You may have seen reports of the murders of three people associated with the U.S. Consulate in Juárez, Mexico, earlier this month. Sadly, these are among the latest of thousands of murders in the city of Juárez and elsewhere in Mexico as the country battles drug traffickers. The weekend of the Consulate shootings, 28 other people were murdered in Juárez alone. Stunning doesn’t quite capture it; it’s devastating, a social shock to the people of Juárez.
We recently received some updates and prayer requests from Iglesia Gracia Soberana de Cd. Juárez, the Sovereign Grace church in that city, and wanted to pass them along to you. Will you join us in praying for believers in Juárez?
First, some more specifics. As Mexico’s war on the drug cartels continues, the city of Juárez is embroiled in violence. On average, at least seven people have been murdered every day since 2009, including more than 500 murders since January. The violence is not limited to those involved in drug trafficking—innocent bystanders, including children, are among those killed. In addition, the city is facing a crime wave in which anyone can be a target of kidnapping, armed robbery, and extortion.
This ongoing social catastrophe has far-reaching effects. About 5,000 businesses have closed, and some estimate that as much as 15–20% of the city’s population has left. Those who remain face the daily threat of ruthless violence.
Carlos Contreras is senior pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana de Cd. Juárez (Sovereign Grace Church of Juárez). For more than 20 years this church has been a faithful gospel witness in their city. They have trained a number of pastors and leaders and in 2006 planted another church in Aquascalientes, Mexico. And they’re continuing to preach the gospel faithfully in spite of the trials they’re facing.
After describing the violence in Juárez Carlos writes,
But there is good news also. The church in the city remains strong and has apparently become the only remaining source of hope for many people. We all pray and we pray a lot, and we pray boldly and we pray publicly for God to intervene in a miraculous way to change things and to do justice. But mostly we pray for revival and for the salvation of thousands.
Under the leadership of their pastoral team, Iglesia Gracia Soberana is taking the gospel to the streets. The most recent session of their Alpha class (an introductory class on the gospel) graduated 63 students, more than they’d ever had. The church is airing evangelistic programs on local TV. Earlier this month, 150 church members went to two busy intersections, handed out about 800 evangelistic tracts and about 200 New Testaments, and prayed for about 300 people. On Saturday they hit the streets again, handing out 6,000 invitations to church, 300 copies of the Gospel of John, and 200 New Testaments—and praying for 1,300 people.
My friends, this is authentic Christianity.
Carlos’s email continues,
What is most encouraging to me is to see our dear church steadfast in Christ while enduring faithfully in the midst of all this. Christ is certainly our solid rock, there is nothing more to trust in. Scripture has been our guiding light in the midst of great darkness and our fellowship is a constant source of joy and encouragement….My main job is to serve them by almost daily having the privilege of pointing their eyes to Christ and away from the despair surrounding us.
So here’s our appeal: Will you join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Juárez? Please pray…
• that God would grant wisdom and strength to Carlos Contreras and other pastors in Juárez
• that God would give sustaining grace to Iglesia Gracia Soberana and the other churches in this city
• that the gospel would be clearly preached and many would put their faith in Christ for forgiveness of sins
• that peace and justice would be restored to Juárez
Thank you for joining us in prayer.
For more about the Sovereign Grace churches in Juárez and Aguascalientes (as well as in Bolivia), see this 35-minute film produced in 2007.
If you’d like to support Sovereign Grace Ministries’ work outside the U.S., you can make a designated gift by clicking here.