Local Missionaries in Mexico
Nearly three times the size of Texas, Mexico is comprised of rugged mountains, coastal plains, and desert. Its western coast runs along the Ring of Fire in the Pacific, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters. On its eastern coast, Mexico shares the Yucatan Peninsula, which divides the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea, with the southern bordering countries of Guatemala and Belize.
Though Mexico has the 11th largest economy in the world, many Mexicans are underemployed, earn low wages, and have few opportunities to advance in their jobs. Despite this reality, thousands of migrants from Central America cross the border to find work in Mexico.
Mexico is a major drug-producing nation—it is the world’s third largest producer of opium—and drug-transit nation, as drugs are trafficked from South America into the United States.
Nearly 89% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic. Most practice a blend of Catholicism and animism. Christian Aid Mission assists indigenous ministries that are reaching the many tribal communities in Mexico that have no understanding of the gospel.
One such ministry works in Oaxaca State, the most ethnically diverse entity in the world. In one 36-square-mile area of the state, more than 200 languages and dialects are spoken. Half of the indigenous language-speaking people in Oaxaca do not speak Spanish. For centuries, Oaxaca has escaped all foreign influence, including the Spanish conquest, and is an exceptionally difficult mission field. Outsiders are treated with suspicion and even hostility.
The ministry helps train and place native missionaries in tribal communities as carpenters, bakers, literacy teachers, etc. Christian Aid Mission provided them with funding to open a carpentry shop so that missionaries could make connections with a tribal community by equipping poor villagers with an income-generating skill.
The native missionaries either know or learn the tribal languages to build relationships and share the gospel in villagers’ mother tongue. They then translate portions of Scripture from Spanish to the tribal language. The ministry has planted several churches among tribal groups and reports significant changes among these groups. In one of those groups, where women were frequently abused by their husbands, the ministry leader wrote, “The beating of women has dropped significantly. Best of all, the authorities are supporting our work.”
Another indigenous Mexican ministry is working to translate the Bible into the languages of 22 tribal groups. The leader of this ministry reports, “Through this type of ministry we have been able to see during the last 20 years that the ethnic peoples are redeemed for God, receive dignity, education, inclusion in different areas. It is wonderful to see the miracle of redemption in ethnic indigenous peoples and how they are dignified through the Word of God in their own languages.”
Sources: Joshua Project, CIA World Factbook, Etnopedia
How to Pray for
- Pray that the gospel of Jesus Christ would take root among ethnic tribal groups that have lived in darkness apart from the Savior for thousands of years.
- Pray for protection and provision for the native missionaries who are risking their safety and sacrificing their comfort to work among ethnic groups that are hostile toward outsiders.
- Pray for the new churches—the first ever churches—planted among ethnic groups, that they would grow and flourish and be grounded in the Word of God.
More stories from Mexico
A 17-year-old tribal boy was carrying deep resentment over abuse he suffered from his parents and was beginning to rebel. Family members of a native Christian worker recently shared the gospel with him, and he put his faith in Christ. He learned to forgive his parents and felt a great weight lifted from him.
Two indigenous families in rural Mexico had no inkling of God’s existence until they heard audio recordings of the Gospel of Mark in their tribal language. “When listening to our audios in their language, something changed in them,” the leader of a native ministry said. “These families have changed their way of being and thinking.” The two families recently put their faith in Christ and have begun attending church services.
A native Christian worker is visiting a town that is very closed to the gospel in order to reach people from his own ethnic group. “He is constantly visiting that community with the purpose of raising a church,” the ministry leader said. Workers are bringing the Good News to another ethnic group in two towns that have become open to their visits.
An alcoholic who burglarized the home of a native Christian worker later threatened him so severely that he had to leave town with his family for a few days. The aggressor himself was later forced to leave the area because of his violent ways, and he became so emotionally distraught that he sought the worker’s help.
Translators of the Bible into 26 indigenous languages also produce and distribute various materials to help build the kingdom. Workers at one ministry who translated all four Gospels into an indigenous language provided 1,000 copies to tribal people.