In the wake of continued drug related violence, the U.S. Department of State has recommended that citizens not travel to most of northern Mexico. In recent years, "Mexico" has dropped in popularity from the 2nd to 17th most common search term for short-term missions, according to Mission Data International.
"If we go, they'll be adult trips only and they'll be carefully planned in areas that we think are safe. We would not take any high-school or middle-school kids until the drug war situation is under control. We're not here to put students at risk."
Randy Smith, president, Youth Ministries International
"If I were a youth minister, I probably would not choose Mexico as a service destination, considering that I would be responsible for the students' protection. I may risk my own safety if I believe it is God-ordained, but I would not gamble with the safety of minors."
Karen Jones, ministry professor, Huntington University
"Not if you have the right contacts. We're part of a denominational network with leaders at the Mexican and Central American levels looking at safety. I've got a network of people that I trust. But I'd feel skittish about a local church acting on its own."
Howard Culbertson, mission professor, Southern Nazarene University
"Churches should not halt mission trips to Mexico, but they do need to check things out well with the agency they are going with. Pay attention to location, as that has a lot to do with the violence."
David Anderson, director of operations, Mission Data International
"Heightened security concerns should not dampen our resolve to fulfill the Great Commission. But we should not venture into any country uninformed or naïve. Minimize risk by developing reputable long-term contacts on the ground and serving at their discretion."
Mark DeYmaz, directional leader, Mosaic Church
"It is in times of crisis that many people seek a deeper spiritual experience with God. Safety is important, but it's just one factor in considering what God would have us do. Do your homework; link with a good organization with local knowledge."
Sean Lambert, president, YWAM San Diego/Baja
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