Mariano Diaz Méndez was a minister of the indigenous Tzotzil Evangelical Church in San Juan Chamula, a small town in the central highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. He was traveling near the village of Botatulan early on the afternoon of October 24, 2003, when a group of heavily armed men stopped his car. As a pastor in a tumultuous area, Méndez was well aware of the threat against his life and intimately familiar with the increasing attacks aimed against evangelical Christians from the caciques, or community chieftains, in the area.
Since Christianity’s advent in the Chiapas Highlands in the 1960s, the caciques have used violent tactics to discourage its spread. Scores of evangelicals have died and hundreds more have suffered injury by groups who practice a “traditionalist” religion, a semi-pagan mix of Mayan religion and Roman Catholic beliefs.
Pastor Méndez bolted from his car in an attempt to evade his attackers, but they overpowered him with their weapons, their bullets piercing his body and bringing the pastor to the ground. The assailants shot him to death.
The deadly assault against Pastor Méndez had occurred exactly one week after a pastor in the city of Mapastepec, namely Jairo Solís López, had also been killed by the caciques.
Both Pastor Méndez and Pastor López had given their hearts to serve Christ in the face of formidable challenges in Chiapas. Together, they embody what God promises in Revelation, that “they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”; rather, they overcame “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (12:11).
Excerpted from Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs. You can order a copy of this book from our online resource catalogue.