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Cartel violence starts a bloody 2010 in Mexico

By January 13, 2010

Mexico (MNN) — Mexico opened 2010 with 69 murders in one
day. That's unprecedented in a country that has
been struggling with a sudden upward tic in violence. 

According to police reports, 283 people are believed to have died in drug-related violence in Mexico
in the first 10 days of this year. It's bad enough that the U.S. Department of
State issued a Travel Alert that will expire next month.

Does the unrest interfere with church planting work? Steve
Dresselhaus is senior director for Latin America for The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) says, "The vast majority of
the violence is cartel-on-cartel, or cartel against the military or the  police, so it's pretty much limited to those
groups.  Where it does become a problem
for us is a case of somebody being at the wrong place at the wrong
time." 

There was one case where a shooting occurred at a mall
where Dresselhaus' wife and daughter were shopping. Other than jangled nerves, they were
unharmed. Kidnappings are becoming part
of their "watch list," too. Another
close call came with a failed kidnapping on a team member.

Dresselhaus says while their teams are not directly targeted
by the cartels, it's clear they should not take chances with safety. "Each missionary family is
working on a contingency plan to know how to deal with the
situation." 

Holistic ministry goes a long way to evangelism and
discipleship. TEAM missionaries are
building solid churches in the midst of the despair of Baja's tourist
towns, such as in the capital of Baja, La Paz, and in Cabo San Lucas and San
Jose del Cabo. 

Since they've accomplished what they've set out to do along
the coast, Dresselhaus says they've set
their sights inland.

TEAM missionaries are also developing a network of cell
churches on the mainland of Mexico, in Guadalajara. "Next
month, we're sending a team of missionaries, national leaders from our
churches in Baja on an exploratory trip over to central Mexico to investigate
the possibilities of additional churches over there."

Keep praying safety for the teams and their families. Pray for open hearts to the Gospel, too. 

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