Mexico (MNN) — A U.S. missionary died at a southern Texas
hospital Wednesday after the truck she and her husband were in ran afoul of a
drug cartel checkpoint.
Nancy Davis, 59, died in a McAllen hospital about an hour
and a half after their encounter with gunmen in a pickup truck. Sam Davis told authorities they were about
70 miles south of the border when they sped through the checkpoint, prompting a
chase and gunfire, where Nancy was struck in the head.
The couple, originally from Indiana, had a ministry in
Mexico. The increasing security
concerns prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a travel warning.
Jorge Zapata with Buckner International is the Border
Ministries Director. He says, "There's
a lot of ministry that we used to do in Mexico, but because of the violence, we
are protecting the mission groups."
As the stories hit the headlines, there are short-term
missionary teams who are feeling the bite. At least one agency reported a
direct correlation between the drop-off in teams to Mexico and the increased
But fewer teams available for taking the Gospel do not
lessen the spiritual needs or the overwhelming poverty.
Zapata says working with the colonias on the U.S.
side opens a lot of doors. "We are
having more mission groups coming to our ministry because of the violence that's
occurring in Mexico. More mission groups
are finding out that Buckner is doing ministry on the Texas side with families living
in poverty and doing ministry with local communities."
In essence, teams can do what they would have done across
the border in Mexico, but now it's done on the U.S. side. "We are working with local ministries and
local authorities with 32 community centers along the border, from Brownsville,
Texas all the way to El Paso, next door to Mexico. Mission groups feel safe and secure because
even our local security people are increasing their security when mission groups
come to the border."
Safety is of the highest importance, especially in light of
the latest news reports. Working from
the U.S. side, Zapata says they can focus on what really needs to be addressed
in the colonias, without distractions. Pray for safety for their team. Pray for wisdom too, because "on the spiritual side,
revival is occurring. We have churches that are growing because people are
coming to Christ because of the need they're going through."