When fifteen families told area guerrilla leaders of their desire to seek God, the leaders kicked them out of their village in Chiapas, Mexico. The families slept in a stable for over a year until recently, when they moved into simple new homes.
When the families told the Zapatistas guerrillas that their old religious ways weren’t enough for them and that they were seeking God, the armed guerrillas immediately forced the families get out of the village and leave behind all their belongings. Though the families had nowhere to go and nothing to eat, the Zapatistas would not allow anyone to help them.
The rebel group sees themselves as the protectors of the indigenous people of Chiapas. They control everything from land ownership to religious practices, which in this region are a syncretistic combination of Mayan rituals and Catholic practices. They view evangelicals with disdain.
VOM partners pray with the evicted families
When she heard about the families, “Ruth,” a VOM partner, fasted and prayed and then she went to find them. They had been without food or water for over three days. When she arrived, she saw the guerrillas, but no one tried to stop her. As she gave the families food and water, they were so hopeless that they wouldn’t even look in her eyes.
After they had eaten, she showed them a gospel tract that included a picture of baby Jesus in a manager. The families, sleeping in a stable, immediately felt a connection. They listened as Ruth shared the gospel using The Story of Jesus tract, and they were moved that God understood their circumstances. They placed their trust in Jesus Christ that day.
Ruth and the local church continued to visit the new Christians and provided for their needs. Together, they prayed that God would provide a way for them to get their own land. Several months later, the Mexican government interceded by providing them with three hectares (7.4 acres) of land. Though they would need to purchase the land, the government would provide 75 percent of the funds.
When VOM workers visited a few weeks ago, the families invited the workers into their homes on their new property. They built the homes from used construction materials, and they offer little protection from storms. There is no running water, so the families use a hose that brings water from the mountain onto the property. Sometimes guerrillas use machetes to cut the hose and harass the Christians.
After visiting their homes, the Christians took the VOM workers to see the place where they will build a church and a school. Ruth had encouraged them to dedicate a portion of the land for a church if God provided land for them. VOM workers and the families dedicated the new church and land to the Lord.