GUADALAJARA -- People are gathering across the globe in masses to cheer on their favorite team in the World Cup. Watch parties have emerged in several areas in Guadalajara as nationals cheer on the Mexican team, or enjoy watching games like Greece vs. Japan. This week, amongst soccer jerseys and team paraphernalia, individuals wearing black shirts with the simple message "No Mas Violencia" can be found around the city. Churches in the Emmanuel Baptist Regional Association in Guadalajara have handed out 35,000 flyers around the city, promoting the message of peace and many have been very receptive and interested in learning more.
No Mas Violencia, a program endorsed by Texas Baptists, provides training on how to stop physical and emotional violence in families, neighborhoods, schools and city streets. Developed by David Balyeat, associate pastor at Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, the program addresses the cause of violence in many situations and points individuals to the ultimate place of healing -- Jesus Christ.
This week, Balyeat is joined by River Ministry Director Daniel Rangel, several River Ministry coordinators, and volunteers from the border who have traveled to Guadalajara to share the message of No Mas Violencia with the city. Balyeat is leading several training sessions for church leaders on how to bring the program into their churches. River Ministry Coordinator Jose Angel Hernandez is a family counselor and has several opportunities to meet with families and begin conversations on healing and restoration.
The mission team is working with seven church plants that have been supported and funded through the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program. In a city of 7 million, there are very few evangelical churches reaching the area, and these seven new churches have had significant success over the past three years in sharing the Gospel.
It has been encouraging to walk alongside the volunteers this week and see the hope they are sharing with those they encounter. In addition to spreading the word about No Mas Violencia, the church plants have also organized soccer tournaments in each of their areas with a large tournament coming on Saturday. The game of soccer is loved worldwide and brings people together from all walks of life. We are looking forward to all the conversations to come this weekend as the mission team works with Christians across the city reach out and share the hope of Christ with those who may have never heard.