A Modern Day Paul in Mexico

His name is Juan Roque.  He pastors a church in Matamoros, travels frequently to evangelize Aztec Villages in the mountains of Southern Mexico, and co-leads Bread of Life Frontier Missions (BLFM), one of Brazos Pointes’ longstanding international mission partners.  And like the Apostle Paul, he has faced death and persecution many times – the most recent was last month.

I want you to know the stories of people God has allowed our church to serve alongside so you can pray for them and pray for those to whom they are bringing the Gospel.  Please read this letter from David Nuckols, our BLFM representative in Brownsville, TX.

Live Bold,


July 19, 2014

I just returned from having lunch with Pastorcito, Juan Roque.  It was our first face to face meeting since he had been taken hostage on his last trek to the Aztec villages.  There was a calm determination in his demeanor.  Just prior to the food arriving, Juan declared that he was pretty certain that this meeting with cartel members was arranged by God.  And I knew that some nuggets of wisdom were about to come my way.  He said, “Let me back up.”

Two Sunday’s before he left on that mission trip, Juan preached to the Las Palmas church that every encounter we have God is working through us to be a blessing to others or through others to bring a blessing to us.  Here ended the lesson.  Or so he thought.  Juan left that Monday in his daughter’s small car to see how it could make the trip.  The white truck was constantly getting stopped on previous trips so he decided some months ago to travel by small car to stay under the radar.  As he approached the town of Padilla on the highway, the transmission began acting up.  He called a mechanic from Matamoros to bring Arecelia’s car and switch out with.  Juan turned around and began driving north.  The mechanic from Matamoros headed south.  On his way north, Juan was motioned over by armed cartel members.  Having transmission issues, he had no choice but to pull over.  In the past, the preferred method was to put the pedal to the metal.  They put a rifle through the rolled down window and began questioning him. “Where are you from?”  When he answered that he was from Matamoros, an area controlled by a rival cartel group, they began shouting at the others to come over because they had one from Matamoros.  One of the leaders came over and in a loud, stern voice to him that this was the end of the road for him.  With his head down, Juan continued to answer the barrage of questions.  When asked what was in his glove compartment, Juan told them that he had another cell phone.  As he opened up the glove box, a new book that he had purchased in Brownsville the previous week fell out.  It was titled Saldrás de esta: Esperanza y aydua en tiempos difíciles by Max Lucado, a Spanish edition of his book title You Will Get Through This‐Hope & Help for Your Turbulent Times.

When the cartel member saw this he laughed and told Juan that he was going to kill him today.  Juan was taken out of his car and transferred into several cars that took some back roads off of the main highway.  Juan was pretty sure that this was the end of the road for him.  When he was put into the third car, a gruff leader began to question him. Juan shared that he was a pastor from Matamoros.  Juan does not recall the exact exchanged, but the man indicated the he was the one in charge of executing those taken captive.  Juan did notice that the man’s attitude toward him changed.  He shared with Juan that he never intended to be where he was doing what he was doing.  He had tried to find a good job.  He shared that he had no success in finding honest work and that he had a family to support.  The executioner shared with Juan that his mother was a member of a Pentecostal church in Monterrey.  He asked Juan if God listens to him.  Juan replied that indeed He did listen, but not only himself but to the leader as well.  After travelling down the back road for some distance, the leader told Juan that he was going to let him go home.  Juan shared that he was going‐either home to his family in Matamoros or home to Father in Heaven.  And the leader clarified, “No, you are going home to Matamoros.”  Juan shared with me that never pleaded for his life or asked to be released.  Juan was transferred to another vehicle and taken further back.  He remained in the car while one man shouted for a machete.  While another man went to get it, Juan, face downward, could see that the other guard was wrapping his rifle in what appeared to be something to muffle the sound.  And again, Juan was now certain that his life on earth was about to end.  After what must have seemed to be an eternity, the leader that said he was going to help him get back home returned and began shouting orders at the others to release Juan and put him in the leader’s car.  Juan was returned to his car that had been stopped hours earlier.

Near Juan’s car was a truckload of armed men, who by then, had gotten word that Juan was a pastor and was going to be set free.  As the leader handed Juan back the keys to his car, he also put some money in his hand‐“for expenses.”  Juan was grateful for his release and pleaded with the leader to spare the lives of the mother and child that had been stopped about the same time as he had.  As Juan drove off, he could hear the men in the back of the truck shouting, “Pray for me…pray for me.”  As Juan finished sharing with me, he looked up and smiled and said,” I am pretty sure God arranged that meeting for me so that I could be a blessing to them.”

Juan plans to return to that roadside location and post a message of God’s love for all His children….

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and pray for the Peace of Mexico.

Dios les bendiga,


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