When 500 worshipers gathered on Sunday, April 10, a group of masked men entered Christian Center El Shaddai with machine guns, firing them in the air. As the members hit the deck, the men took pastor Josué Ramírez Santiago away in the city of Lázaro Cárdenas.
His family received a ransom demand for 20 million pesos, or $1.7 million, the next day but even if they could raise that amount, kidnap victims are never guaranteed to be returned by kidnappers. It is estimated about 100 evangelical pastors have left Ciudad Juarez because they are often targets of extortion, threats, kidnapping, and murder by drug cartels since President Calderon declared war on them in 2006.
According to Arturo Farela, who leads the National Fraternity of Evangelical Churches in Mexico, evangelicals are targeted by these criminals because churches own the majority of the drug rehab centers and collect large amounts of money for ministry purposes–money that the cartels want.
I pray, Father, that you will be a hedge of protection around your pastors in Mexico so your gospel will continue to be preached to the lost souls of that nation. If pastors and other evangelicals continue to be kidnapped, I pray that you will turn the kidnappings around for your glory and that your people will stand firm in the faith and be used by you as your mouthpiece to preach the gospel boldly to their kidnappers because you sent your son to die for drug traffickers. I pray for the salvation of these drug traffickers to show that your power to save is far above the power of the drug cartels to work their evil. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Source: Elisabeth Isais, Suspected drug traffickers kidnap pastor in Mexico, Christianity Today, April 15, 2011
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–