Is it wise to risk travel to Mexico?

Please share this with any parent, or anyone for that matter, who has questions about whether they should go to Mexico. We have been doing ministry in Mexico now for almost 10 years. I have been involved with HoM since 2003, and have answered this question more in the last 4 -5 years than any other one that is asked.

Here are several reasons why I would suggest you and everyone you can share this with continue to do ministry in Mexico, and even riskier places where the ministry is about advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God NEVER promises any of us safety in the scriptures. In fact, He calls us to give up everything:

I John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

Mark 8:34-36 “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

God DOES promise us that He will be with us to accomplish what He calls us to:

Deut 31:6-8 ” Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Phil 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Phil 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

As Christians, we need to be led by faith, not by fear:

Matt 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Blackaby points out in, Experiencing God, that as we seek God, we will experience a crisis of belief as he asks us to make (sometimes small, sometimes major) adjustments to do His will. Adjustments are not easy, but obedience is necessary for the continued growth of a believer. The 19th Century missionary, David Livingston wrote: “Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any tie but the tie that binds me to Thyself.”

Phil 4:6-9.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

We don’t suggest you are to blindly go into anything, and I am not suggesting that this mission field is for everyone. Read the travel advisories of the U.S. State Department, but take your direction from the Lord, not from the State Department or the media.

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will.” One author said that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it wants to crawl off the altar.

Spiritual growth occurs in us when we put ourselves, in faith and wisdom, in a place where we need to rely on God, “ Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-5.

We believe it is time to start living what we say we believe.

Even more importantly, we believe it is time to teach our children how God views this, and not some distorted version of safety from our sanitized humanistic cultural mantra. I believe the safest place to be is – in the center of God’s will. In fact, if God is calling me to go to some challenging place, it “scares me” NOT to go there.

Stonewall Jackson:
“Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.” Speaking to Captain John D. Imboden (24 July 1861), His focus was on being in God’s will, not being safe or unsafe.

Isn’t it God’s will for us to love the poor? There are few opportunities to do this like building a loft house for a homeless family in Mexico. John Ortberg summed it up in the title to his book, If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat. Most of us in the U.S. have pretty comfortable boats, but if the Lord calls you to get out, for His sake, for your sake, for the sake of those you will touch, and for the sake of your kids and those watching your witness, GET OUT, and see what God will do!

I have personally been to Mexico at least 100 times in the last 10 years, and I have never once seen an act of violence. In fact, in the places we go, we have been treated with great courtesy and kindness. (Note: Don’t assume aggressive driving is rudeness or meanness, it is part of the Mexican culture)

We know of places in Mexico where it is NOT very safe to be and we never go near those places and let everyone know where NOT to go. Does this mean we can guarantee your safety? No – but I promise you there is a place within 25 miles of your home town in the US where you can get murdered at midnight if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our Ranch where you will be staying is in a very safe canyon where any vehicle entering is closely scrutinized. You should also be aware that after building 1000+ of these, that there is a large contingent of people now in the communities we serve, who know exactly what we are about and would go to great lengths to NOT let anything bad happen to us.

We are not hiding our heads in the sand and saying there isn’t violence in Mexico. Yet, we know that the vast majority of the violence is caused by the drug cartels trying to seize or gain territory – by killing each other. There are sometimes innocent victims. We also feel that the US media has hyped the violence, as our full time missionaries that live there have NEVER seen any violence in the Ensenada area where we serve.

If you have children of any age, this is a rare opportunity to expose them to God’s missionary heart. They can be a missionary for a weekend, and this might have a life-long effect on their future. It gives kids a chance to get away from all the things they take for granted about their daily life like nothing else. I would pay lots of money to relive my life with my own children and have taken them to Mexico to serve the poor in place of some of those days we went to an “amusement park”. Don’t miss this opportunity to teach your kids to appreciate their blessings, and even more that “they are blessed – to be a blessing”

In conclusion, we urge you to be wise, get information, pray for God’s will, but live in faith, not fear. Above all, be faithful and responsive to what the Lord tells you to do, and where He tells you to go.

We are interested in your feedback on this, or if you would like to explore this further with us. Actually we understand that these statements will actually cause some people to stay home and not go to Mexico, and that’s fine. We believe that the Lord is more concerned about your growth in Him than with whether you go or don’t go to Mexico. The Lord’s words are difficult. At one point many of Jesus’ disciples questioned him, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?… From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him…” Then Jesus asked the Twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter answers for me, and I hope, for you: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:60-68.

Please direct comments or questions to:
handsofm@gmail.com or 909 499-6783

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