BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS
August 25, 2012
Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Cuernavaca, Mexico for a short term mission trip. Cuernavaca is known as the City of Eternal Spring, for its year round spring like weather. It is a mixture of both rural and metropolitan areas, and draws many to its rich cultural heritage. The area has many ruins of indigenous people groups, including those where human sacrifices occurred. Conquistador Hernan Cortes, known for his conquest of Mexico, and the Aztecs and Mayans came to retire there in the 1530’s and 40’s. Cuernavaca was an early battleground as the violence of the drug cartel’s swept into parts of Mexico. Overlooked by the media, an unprecedented number of evangelical pastors and churches locked arms and united in prayer against the drug cartels in Cuernavaca. Soon after, many of the key leaders were captured and brought to justice in the area. Notwithstanding, during my stay a gang of a dozen armed men had attacked a local church retreat, 98 miles from where I was, raping seven women and terrorizing many other campers for hours. They continue to need our prayers. It is within this cultural backdrop that we partnered with a local church, and an established missionary family, to encourage and strengthen them to stand strong under difficult circumstances and turmoil.
The first Sunday we visited the church of Felipe Gil, pastor of Ministerios De Poder Jesus El Senor (Power Ministries, Jesus is Lord), a church focusing on liberation and freedom in Christ. Despite the language barrier between those of us with limited Spanish, and the congregation, we were all able to lift our voices in one accord in Spirit and in truth. It was inspiring to see the people crying out and begging for God to have mercy on them and to heal their land. I was touched by their ability to have a peace that the Bible describes as, “passing all understanding.” They lived in stark contrast to our American culture lavished with so much, yet so anxious and stressed. Here were people that had very little economically yet had a genuine and solid peace with no human explanation.
A very memorable experience for me was when we visited the home of mentally ill women run by a local Christian family. Free from government assistance, they provide food, housing and care for these women, restoring them so that they can someday rejoin society. We were able to set up beauty stations for the women, with teams assigned to do their nails, hair, and makeup. As a physical therapist, I was assigned to the foot washing and foot massage group. It was humbling, yet rewarding to see these women, created in the image of God treated with compassion and dignity, and see their faces shine with joy, and feelings of acceptance.
Many in our group were most touched by our experience at a local orphanage, where we played games including a competitive soccer game. The orphans at this particular home could not be adopted, but I was reminded of God’s love for the fatherless, and His call to care for the orphans and the widows. I was thankful to see people taking it upon themselves to see that these little ones were cared for and shown love and given structure and role models.
The most sobering time of my trip was when he hiked up to ancient ruins in the town of Tepoztlan, where at one time, human beings were sacrificed. While at the ruins we prayed for personal and national repentance for Mexico and the United States. We also prayed for the end of abortion in both countries. Abortion in Mexico City was legalized in 2007, and many fear that it will expand from there. I wondered silently if the expansion of drug violence could have a relationship to the violence opened in the womb. Abortion is legal up to twelve weeks and is covered at no charge in hospitals of Mexico City. The Marta Lamas Specialised Clinic for Women's Health was the most recent clinic to open in Mexico City. In the United States, we often feel that we are somehow more sophisticated and intelligent than these indigenous people groups. How can we be any better or different when we are sacrificing our preborn children on the altar of convenience at the rate of over 3,000 a day? I was encouraged by our prayers, and that we sang worship songs to the Most High God on this former altar of Baal, proclaiming that Jesus is Lord, where a false god had been worshipped.
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Lastly, I was impacted by the story of a missionary Pastor named Alex. Alex has decided to leave his homeland of Mexico and go with his family into the Aceh region of Indonesia. This region is perilous for Christians because of the stronghold of sharia law. Here, like many Middle Eastern Countries under sharia law, women are horribly oppressed. God is opening doors for the Mexican people to travel to the Middle East and begin to minister to the people trapped in these regimes, to set them free with the Love of Christ. We discussed with Alex, that many Americans, have a tremendously difficult time gaining entrance to Middle Eastern countries. This is due in great part to our involvement in so many foreign wars, and attempts to establish a false peace under the guise of “democracy.” The Mexican people are a very peaceful people, and are beginning to make inroads where others cannot. In a nation which still has remnants of bitterness towards Cortes, and the Conquistadors, men and women are being raised up to take the gospel far and wide and the walls of oppressive regimes are being torn down. This is being done not with the sword, but with peace, and this peace is not manufactured, but is a “peace that passes all understanding. “
� 2012 Nicholas Jackson - All Rights Reserved