Pray for Juquila and Peace

The BWM received the message below from the family of Phil Raiford, a missionary partner serving in Mexico. After sending out the urgent call for prayer regarding gun violence in his community, this information follows up on that request and gives the sad details of this ongoing situation. We ask that you pray for Phil and his family (soon expecting a brand new baby daughter!) as well as those who have been wounded and the families of those who have been killed.

The BWM offers the St. Francis Prayer listed in the Book of Common Prayer, and encourages you to join in this prayer with us as we call for healing and an end to violence.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.

Where theres is doubt, faith. 
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy. 
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand, 
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

THE MESSAGE FROM PHIL:
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!

Blessings,
Phil, Eunice, Ian and soon Hannah
Pray for Juquila and Peace

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