Hope for next generation bursts through drug violence

By August 11, 2011

Mexico (MNN) — Violence does not seem to be slowing down in drug-war infected areas of Mexico, but hope is moving in.

Last week, BBC News reports, two officers were killed by suspected drug traffickers in Ascension, Chihuahua. Following the murders, the town's entire police force resigned, fearing for their lives.

Simultaneously, two hours away in Juarez, Chihuahua–widely recognized as the most violent city in the world–dozens of teenagers were coming to Christ.

The Buckner International foster group home in Juarez has children who have been orphaned from drug violence. Other children have been moved elsewhere for protection from those who might come after them.

Many of the children can get discouraged and feel lonely, especially since the Americans who had been visiting them now are unable to do so, due to danger. Still, the kids are not only grasping onto hope, but spreading it.

Last year, the foster group created its first self-led Vacation Bible School, in which about 130 attended. This year, over 150 attended the VBS where they did crafts, had tournaments and relays, but ultimately found hope in the midst of turmoil.

"Sixty-three people accepted Christ as Savior," reports Buckner's Dexton Shores. "Most of those that attended this year were actually teenagers, which to me says something about the desperation that's there–that teenagers are looking for hope."

Teenagers didn't attend last year, most feeling too old for the event. But reaching teens this summer was a significant breakthrough. According to the El Paso Times, Mexican drug cartels have been known to recruit teenagers to carry out their operations. Teenagers armed with the Gospel not only lessens their chance of being roped into the drug wars, but provides hope that this next generation could be less violent.

Shores says, "We feel that the only hope for change to take place, for transformation to take place, is for them to be introduced to what it means to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ." And clearly, Buckner is doing this.

Buckner is also offering other life-giving opportunities to families in Juarez, Arcelia, Mexico City and Oaxaca through job training, after school programs and medical programs. Centering the country on Christ is providing the hope necessary to crawl out of poverty, which for some could mean the difference between getting wrapped up in drug trafficking or not.

You can help Buckner as they move forward in Mexico. Since only portions of the country are dangerous, you can even go on a trip with Buckner to lead Vacation Bible Schools, job training, medical teams, or a number of other outreaches. If your heart beats for the people of Mexico, click here and get involved.

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