IN FOCUS: Violence-plagued Juarez needs hope

Randel Everett

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Violence continues in Juarez, Mexico. Drug-related killings declined to about one per day after the number of soldiers patrolling the streets was increased in March. But a recent Associated Press article reported the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office said killings in Juarez had risen again to an average of eight to nine per day.

This neighbor city to El Paso has become one of the most dangerous places in the world. There are 44 Baptist churches in Juarez who need our prayers and support.

The churches in El Paso continue to partner with their Baptist brothers and sisters with prayer, theological education, counseling and evangelism projects. Can Texas Baptists do more?

Randel Everett

Charles R. Hurst, a physician from First Baptist Church of Tyler, has been burdened by the Juarez situation and is working closely with the churches in both cities to help link Texas and Mexican Baptist churches. He suggested, “The lynchpin of this plan is to connect several Texas churches with each Juarez Baptist Church. An equal thrust is to ask Texas churches to give $1 per member for gospel CDs to be distributed in Juarez. These efforts will bring improved morale and empowerment of our Juarez bothers, and God’s word will be spread to a city besieged by Satan.”

Would 10 BGCT churches commit to being prayer partners with each of the 44 Juarez Baptist churches? Four hundred forty churches is less than 10 percent of our churches, yet this could have a significant impact.

If a church wishes to be a prayer partner with one of these churches, please contact Josue Valerio, the missions mobilization director with the BGCT.

In August, El Paso Association will be the first in Texas to distribute the multimedia CD gospel presentation to every household in the county. Juarez churches want to join them in reaching out to their communities. The CDs are in English and Spanish and share dramatic testimonies of lives that have been changed by Christ.

According to the president of the Baptist association in Juarez, Hugo Mendez, close to 50 percent of the population has computers, and this CD with the option to download the New Testament is a great tool for the Baptists in Juarez to evangelize this great city.

The governments in Texas and Mexico must do everything possible to curb the violence. Much of the demand for drugs and prostitution, as well as the weapons used in the killings, comes from our side of the border. Yet primarily, this is a spiritual problem. Only God can transform lives. As Dr. Hurst has indicated, Juarez is a city besieged by Satan.

The need is urgent. Our Mexican brothers and sisters need our prayers and encouragement now. Neither the border nor the river, nor even the forces of darkness, can stop the hope of the gospel. We need churches that will pray and share with these 44 sister churches in Juarez and ask God to bring hope out of sorrow.

 –Randel Everett is executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board.

 


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