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Displaced Christians from Buenavista
Bahuitz village in Mexico, praising God.

Local authorities in Chiapas recently issued an official warning to Pastor Antonio Cruz Rodas, ordering him to stop evangelizing in the area. Pastor Rodas has also received death threats. The official document issued by authorities read, "Today we strongly state total prohibition of access to people (who) profess any religion different than the one in our community." Most people in the area practise "folk Catholicism," a syncretistic blend of Catholicism and indigenous practices. While Pastor Rodas says he is not afraid of being killed, VOM contacts have asked that we pray for his continued ministry in this hostile area. Three families have come to faith in Christ, and the pastor has planted two churches in communities similar to this one.

Meanwhile, another group of 47 evangelical Christians were recently refused re-entry into their village. The believers, who were forcibly expelled from Buenavista Bahuitz village in 2012, were initially told that they could only return to their homes if they converted to this folk form of Catholicism and participated in the community's odd religious activities. After receiving verbal commitments from the state government that the situation would be addressed, the believers set out for the village in the early hours of January 20th by bus, accompanied by some state government officials.

Upon arrival at Buenavista Bahuitz, the village leaders again demanded that the evangelicals convert in order for permission to be granted. The government officials present were reportedly taken by surprise by the village leaders' stance. Negotiations were held on the spot, and the village leaders eventually agreed to allow the evangelicals to reside in the community if they paid a very high fine. The group declined and went instead to the capital of Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutierrez, where they sought refuge at a church. At last report, the believers remained at the church and were receiving assistance from the government and churches in the city. Other evangelical groups have faced similar forced displacements throughout the state in recent months.

In the midst of opposition and hostility, pray that God will richly bless His suffering children in the Chiapas state with His peace and provision. Specifically, may He strengthen these believers with a deep and secure faith that will serve to extinguish the fiery arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). Ask God to grant courage and wisdom to Pastor Rodas as he continues in ministry. Also request that the displaced believers will be permitted to return to their homes very soon. Finally, pray that any future attempts made by opposing authorities or villagers to stifle the Gospel will fail, and that instead the church in this area will grow exponentially in both faithfulness and number.

To learn more about the persecuted church in Mexico, read our Country Report.

Country Information

Population
130,207,371 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) (62), Predominantly Amerindian (21), Amerindian (7), other (10)

Religion (%)
Roman Catholic/Syncretism (78) Evangelical (11.2) unaffiliated (10.6)

Leader
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (2018)

Government type
Federal presidential republic

Legal system
Civil law system with US constitutional law influence; judicial review of legislative acts

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Mexico

Pray that the Christians residing within these regions will exemplify the grace of God toward those who oppose them. May these believers be further strengthened and encouraged to continue faithfully sharing the Gospel and demonstrating the love of Jesus. Ask the Lord to abundantly bless and multiply their efforts, resulting in a great harvest of lasting spiritual fruit in the lives of those within their communities and beyond – impacting the nation of Mexico as a whole.

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