Most headlines involving Mexico over the past few years have revolved around some sort of drug cartel shootings, kidnappings or most recently, arson. Although the whole nation of Mexico is certainly not smothered in violence, many people in border towns are scared for their lives.
Of the 40,000 deaths that have occurred since 2006 connected to Mexican drug cartels, most have been men actually caught up in some way with the cartels. But the violence has spread easily and quickly outside those circles to include many civilians, paralyzing many who live along the border with fear.
“People have a feeling that today could be the day that they die,” says Todd Szalkowski with E3 Partners. “They literally approach every day, because of the violence there, as if it could be their last day on earth.”
Szalkowski says in every Mexico-U.S. border town, people have been directly affected by the violence through the death of innocent friends or family, the death of loved ones who were wrapped up in the cartels, or the abductions of those around them. Szalkowski says kidnappings for ransom are common among middle-class Mexicans.
As a result, “People are afraid to gather in large groups, and that affects church-going people. They’re seeing their pastors abducted out of the pulpit right in front of their eyes and held for ransom.”
Szalkowski says it’s gotten to the point where families are sending children away. “Our pastor friends in these border towns are asking us to adopt their daughters and bring them to the United States because of their fear for their safety.”
Gripped by fear, even believers are too nervous to attend church. They’re staying in, and in extreme cases, some are turning to answers from ungodly sources.
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