I have known a lot of people over the years who have done short-term mission work in Mexico. This is perhaps not a great surprise because I have lived in states along our southern border for most of my life. However, I have even known folks from northern parts of the United States who have gone to Mexico on mission trips. Mexico has traditionally been an attractive place for Americans to do mission work because of its proximity. Many people drive from their homes to the specific location in Mexico where their mission project takes place.
Typically, the folks I have known who have done mission work in Mexico have been white, Anglo Protestants with little or no familiarity with the Spanish language. Generally, they go to rural areas of Mexico that are underserved and experiencing tremendous poverty. I have known people who went to build schools, churches or homes. I have also known folks who have gone to work with children in orphanages or to help Mexican communities set up their own non-Catholic Christian churches. The people I have known generally have gone on these short-term mission trips under the auspices of their own home church in the United States. Occasionally, these trips are organized in conjunction with a larger organization like Habitat for Humanity.
In recent years, the drug trafficking violence in Mexico has escalated dramatically. In some areas, it seems to have spiraled out of control and lawlessness reigns. As a result, traveling in Mexico for pleasure or in service of others has become much more dangerous. During this time, I haven’t heard of as many ministries reaching out to serve the people of Mexico.
Not long ago I came across a news article about two American missionaries who were killed in Mexico. Those missionaries were John and Wanda Casias. I did a little more research and found their website:
The Casias were Baptist Christians from Texas. They moved to Mexico to serve full-time as missionaries almost 30 years ago. They gave up a comfortable lifestyle in their own country to minister full-time to people in a fairly remote part of a foreign nation. And they did this not for just a brief stint, but for a significant portion of their lives.
I have read a lot of the Casias’ website and I probably disagree with some of their theology. But I admire their sacrifice and dedication. I admire the great love they clearly had for the people of Mexico to have served them for so long. Their love was apparently so great that they did not leave when violence in Mexico became more pronounced in recent years. That is quite a testament to their faith and to God’s love.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.