The El Paso Times reported this week that the number of murders in Juarez has dropped for the last three months.
There were 152 homicides last month in Juárez compared with 171 in April and 183 in March, according to unofficial numbers reported Wednesday by the Chihuahua attorney general’s office.
Without doubt for those of us who live along the border this is welcomed news. However, the harsh reality is that 506 people lost their lives in the last three months. The ripple effect of these deaths continue to send shock waves of grief and loss over a city that has had more than its share of suffering.
In response to these declines, the mayor of Juarez declared recently that Juarez is no longer the most dangerous city in Mexico. Statistically this may or may not be true, but the troubling truth is that the city is still in the grip of fear and evil.
Hundreds and thousands of people have prayed for justice to roll over this city like a river. In recent days in conversations with pastors in Juarez I sensed an urgency for the Kingdom of God to make a move.
For example, one pastor I met has led his church to plan to present a gospel cd to every household in the city. Another pastor took the gospel to the police stations and shared hope with those on the front lines fighting evil. Another pastor went to the city officials and received permission to preach the gospel in the community centers across the city. (At first the city leaders wanted to church leader to simply teach the children about living better lives, but the pastors responded “NO, what the children need is Jesus.” So they were given permission to preach as long as they did not tell the children where to go to church!)
So what is changing? Without doubt there are more boots on the ground with the police, federal police and army working the streets, but the real hope of the city rests with the people of God who are speaking up and speaking out. Pray for these men and women to be empowered by the Spirit of God as they seek to take back their city for the Kingdom of God.