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Mexico: Refugees for the Lord

Mexico

Refugee: A person who flees, or is forced out of, a place of danger to them. The refugee settles in a safer place.

Vicente and Gerardo were in trouble. The traditionalists in their town in Chiapas, Mexico were planning another festival.

“Traditionalists” in Chiapas follow some Catholic teachings. But they mix those teachings with superstitious practices from the ancient Mayan religion. The Bible does not speak well of such practices (Isaiah 47:12–15; Daniel 1:20).

The traditionalists hold 13 festivals a year. They demand that the townspeople pay a “tax” to help them buy liquor and supplies for the festivals.

Vicente and Gerardo are not traditionalists. They refused to pay the 350 peso tax for the festival, because they did not think the festival honored God. (The 350 pesos would equal about $33 in U.S. money.)

One of the town leaders said Vicente and Gerardo had to pay the tax. Vicente asked if there was a law that said they had to pay. The man answered, “There is no law, but what we do in this town is make our own laws.”

Then the town officials locked up Vicente and Gerardo in a small jail. The jail was like a shed. “The two of us only had enough room to move our feet,” said Vicente. “We didn’t have enough room to lie down.”

The officials chained and padlocked the door shut. They did not give Vicente and Gerardo food or water for almost three days.

A group of evangelicals came to the jail and helped get the brothers released. Evangelicals, like Vicente and Gerardo, believe in the truth of the Bible and in sharing the Good News of Jesus with others. Traditionalists in Chiapas often persecute evangelicals. The traditionalists even burned down some evangelicals’ homes and churches.

Vicente and Gerardo, along with their parents, brothers, and sisters were forced out of the town and their property was taken away. Now they live as refugees in another town. Sometimes it is hard for them to get enough food to eat in their new location.

But Vicente and Gerardo know that no one can take Jesus from their hearts. Thomas, a Christian in Chiapas whose home church was burned, said, “They can take my clothes and all my property. But they cannot burn Christ and the church from our hearts. We are in God’s hands.”

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39, NIV).


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