David Tamez, a longtime Board member, was commissioned to have a series of eight quarterly seminars for Indian pastors in ten strategic locations around the country. So far he has begun the program in six areas: Otomi, Nahuatl, Mazahua, Mixe, Tzotzil & Tzeltal and Totonac.
In the Otomi town of Actopan, Hidalgo, 85 local pastors plus 22 Christian workers (all bi-lingual Otomi/Spanish) attended the two-day session, in spite of some local opposition by “traditional Catholics.” These are the same people that have persecuted evangelicals in the past. Forty families were expelled from their homes in San Nicolas, a town near Ixmiquilpan.
In Ocosingo, Chiapas, 76 local pastors plus another 37 Christian workers (60 % of all participants basically Tzeltal speaking) came to the session that had been moved from San Cristobal (in the Tzotzil area). The move was made because of the release on August 13 of a number of Christians jailed for the Acteal massacre, which occurred 12 years ago. Now Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled they had been convicted in unfair trials. Some traditional leaders, however, have threatened to kill the men if they returned to their communities. The men did attend the seminar in Ocosingo.
In Atlacomulco, State of Mexico, the second seminar was attended by 120 ‘new’ Mazahua pastors, plus 85 returning pastors who were given an advanced session. David says, “I believe we are moving forward with good results although we are still behind in numbers.” The training will go on, gradually expanding into other communities.