Mexico (MNN) — Horror still surrounds the grisly ambush slayings even as relatives lay their loved ones to rest in La Mora, Sonora, Mexico.
Cartel gunmen slaughtered the three women and six children, all dual Mexican and American citizens, as they were traveling from Bavispe in the state of Sonora, Mexico—about 70 miles south of Douglas, Ariz.— to Janos, Chihuahua on Monday.
A combination of shock, outrage, and fear hangs like a miasma over the border region, even as authorities on both sides of the border struggle to explain mistaken identity, gang violence, and unrestrained lawlessness.
Answers to difficult questions
Keys For Kids’ Executive Director Greg Yoder says there is no easy answer in situations like these. “We keep hearing, ‘why is this happening? Why is this going on in Mexico? Why won’t the government take care of all these issues?’ The issue that we’re seeing is human nature. It’s called ‘sin,’ and apart from Christ, these kinds of things happen.”
Is it that simple? The answer to ‘sin nature’ seems pat at a time when a tragedy leaves two nations reeling. Yet, Yoder says, ‘sin nature’ is the very definition of what occurred this week in Mexico. “These are innocent people that are being gunned down because of sin– selfishness. People that want money, (they) want to control, (they) want power, and the only thing that’s going to change their hearts is a heart change. And of course, we’re talking about faith in Christ alone, that the changes that.”
From despair to hope
Keys For Kids encourages people who are visiting Mexico or who have ministry in Latin America to contact them for resources they can take with them. “As we share stories that are pointing families to Christ, they’re going to come to know Jesus. As they come to know Jesus, hearts change. As they get discipled, they become multipliers of their faith, and THAT’S when you start seeing things change.”
Keys For Kids Ministries offers resources in six languages, including Spanish. There’s also a Spanish website where people can sign up for similar resources (daily devotionals, quarterlies, and Storytellers) offered in English.
Yoder focused on the Storytellers because many Latin Americans are oral learners, meaning they would rather listen to a story than to read it. The solar-powered units contain around 80-hours of content—both Scripture and illustrative stories— that Storyteller group leaders can use with kids.
“We’re finding that as we pass out to these Storytellers, that kids are coming to know Christ; moms and dads start seeing a change in their kids, and they want to know why. Then they want to come to listen to it, and churches are being planted because of it.”
Find your place in the story
Each Storyteller unit costs $40, and Keys For Kids raises funds to help sponsor distribution. That’s one way to get involved. However, another effective way to be part of the solution is to pray. “Be praying, first of all, that the situation in Mexico– the people will rise and begin sharing their faith. (Pray) that there would be miraculous encounters with some of these gang members, these drug cartel members, that as we’ve been praying for terrorists in the Middle East to come to Jesus, we need to be praying for these cartel groups leaders, too, that they’ll come to Christ.”
Equating the cartel members to the terrorists plaguing the Middle East and North Africa may seem harsh, but the search for significance links them. “Many of the people who are joining these drug cartels are people that are looking for something; they’re looking for some kind of ‘belonging.’ What better belonging could you have (than) to belong to the body of Christ?”
Unfortunately, there are no instant fixes to the problem of a fallen world. However, there is hope. “As we’re able to reach kids who are looking for spiritual truth with THE Truth that’s found in Christ alone, we’ll begin seeing change. I think that’s what we need to take away from this: praying for the situation, investing in those people who are doing the work in Mexico, and other Latin American countries.”
Headline photo courtesy Martin D/Flickr/CC