If you keep up with the news these days, you know about the persecution and killing of Christian pastors and laypeople all over the world. The situation seems to be escalating, but the more who are persecuted, the more the witness goes out, and the light shines brighter for Christ. Through the ages, God's people have proclaimed the Gospel despite the risks. Mexico sounds so close to us, yet there is an ongoing struggle to keep Christ before the people. Please read this testimony of what one person can do from a layman, Craig Younkers, who is a member of River Hills Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, where Bill Simmons is pastor.
My wife, Elizabeth, is from Mexico, and my focus turned to that area when I realized that my mother-in-law did not know Christ. After being involved in our church's evangelism program, my focus changed, and I became more aware of others' spiritual condition. My sister-in-law is in Mexico, and her pastor speaks English, which made all the difference in the world in allowing me to introduce a great evangelism program to him. He became excited, and the rest, as they say, is history — with a great beginning!
Mexico is at a unique point in history. The cartel wars have taken a toll on the people, and in some areas it has reached the point that even non-Christians are beginning to say, "Only God can fix our country's problems." Our Christian brothers and sisters in Mexico realize that their national situation presents tremendous opportunities for obeying Matthew 28:18-20. Many pastors are looking at how best to deal with the situation. This is where POR-FE (an evangelism program in Spanish) comes in. It provides the opportunity for Christians to make a commitment to God, their church, and themselves to pray and study how to live a Great Commission lifestyle. Bluntly, it teaches Christians how to tell the lost about Jesus using Scripture.
In 2009, we led an evangelism clinic, involving more than fifteen churches in Mexico, and God blessed; at last count more than fifty people had prayed to receive Jesus. Then Pastor Pedro invited us to set up a booth at the Mexican National Convention in October 2010 so we could explain the evangelistic strategy. To say the least, I was very excited about what God had in store for them.
My job at the Mexican National Baptist Convention was simply to explain this program, and our booth was a big success. I met pastors ranging from the Texas border to the Guatemala border, and from the Pacific to the Gulf.
Pastor Gomez is located at ground zero for the cartels in their all-out war. These days, one of his pastoral roles is as hostage negotiator. He saw what God can do when people learn a witnessing/evangelism program and has asked for further support. This is where you come in: please be in prayer for these pastors and brothers in Christ who are ministering and witnessing in dangerous situations. They are determined to spread the Gospel because they know that change can only come through knowing Jesus Christ personally.
Another pastor from a military town has also expressed a desire to reach out using this evangelistic strategy in a family support role. Brother Roberto is from a town close to Mexico City and he has also requested, through Brother Pedro, to have a clinic in his area. More than twenty-five people, representing churches from across the country, have requested follow-up, ranging from more information to presenting a clinic in their church.
The U.S. State Department has issued warnings for travel in Mexico, but rest assured that God has His people on the job, and now some of them are armed with POR-FE. There are thousands involved in criminal activity there; each one is different, but they are all the same in one way — each one is lost. Please pray that they will receive the Word, and please pray for those brave brothers and sisters who will be presenting the Word.
God will always have a voice, but He has chosen to use us as His spokespeople. Won't you recommit to sharing your faith and being a stronger witness for Christ? And please pray for these brothers and sisters in Mexico as they witness for Christ.
Bobby H. Welch is pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the SBC Executive Committee, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.