In 2013 the make-up of the ministry both developed and changed with the accomodation of the new and formal office called the ASAP Base, where immediate and follow-up attention is given directly to the groups actually persecuted for their Evangelical faith. Luis Antonio Lopez Herrera as Director of Immediate Attention and Mediation, and his wife (Lolita) Maria Dolores Hernandez as accountant and Coordinator of Kids of Courage joined the team in April… Veronica Garcia as Coordinator of Family Workshops in the Women in the Breach program further developed her participation, as part of the complete team going into Indigena communities.
In this time period the entire atmosphere of persecution in Chiapas changed simply because of the absence of the previous legal teams or individuales for various reasons. Most of the groups were left without legal coverage and felt abandoned. One by one the groups began to look for us for aid and advice. Because of this, we were able, through a close and trusted collaboration, to start working through a status-quo-breaking mediation process, which left many government functionaries uncomfortable because of the working through of conflicts without money and resources changing hands. By the end of 2013, VDLM as back-up for Coordination of Chrisian Organizations, with several other selected ministries, was sharing the legal representation and support of some 38 groups.
The ASAP Base has become a second home, training centre and shelter for many of the persecuted brethern in the state of Chiapas. We would ask for your continued prayers of support in the following areas:
- Wisdom and guidance for the actual field team, and specifically its leader, Luis Herrera
- Increasing concern for the persecuted church in Chiapas, around Mexico, and on an international level
- Discernment, patience and maintaining a Christian testimony for those who are actually living the experience in the flesh…
- Provision of Funds and Resources for the VOM Mexico Office so as to be able to develop further programs that benefit our persecuted brethern, and to meet the basic needs of those who have los most of their physical possessions.
As of 2014 we have developed relationships of trust with 40+ of the 66 documented cases in Chiapas, with Luis Herrera the legal representative of 27 of them. We are not working through lawyers, as many of the groups suffered related abuses in the past, and we are working under a new system of mediation, disallowing illegal fines, commissions, and bribes which were so rife in prior years. Many in government and even Evangelical leadership are used to working in a manner of benefitting personally from each case, and making the government and community officials happy with the policy of re- locating Evangelical groups, completely ignoring the international treaty laws that prohibit the practice.
Please keep out team members in prayer, for their safety and wisdom in an area of ministry which puts them and their families at risk.