Violence in village nearby Juquila has subsided.
Hundreds in need of shelter and food.
Juquila residence shot in during conflict.
Hello everyone, many of you heard about the tragedy in Juquila through Facebook and we thank you for your prayers and responses to those posts.
First, we are safe and things have calmed down in the village, however the conflict is not over. Right now there are 350 men, women and children who have been run out of their homes by gunfire seeking refuge in our village. They are in need of clothes, as many left their homes at night running for more than 4 hours through the woods without any possessions. Our village is helping to feed the families, inviting them into homes during meal times, but as you can imagine it is hard for already poor families to support other families for a long period of time. The government had promised a delivery of food, but that has not shown up yet. I am in Oaxaca right now collecting clothes to give out, along with some simple toys for the children. Our friends here in Oaxaca have been very helpful and responsive to our petition for clothes. We may have to organize a food drive for the village if the government doesn’t come through with their promise to deliver food.
The actual conflict that drove these people from their homes and killed and wounded many others happened last Saturday. Juquila went to a neighboring village to discuss a land dispute that has been going on for years but recently became more heated. They arrived in good faith expecting a dialogue when shots rang out. They were trapped in a valley in the center of town, being fired on from above in all directions. They immediately ran into a nearby building where they remained for 24 hours until men from our village snuck in and covered them with return fire so that they could escape. One of the most tragic parts is that a 15 year old boy was shot point blank in the head by his own uncle. This shooting has caused many of my friends to have symptoms of PTSD. We are planning for a team of local psychologists to go and talk with the people who were involved. In a village where alcoholism is already high, if these issues aren’t dealt with the village could be in even more problems down the road. Also, when the mother of the boy went back to the village to pick up her sons body, she was also shot. She was even being escorted by government officials, who deny that that even happened. Unfortunately the town who fired on Juquila has politicians looking out for them and so the government and media are against Juquila even though we have the wounded and dead. It sounds like a conspiracy and it is. I fear that Juquila may be in the crosshairs of a political machine out of their control. They are now defenseless and in shock that they are the ones who were killed, yet portrayed by the media and government as the aggressors.
Our family will be out of the village next week, waiting for the arrival of Hannah next month. I will continue to travel to the village, helping with food and clothing needs. We will also be taking up the psyche team some time in the next two weeks. If you would like to help with the cause we could use your help. Right now we are helping out of our own pocket, but we could use any help we can get. If you would like to donate please go to our website http://cten.org/missionary/philraiford/ and give. There is a lot of need and we would love to help as much as possible. With the government putting their spin on the situation, we expect little help from them or other Mexican organizations. Please continue to pray for safety and for peace. Juquila needs a lot of love and patience, and only Jesus can give us that true peace that we need. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel as people are willing to listen to any message of hope. Only Jesus can bring us out of our darkest moments into the light of His love. Thank you all again for your prayers and support. We are grateful to serve here in Mexico and we can’t do it alone. If you have any questions or would like to know more on this complicated situation please email me and we can talk on the phone next week. God bless us all!
Phil, Eunice, Ian and soon Hannah
Phil and Eunice Raiford
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