By Open Doors 3 July 2024 4 MIN

Mexico | Growing Wave of Violence Facing Christians

Forced displacement, death threats, and torture are some of the consequences that Christians in Mexico face when they live in areas dominated by drug cartels in the country. In just five months, Open Doors recorded 57 incidents related to organised crime affecting members of the persecuted church in the country.

Children Considered to be Human Resource for Cartels

The violence in Mexico has spread throughout the country. From north to south, the news is filled with reports of kidnappings, shootings, clandestine graves, and endless red notices (a journalistic genre dedicated to covering bloodshed) that mark the beginning of each day. While Mexicans have normalised life in such a hostile environment as cartel-controlled regions, evangelical Christians have found it particularly difficult to live out their faith in these areas.

According to the research department of Open Doors Mexico, 57 incidents provoked by organised crime have been recorded in just five months, highlighting the vulnerability of believers in the face of the growing wave of violence in the country. These incidents range from intimidation and extortion to direct attacks on houses of worship and their leaders.

Marcos Lara*, a missionary in the Jalisco region, shares, “We are being watched because the children we serve are considered a possible human resource for the cartels, so they may see the teaching group as a threat to their interests.”

“This is a problem for us as missionaries, because we have to think of strategies that allow us to fulfill the Great Commission and at the same time take care of our physical integrity and the integrity of our families,” Marcos adds.

Ghost Towns

Another common scenario for evangelical Christians is displacement, as the level of violence forces them to leave their homes and ministries to protect their lives.

In Chiapas state, more than 3,000 people have left their homes because of the constant clashes between criminal groups fighting for territory, including Christians. The same situation has caused more than 100 evangelical churches to close their doors to protect the safety of pastors and believers.

Jorge Jiménez*, Open Doors’ researcher, believes that this situation could worsen in the coming months. “It is expected that the number of incidents motivated by this factor will increase significantly in the current period due to the increase in violence in the country caused by territorial disputes between cartels and in the context of the 2024 presidential elections,” adds Jorge.

Pray for Mexico

  • Pray for the protection of Christians who are vulnerable to the hostility and violence of gangs.
  • Pray for the leaders of indigenous groups, that they will see value in Christians in their communities.
  • Ask God to strengthen and encourage the Christian communities in Mexico.

*Names changed for security reasons. 

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