28 Mar 2008
University students are an independent minded, cultural bashing, numerically large population segment that has even the most established political parties looking for means to include them for present and future elections. This group is increasingly ready to break with entrenched economic and cultural traditions.
They shun the public-sector bureaucracy such as jobs with PEMEX and the Federal Electricity Commission, instead choosing careers in the private sector. They want realism instead of nationalistic ideology. Surveys show they prize honesty, competence, and pragmatism as opposed to loyalty, national sovereignty, and lockstep political thinking. Present leaders say it is going to be a generation hard to fool. They are looking for role models that are different from the historical ones. They exhibit an enthusiasm for change - any change.
As Mexican students search for truth through the systems of higher education, they must be confronted with the real Truth, the Gospel. No other truth will change their lives completely. Students deal with scientific and intellectual truths, as well as health, recreation, and personal relationships. Diligently searching to become a complete person, they must be challenged in the spiritual areas of life the key element to completion.
There is evidence of a spiritual awakening on the Mexican campuses. More and more are becoming openly involved in cell group Bible studies and unashamedly calling out to God as they never have before. Spontaneously, all over the country, students, professionals, and even some young pastors are seeking help for reaching out to this generation, The Free Trade Generation -- those 18-29 years old.
University campuses are located all the way from Tiajuana on the U.S. border, through the heavily populated central high plains areas, to the tourist area of Cancun in the southeast. There are 2.4 million students on these campuses and they all need to know of God's love for them. Thus far, there are literally hundreds of university campuses with no organized Christian witness. Our goal for the population segment of Higher Education in Mexico is to make sure we have a Christian witness and presence on each of the 3,000 plus university campuses in the country.
The majority of university students in Mexico are not really clear on what they believe about Jesus. Most think that He was a good man and a great teacher. Some think that He was a very special person. The majority do not think that He is God. That is why it is imperative to reach students at this time in their lives with the Truth of the Gospel.
Working together with the Mexican Baptist student ministries, we are seeking to train more students and young professionals to reach out to this group. Listen as one of these faithful workers shares about her ministry.
Intro Charles Let me introduce you to Maricela Barranco. She is the local and national student director here in the country of Mexico. Maricela, can you tell us a little about your work here?
INTERVIEW: Maricela Barranco
Maricela: Hi Everybody. It is a pleasure to me to talk about the student ministry here in Mexico. We have 22 local ministries here in the whole country. And also here in Puebla we have .. we are working with students of the university between 18 and 29 years old. We have 5 Bible studies in different schools here and also we have a coffee house. We have different methods to reach students here in Puebla. We have a project to invite the students from all Latin America to come here to Mexico to help us in the different local ministries here and also you are invited to come here and help us. We need help in reaching the students here and being associate directors with the local directors here in Mexico and we need your help also. We are inviting you to come here for a month or 2 years to reach students in creative ways also.
Practical methodology would include ESL. Native English speakers are able to use language as a platform in even the most closed campuses. Another effective platform would be sports teams of all kinds and levels. Music for young people is always well received. Short-term projects with universities where U.S. and Mexican students walk side by side to share the Gospel are very effective. Cell group studies in each and every school such as medicine, law, engineering, and teaching can be quickly started and have met with great success. Partnerships with Baptist Campus Ministries from the United States are valuable long-term tools. Drama, art, puppet, and mime are useful. In especially difficult campuses, enrollment itself should be considered an option. Almost anything that is creative, new, exciting, and carried out with enthusiasm will open the hearts of young people.
It is a bit unusual but, at times, Bible studies have actually been held under this bust or statue of Karl Marx who said there is no God and there is no need for religion. It shows how God is bigger than even the great philosopher of the times.
In Mexico, as in other parts of the world, this "cream of the crop" population segment, the Free Trade Generation of Mexico, is a group that can reach all levels of society with the Gospel, from the indigenous peoples to professionals. As they leave the university, they are becoming key leaders in their country in businesses, in government, and in education. They are Mexico's future. Even now, as many are being called out to plant churches, not only are they reaching up, but also out to the marginal groups in urban and rural areas. As God speaks, many are willing to give up lucrative professional careers to prepare themselves for ministry at seminary or Bible institutes and live on the cutting edge of missions, whether it is in a megapolis or "to the ends of the earth".
The inscription next to Karl Marx says Philosophers have interpreted the world in different ways, but the real goal is to transform the world. Yes, Mexicos future, its students The Free Trade Generation, can be part of transforming the Godless world of Karl Marx to a world for Christ.
What will you do to share the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ with The Free Trade Generation of Mexico?
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