Mexico (MNN) — The discovery of 49 headless bodies in Monterrey, Mexico is further proof that drug war violence is only getting worse.
The deaths of the 43 men and six women found dead–headless and handless near a roadside in Monterrey–have been blamed on a cartel called the Zetas, a major drug trafficking group fighting a war for a route to the United States. The Zetas have been responsible for a number of similarly brutal attacks.
In the six-year war, over 50,000 people have been killed, but lately things have been heating up to a faster pace of violence.
"We definitely have seen a whole lot more activity between the drug cartels over the last 30 days or so," agrees Todd Szalkowski with E3 Partners.
Some have speculated that the rise in violence could be a result of the upcoming presidential elections to be held on July 1. But Szalkowski says not only is it unlikely that the drug cartels care about anything besides their drug routes, but it is doubtful that the elections will impact the cartels much at all.
"It doesn't appear that anyone in any of the parties that are vying for the presidency have any kind of plan whatsoever to address the drug violence," says Szalkowski.
Understandably, fear and lack of hope have swept over many regions of Mexico. The cartels' violent acts are usually directed against each other rather than civilians, but many cartel members are not even willing participants. Many have joined by necessity when cartels threaten them or their families, in turn placing targets on their backs for further attacks.
Szalkowski says, "We feel a great deal of urgency right now because so many are dying in the violence by participating directly, being innocent bystanders, or being sucked into the drug wars unwillingly. So there is an urgency to our work to try to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible."
Increasing violence and little hope even post-election for this six-year terror have created a more vital need than ever to spread the saving message of Christ throughout Mexico. But cartel threats combined with a few direct attacks against Christians have ignited fear in the hearts of many believers. Christians are often afraid to meet in a church setting.
E3 Partners continues to train small group leaders, though, and small discipleship groups are popping up across the country. They're growing, too.
Mexico is in serious need of prayer at present. Pray for open hearts and minds as E3's I Am Second groups reach out to other fearful countrymen. Pray also that small group leaders would be bold in sharing about the Prince of Peace with their neighbors.