In the dilapidated Libertad neighbourhood, in the outskirts of Mexico City, a brave pastor is overcoming poverty and crime by reaching out to her community. Her name is Guadalupe Hernández. By leaving the confines of the church and going out into the community, she is turning lives around for Christ.
Javier was hungry on the day he was caught trying to break into Jezreel Church. That was when Pastor Guadalupe confronted him. “There is nothing to steal here. What are you looking for?”
Expecting to be turned away, Javier replied, “Food, that’s what I want.”
What Pastor Guadalupe said next stunned him. “You are welcome to sleep here in the church tonight. Stay and help us with some of our many chores and we will feed you.”
'REACH OUT TO PEOPLE'
The neighbourhood of Libertad is a dangerous one, plagued by extreme poverty and high crime rates. The streets are unpaved, and there is no drinking water or electricity. But this does not deter her. “The only way to bring peace to our community is to leave the four walls of the church, reach out to people, and do the work that needs to be done,” she explained to Open Doors.
With the help of locals, she runs several projects aimed at making their neighbourhood a better place, including keeping the streets clean, and has even provided electricity to some public spaces as well as homes.
Not only that, but Pastor Guadalupe helps to provide food for 60 people every day by leading a group of women volunteers who serve in a community kitchen. In return for their service, these women receive food for themselves and their families.
She says, “It is through programs like these that we help many men and women who find themselves in difficult situations in life. I can think of one woman, who, after her husband died, started to drink heavily out of loneliness and despair. I invited her to volunteer in the community kitchen. Very soon after she joined us, she quit drinking and is now a great leader.”
DEMONSTRATING THE LOVE OF GOD
She also receives a group of young drug-addicts every day, where she supports them with food and demonstrates the love of God. This is a dangerous venture; drug cartels are prominent and those seen to be standing up to them receive death threats.
Pastora Guadalupe came to Open Doors in order to locate a ministry that supports her group with this specific work. Ministering to drug-addicts is not easy, so Open Doors in coordination with local leaders, is looking for the best way to help her and the group of young people who are enslaved to drug addiction.
- For Pastor Guadalupe's continuing work, that God would strenghten her and provide more opportunities to serve the community
- For the people who both run and attend the projects, that they would be encouraged
- For the community of Libertad, that Christ's light would shine into the darkest places.
Mexico is number 39 on Open Doors 2018 World Watch List. An increase in persecution has stemmed from corruption within the government. Organised crime also plays a large role, and many pastors face intimidation and death threats which aim to silence their ministry.
Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Mexico through advocacy to address the root causes of persecution, and mobilising the Mexican church to support persecuted Christians. Give to support the work of faithful believers in Mexico like Pastor Guadalupe.