Mexico missions affected by violence

By December 2, 2010

Mexico (MNN) — Drug violence continues to spread fear in Mexico. Monday, Chief of Police Hermila Garcia, 38, was shot on her way to work by a convoy of gunmen. Garcia, a trained lawyer, took the job as police chief on Oct. 9 in the town of Meoqui, in drug violence-ridden Chihuahua state.

Yesterday, an unidentified American woman was killed in drug-related violence in Juarez. That makes 36 American who have been killed this year in Juarez alone.

The violence is also affecting the city of Monterrey, where missionaries Jon and Jeanne Herrin are working with The Mission Society. Jon says, "The murder rate in Monterrey is still lower than some U.S. cities, but the incredible thing is that just three years ago Monterrey was slated as the safest city in Latin America."

However, Herrin says that's not the case anymore. "The violence here has increased rapidly and to an amazing level over what they've known in the past. An, it's thrown the people here into a great deal of fear, understandably. There's unrest in their souls and in their lives. It's changed the way the city moves and operates."

Jon teaches at a seminary in Monterrey, while his wife teaches at a Christian high school.

In terms of ministry, Jon says the violence has affected their work in a couple of ways. "We've had to change some of the things we do and move them to the weekends. Nothing has absolutely stopped the work, but it has made us pull back and change the way we do things."

Jon says mission teams have also been affected. "A lot of mission teams have canceled in the last couple of years. We want folks to keep coming and helping. The harvest here is absolutely huge, and we need help. There is a reason to be a little bit afraid, but we're hoping Christians won't abandon the city because of what they see in the news."

While Jon isn't giving thanks for the violence, he says, "It allows us to enter lives in ways we haven't before. Because of the unrest and fears in people's lives, they are looking for answers like they haven't before. So we see that, in fact, the city is opening up to the Gospel more than it has in the past."

Jon is teaching about 60 students on the main campus and over 300 students by extension. He's asking you to pray that they'll learn to be effective ministers of the Gospel and use what they've learned practically to help many come to Christ.

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