Is it Safe to Go to (or live in) Mexico?

31 Mar

Given the very negative publicity Mexico has received in the major news media since last year, the recent alert by the state department, and the concern that has created, we would like to share two perspectives with you that address very well what the reality is in our city and state. Both of the authors are not residents or citizens of Mexico, but they are frequent visitors and people who have guided groups down over many years. Both have been in Ensenada, and one in Tijuana as well, several times over the past few months. So their observations and assessments are not just historical, but likewise current. We are in complete agreement with their conclusions as well as the calls each make to consider the spiritual implications of our reactions given the real threat of violence, but also the sensationalized coverage that serves to stir up fear.

The first is by the Director of Risk Management from Westmont College and because of the length of the report I will only include the link so anyone who is interested can search it out for themself:

The second one we recently sent out as a way to respond to some of the inquiries and concern expressed by friends, family and partners. I will paste it onto this post so that you can read it in its entirety.

We covet your prayers for Ensenada and all of Mexico. There are definitely problems, and serious ones at that. Please pray that God will not only eradicate the problems, but that He would use them to stir up His children to action and cause those who don’t know Him to look to Him for their security and peace.

Dear Partners and Friends,

We recently received the following from a friend who was a co-worker with us in Agua Viva, and who has continued to partner with us in ministry projects throughout the years. Even though they currently live in San Diego, as a family they frequently come to Mexico (Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada) and maintain a home here. They received these thoughts from another friend who also ministers in Tijuana and has for many years. It is thoughtful as well as accurate to what our experience has been as well here in Mexico.

“First off, I totally agree with the truth 60 minutes presents that we, the U.S., share a big responsibility in helping solve this problem. The sobering truth is that U.S. demand for illegal drugs is the root cause of all this. That, combined with the flow of money and arms to Mexico from the U.S. makes us, as a country, responsible as much as Mexican authorities in solving this problem. 60 minutes seemed to nail this truth well.

At ground level though, and perhaps of more immediate need to define reality among ourselves and those we lead into Mexico, it’s important to embrace a few critical truths.

1. The violence is horrific, no doubt, but it is largely limited to drug cartels and authorities.

2. Last year there were fewer murders per capita in Tijuana than in Gary Indiana, Cleveland Ohio, and WAY less (about 1/5) than New Orleans. While the violence is gruesome and heavily-documented by the media, the truth is that Tijuana (and the surrounding area) isn’t the war-zone the media makes it out to be.

3. In the midst of this drug violence, Americans are not targeted. That doesn’t mean bad stuff can’t happen, but then, bad stuff can happen anywhere, including in the U.S.

4. The areas we currently serve in aren’t hotspots for drug cartel activity or violence. Compared to Ciudad Juarez (quite a distance east), Tijuana and Ensenada are much safer. I understand some do serve in Juarez. Violence and corruption are worse there, no doubt.

On a bigger picture level though, I feel it’s important to acknowledge that I feel our efforts in Mexico are God-led. I try not to be a reckless, careless, Pinto-driving, danger-seeking missionary. But there’s an even bigger truth I feel we need to embrace.

Take a couple more minutes and read through this passage. It is stellar.

Romans 8:28-39

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is at work in Mexico, and a few of us desperately desire to join His invitation to partner with Him in that. And while God doesn’t promise immunity from violence or bad stuff, like Romans 8:31 says: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ ”


One Response to “Is it Safe to Go to (or live in) Mexico?”

  1. J Steele April 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    This is such a big subject but we have a BIG God and it’s reassuring to know that when we are in Him, there is no better place. I know that some large organizations have suspended their work in MX and I understand that action because they are a public target. It may be a blessing in disguise though as people realize that the power and strength is not in the size or international acclaim of an organization but in God working through people in community to bless others.Our personal experience has been so positive every time we’re south of the border- I encourage others to “be strong and courageous” like Joshua did when faced with a border crossing.

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