Persecution postpones project, Audio Scripture Ministries looks ahead to future ministry.

By November 24, 2006

Mexico (MNN) — The state of Oaxaca in Mexico is “out on the fringes of government control,” reports Tom Dudenhofer of Audio Scripture Ministries. Up till recently, the ongoing unrest was considered a state issue, but the national government stepped in to send troops to help calm the situaiton.

That unrest is affecting ASM’s plans and hindering ministry work in that region of Southern Mexico.

Many people are being stirred up by the leaders of the demonstrations. That poses a danger for outsiders who disturb anything that’s outside the normal everyday life. Dudenhofer says, “A lot of the villagers don’t understand a lot of the issues; they’ve just been told to be upset.”

In light of the current situation, Audio Scripture Ministries reevaluated the intended project to study persecution against Christians in that region and were forced to postpone their plans. Dudenhofer explains, “Visits to the villages in some of these areas are risky anyway, without the unrest. There’s some antagonism toward Christianity in general, outsiders in particular. But when the unrest began in Oaxaca, we had to cancel pretty much just everything across the board, because it’s just even difficult to make it through the city, much less begin a project out in the field under these conditions.”

It’s a much-needed project for an area that has faced ongoing trouble, says Dudenhofer. “The persecution is well-known by the people that live in the area. There are entire small villages that have been forced to leave their larger villages because they were Christians. And this has happened a number of times over the past 20 years. So this is not an unknown phenomena; it’s an unreported phenomena in this particular part of the world.”

How bad is the persecution? Dudenhofer says that the levels of persecution vary with each community, but many communities will find any excuse to drive out the Christians, even things that “disturb the social and cultural life of the village.”

It’s a tense situation, and believers need support and encouragement. Because of that, Dudenhofer says, “A good prayer request would be that law and order would be restored. And then once law and order is restored, that the work of sharing God’s Word to these people in these widely dispersed areas in this part of Mexico would go on and would bear fruit.”

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