April 2000 we crossed the border into Mexico for the first time as missionaries. It was an intimidating experience, partly because it was unfamiliar but even more because of the reputation of the border agents as corrupt, capricious and unpredictable. To make matters worse, it was raining, one of those occasional desert cloud bursts that flood the streets of Nuevo Laredo. We managed to find our way through town and find the main highway south, Highway 57. On the map, it appears an extension of I35.
Down the road a ways once again we had run the gauntlet at the infamous kilometer 26 customs inspection station. A missionary friend had warned me the Kilometer 26 was a den of thieves. “Get away from there as fast as you can and don’t look back,” he wrote in an email with border crossing tips.
We were looking over our shoulders all the way south to the heart of Mexico. We managed to make it all the way to Cuernavaca without further incident except that our little Ford Ranger broke down as the sun was going down in the middle of nowhere about 90 miles north of Mexico City. Dangerous place to find yourself even in those days. You might say we limped into Mexico City. It certainly wasn’t like making a drive from Dallas to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, a trip of about the same distance.
Thirteen years later the situation is worse. We don’t even think about driving to the border, it’s too dangerous. As we watched the situation in Mexico deteriorate we began to ask ourselves, what are we doing here? What difference are we making? Why isn’t the church in Mexico more salt and light? After all, during our time here the evangelical church has grown by some estimates to as high as 20% of the population.
How Roman Catholic is Mexico really?
Mexico is a Roman Catholic country, right? It’s a New World Catholicism that syncretized indigenous pagan religions with the medieval practices of worshiping saints and deifying the Virgin Mary but it is still a Roman Catholic country. Or is it?
The elite in Mexico who have control of the purse strings and the power are mostly secular humanist and socialist/Marxist. They love the French revolution and quote Rousseau, “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” They control the public education system that is definitely secular humanist. Modern Mexico is pagan secular humanist. Why do I think this is so?
First, Mexico is not a ubiquitous culture where everybody is a charro (cowboys from Guadalajara) and all the music is Mariachi. Not everybody speaks Spanish here either. In the state of Oaxaca alone there are two or three major language families, like our Indo-European language family. Customs and music is richly varied. Mexicans are of all colors too. The glue that holds them together is the worship of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
By: Roger Oliver
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