Cases of religious intolerance leading to actual typical persecution of the brethren in Mexico occur in the following states: Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Guerrero, Mexico state. Puebla, Hidalgo, Jalisco, and Nayarit… normally in rural, traditional, and Indigena areas, although major cities are now documented as being hotbeds of religious intolerance and the opinion that those who do not profess the majority religion, Roman Catholicism, are not Mexicans, are divisive and should not have rights to practice a distinctive faith.
The persecution comes from family members, community authorities, the local or overseeing Traditionalist and Catholic Church, Marxist groups such as the FLNS, and the EZLN, Zapatista Movement; it is often facilitated by a Roman Catholic hierarchy and catequists assigned to oversee and teach doctrine in specific regions, discriminatory and ineffective Religious Affairs and actual government / political system allied with the powerful and their specific interests.
Evangelical or non Catholic believers are required to participate and pay for the many religious festivals in their communities, take positions that require them to serve in the majority church or forfeit their rights, schooling of their children, and also their animals and lands. Several Pastors and leaders with family members have been killed in the past few years, while many threats and actual expulsions take place without any complaint being filed.
There were in 2014 66 + documented group cases just in Chiapas, with several of those in San Cristobal de las Casas. The government had provided housing for some, others are on their own. In spite of cases winning decrees for the National Commission of Human Rights, facilitating the return to their communities has not been complied with by the government, which prefers to keep the peace and status quo by relocating the Evangelicals, against their will… a practice not permitted by international treaties of the UN. Our Mission is developing relationships of trust with a number of those in Chiapas, Nayarit, Jalisco, Oaxaca, and Hidalgo and in some other northern states. Various cases that now require that groups be relocated because of the adamant hostility against them and their rightful return leaves at least 3 groups in the air… and abandoned. Chilil still waiting for final liquidation of government debts and reparations for their losses, and the re location of groups from los Llanos and Yashtinin,,, both close to the city of San Cristobal de las Casas.
VOM in Mexico actually started through the interest of several Christians from different states of Mexico, who contacted and then collaborated with the VOM office in Costa Rica, then the only Spanish publishing VOM Office to relate to. VOM offices in Canada, the USA, and Costa Rica had carried on their own projects in Mexico for over 20 years. With the combined efforts of several Mexican nationals, and an American who had lived in Mexico some years, new life was put into the work from 2002 on when interest in the Chihuahua region and Mazatlan Sinaloa started sharing VOM material where they were located. Later in 2004, with the opportunity to offer several VOM Mission Conferences out of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, collaboration began which led to the first VOM activities in Ocosingo Chiapas… area Zapatista.
Within several years the request was made by the Mexican group to form an Independent Mission, actually certified at the end of 2009. Since the beginning, a number of well known Christian activists, lawyers and ministry leaders have participated in the still developing ministry.
Leadership responsibility in establishing the ministry according to VOM ICA guidelines and goals has been principally in the hands of the bilingual American Director until 2013, when a formal Mexican team was established in San Cristobal de las Casas, in the ASAP Base… with a distinctly Mexican disposition and flavor.
Participants in planting the work have been from Chihuahua, San Luis Rio Colorado, Guadalajara, Mazatlan, Mexico City, Puebla, Nayarit, and Chiapas… with several friends outside of Mexico who have supported and accompanied us in the process of becoming an independent and self sustaining office. The formation of the Civil Association was completed in June of 2014, with the ministry functioning well, albeit on a small scale, since 2008.
The year 2012 saw the establishment of the first basic ASAP Base in Chiapas where the majority of cases occur… with the initial VOM Mexico Center / Office situated in a small town outside of Mazatlan where the ministry first came to be looked at as an Mexican work.
Please keep our sites and the development of staff in your prayers.
We are still short of being financially independent, with operating and outreach ministry costs still carried by the team itself, a small number of donors, and several supportive Evangelical organizations collaborating closely.
We have a reputation for personally working with the persecuted church in Mexico, responding to their needs as possible, and for sharing information and their prayer needs in a bilingual format. We have truly been able to become A Voice for Those Who Don’t Have One, and consider ourselves privileged and blessed for the relationships of love and confidence developed in the past ten years here.
Founder: Linda Joy Picard