith.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
Four protestant Christians were forcibly displaced on Sunday 28 July by leaders in the village of Cuamontax Huazalingo in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico.
Community leaders told the victims that the expulsion was the consequence of their failure to sign an agreement that bans Protestants from entering the village. Also because of a press conference held by their lawyer last week in which he accused the government of failing to act despite clear violations of freedom of religion or belief.
Community leaders attacked the homes of Gilberto Badillo, his adult son Uriel Badillo and their wives on 28 July while they were out. All their belongings were removed, and the doors and windows of the houses were broken to make them inhabitable. The family, who belong to the Baptist Missionary denomination, a registered religious association in Mexico, has sought refuge in a nearby city.
Despite ample warning that community leaders’ threats to forcibly displace the family were likely to be carried out, the government took no action to resolve the situation. Instead, state and regional religious affairs officials gave numerous interviews in which they blamed the Protestants for resisting being forced to participate in and contribute financially to Roman Catholic activities.
The forced displacement follows months of threats against the family. From November 2018 to April 2019 community leaders cut the electricity, running water and sewage services to the Protestants. In February they arbitrarily detained Gilberto Badillo and another Protestant villager, Gabriel Lara in an attempt to pressure them to sign an agreement that would compel them to participate in and contribute financially to all village activities. The activities included those of a religious nature, and explicitly prohibits the entry of Protestants to the village. Mr Lara signed the agreement, reportedly under duress, but Mr Badillo has refused to do so.
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of these believers, who wish to honour Him though they are greatly opposed.
- Pray that God would grant them wisdom and provision.
- Pray the witness of these Christians will be powerful and lasting in the village of Cuamontax Huazalingo.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
In a community dominated by members of the Wixárika tribe, many of whom still partake in pagan rituals (involving the use of a hallucinogenic drug) and sacrifices offered to their gods, remains a group of about 25 evangelical Christian converts.
Many other converted followers of Christ have faced alienation, eviction from their communities, and separation from their families for refusing to take part in the ancient tribal rituals.
Omar Rodriguez, who presides over a church in the Jalisco state capital of Guadalajara, supports persecuted Christians residing in the Tuxpan and Bolaño communities. “We are convicted that God gave us the Great Commission,” he explains. “When He said to go out to the whole world, that includes our indigenous friends and compatriots who also have a need to fill the emptiness in their hearts.”
The Christians are already taking proactive steps in order to build bridges. Newly elected tribal officials were recently invited to a believer’s home where food was graciously provided. They are hoping this kind gesture was received well and will help to build good relations with the new officials. Following this, another meeting had taken place on 8 April, giving the Christians an opportunity to discuss ways to ensure a more harmonious existence.
Mr Rodriguez says the meeting was a “very important” step and “could be the start of something.” There are signs of hope that, in time, Christian Wixárikas will be able to live peacefully amongst their fellow tribal people, especially those who are in desperate need of deliverance from spiritual bondage through the power of Jesus who is risen indeed!
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of this small group of believers. Pray the Lord will continue to bless them with a knowledge of His goodness, mercy and love for them.
- Thank the Lord for the opportunity to meet with community leaders. Pray for positive outcomes.
- Ask the Lord to use these believers as effective witnesses for the power of God’s word; may many members of the community come to know the Lord as a result.