Published on February 1st, 2008
Manuel Mendez was 12 years old. He was in the first grade at a school in Chiapas, Mexico.
Manuel was still in first grade because he had been expelled so many times. He struggled to stay in school.
Getting an education was important to him. “I want to be a teacher,” said Manuel, “so I can teach my mother and father how to read.” (Many adults in Chiapas never had the chance to go to school or to learn to read.)
Manuel had not been expelled for bad behavior. Instead, he was one of many children who had not been allowed to stay in school because of his parents’ faith.
Over the past few years, traditionalists have stopped evangelical children from registering for school, or have gotten them expelled. Traditionalists follow some Catholic teachings mixed with unbiblical practices of the ancient Mayan religion. Evangelicals believe in the truth of the Bible and in sharing the Good News of Jesus with others.