Date: January 28, 2023
Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. (Psalm 107:21 NLT)
You may remember hearing about a breakthrough in ‘Your faith or your water supply’ – our campaign to reinstate the water, electricity and sewerage services of Protestant Christian families in El Encanto, Mexico.
There’s still a long way to go until freedom of religion or belief for all is upheld in the community, but we can certainly give thanks for the wonderful things God has done so far.
A temporary solution
Since we last sent you a prayer update in October, we learnt that the municipal government has begun delivering water every fortnight to the religious minority families of El Encanto. This temporary solution means that they no longer have to travel multiple times a day to collect water.
In 2016 local authorities disconnected the families’ water supply after they declined to take part in activities associated with the majority religion. The local authorities then blocked sewerage and electricity services from being installed in their homes. Read more in the latest issue of Response.
A significant meeting
On 7 December, in a small meeting at which state, municipal and community officials were present, Pastor Ranulfo was finally able to express how the Protestant Christians feel about the situation, and their desire to remain as part of the community. He presented a proposal explaining their commitment to participate in all community activities except those of a religious nature.
This conversation had previously been impossible. When Pastor Ranulfo tried to explain their position in the past, for example in community assemblies, the crowd shouted too loudly for him to speak, leading to misunderstandings.
This meeting included representatives from the municipality of Las Margaritas, the Chiapas state government and the state’s human rights office, as well as a delegation of community leaders representing the religious majority from El Encanto.
A community vote
Decisions in communities like El Encanto are often made by a show of hands at local assemblies, and this is the next step that we are waiting for. We can’t predict how the community will vote.
But there is a glimmer of hope: for the first time, it appears that they may have some support from others in the community; the entire community is not united in opposition to the members of the religious minority.
- For God to work powerfully in the hearts of the members of the community who will vote in the assembly, that they will cast their vote with fairness, compassion and respect.
- That access to running water and other essential services will be fully restored to every religious minority family in El Encanto.
- For an improved understanding of freedom of religion or belief for all in El Encanto.
- Give thanks for the fortnightly deliveries of water from the municipal government – the authorities CSW supporters have been writing to as part of our campaign.
P.S. When we visited some of the families in El Encanto a few months ago, Pastor Ranulfo shared this message:
‘We are infinitely grateful for everything you are doing, and to all the brothers and sisters in different places – and especially those in the UK who are supporting and praying and sending letters to...government authorities. Thank you very much; we really appreciate it.’
We hope his words encourage you that your prayers and support are making a difference – not least because these families know that they are not alone. Thank you!