2013. A new alliance of some 12 protestant church groups held their first ever Evangelical march and crusade in Huixtan Chiapas last weekend. Pastor Severino here, was expelled over 20 years ago from his community, and his church destroyed. The man responsible asked for his forgiveness several months ago, and opened the door for the work to begin again. Please keep these brothers and their congregations in prayer… for wisdom and discernment in sharing the Good News in such a way that gains souls and mutual respect, and not more violence against them.
UPDATE 2013-2014: both directors of VOM Mexico began attending the Huixtan Alliance monthly meetings, and in this manner both forged relationships with many of the municipal pastors and their congregations, and for 2013 developed community projects using our Family Workshop Leader Veronica, and complemented with the Kids of Courage Leader Lolita, making our monthly community visits a team VOM project. Communities visited on a regular basis were Lopez Mateo, Chempil, San Antonio, San Gregorio, and Zitim.
The Alliance progressed with a few bumps in the road during the year… habits of intolerance and impunity are hard to let go of. This past year the Alliance asked for permission for their second march and Evangelistic campaign in the center of town, which was granted begrudgingly. All appeared to go well, although there was an atmospshere of tenseness. We learned that the second day, the parish priest went to see the Religious Affairs Director in the city, armed with petitions from the Catholic Church, and some of their prominent citizens to insist that the permission be cancelled since the Catholic authorities deemed the Evangelistic Campaign an afront, and claimed it wouldn’t be responsible for the violence it was sure to cause. Thankfully, the government official in the office at the time, denied the exisitence of any legitimate authority aside from those elected and lectured the priest and his people about the constitutional rights of religious freedom. It was a first, and a very welcome step. The government official deserves recognition for doing the job designated, inspite of pressure from superiors in Religious Affairs, but given the situation and the risk it would represent, we would ask you to keep this person in prayer for continued courage and blessing.
The cases in the municipality still have not been resolved and the fact that the EZLN is again moving its autonomous communities to protest various government programs means that the situation remains delicate, until the problem is treated at it’s roots. The autonomous communities use their afiliation with the EZLN (Zapatista Movement) for their convenience in excluding Evangelicals from their communities.
The unresolved cases are Chilil with 30+ persons, expelled since November of 2009, and covered in Greg Mussulman’s book: “Closer to the Fire”, and the communities of San Gregorio and Zitim which we work with through a Reconciliation Project for women with the donation of sewing machines from the VOMC office.