BACKGROUND: Most Mexicans are nominally Catholic. Southern Mexico has a high concentration of indigenous minority groups that maintain a separate identity and speak indigenous languages. The area is largely impoverished and underdeveloped. Drug cartels and militant separatist movements have a significant influence in the country.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Many people in southern Mexico practice a syncretistic blend of ancient pagan practices and Catholicism.
PERSECUTOR: Both syncretistic Catholics and armed Marxist rebels routinely persecute Christians.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN SOUTHERN MEXICO: Christian converts are rejected by their community and often are forced from their homes and villages. They lose jobs, inheritance and land. Those who remain in their community are marginalized, partly because they don’t participate in pseudo-religious celebrations sanctioned by priests that feature drunkenness, debauchery and pagan religious rites. Many areas in southern Mexico are only 3 percent evangelical Christian.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: There is little access to Bibles in small, isolated communities. To purchase Bibles, which are typically expensive, believers must travel long distances to large cities. Bibles in indigenous languages can also be difficult to find.
VOM WORK: VOM distributes high-quality Bibles in indigenous languages, supports outreach and provides help to those displaced from their communities.