Streets are empty, but churches are full

(Copied from our ministry site)

Ciudad Juarez is a war-zone. This border city that sits across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas has been making headlines for years. In recent years, it has been dubbed the killing fields of Mexico for it’s number of murdered women.Today the headlines announce murders resulting from the drug war that has escalated in response to President Calderon’s crack down on narco-trafficking.

We know Juarez; we’ve driven through it hundreds of times during our two recent terms living in Chihuahua city and later in the Old Colony Camps of Cuauhtemoc. It was a busy place that took forever to drive through.

We also know several Assembly of God pastors and district leaders from there. One of them, Mr. Chavez, was here in Oaxaca last week. As Mike spent a few moments greeting him and speaking with him, Pastor Chavez stated this:

It is a war-zone. The streets are empty. People are afraid to go out. It used to be you stayed away from certain areas that were known to be dangerous, but now the entire city is dangerous. Small businesses are suffering. The gangs don’t bother being discreet any longer. If they want to shoot a rival, they will do it without caring who is nearby to be caught in the cross-fire, whether it be a restaurant or a grocery store. But our churches are filled. And there are no longer denominational barriers. We are in unity and revival is beginning.”

It is a bittersweet message. Each one of us senses shock and sadness at the killings, yet hearing the testimony of church leaders causes a rejoicing. Why does it have to be this way? Can’t their be revival- a true revival of repentance, not a pseudo revival of feel good services and woo-hoo personal prophecies- without suffering, difficulty and persecution?

That’s a good question to ponder. Some scriptures that come to mind:

…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20,21

“Before I was afflicted, I went astray. It was good for me to be afflicted, so I might learn your statutes” Psalm 119:67,71

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