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Mexico: Children in Chiapas


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.

On one registration day, traditionalists with rocks and guns prevented evangelical children from entering a school. The students stayed out of school for the whole year.

The next year, they went to school in a house. After that, the evangelicals built a 12 foot by 20 foot shed as a school room. About 60 students were expected to attend school in the shed. Manuel was one of them.

Evangelical children have been forced out of school in several towns in Chiapas. A report from one town said three children were expelled from their elementary school. Then their parents were put in jail for 15 days! They were punished for their faith in Christ.

Ask God to help Manuel and others to continue serving Him, even when it is difficult. If you are able to go to school in peace, thank God for your freedom. Ask Him how you can use your freedom to do His will.

(Sources include: Associated Press, VOM sources)

To Try
Measure off a 12 foot by 20 foot space. Do you think you could fit 60 students in that space?



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