The Highs and Lows of Being a Pastor in Mexico During COVID-19
As the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Mexico continues to rise, Rev. Huascar de la Cruz, has experienced both highs and lows.
Huascar, who serves as our Spanish ministry leader, says he personally knows about 45 people who have died from the virus. That number includes relatives and fellow pastors from the Presbyterian Church in Mexico.
Most of Huascar’s contacts are in Tabasco state, which has been hit particularly hard by the virus. Although it is only the 20th largest state by population, Tabasco is fourth on the list of number of reported cases of COVID-19 as of June 17.
“As a pastor, it’s been hard to stay away from others in their times of need” says Huascar. “We pastors were called to minister to people, especially in a crisis.
When Huascar stepped into his new role with us last fall, he was excited about the opportunity to help churches in Mexico’s largest denomination become less resistant to using media in their worship services. Up until recently, ministry has been based mainly in the United States.
“I felt compelled to accept this position largely because of that resistance,” said Huascar. “But now, during COVID-19 churches see media as a necessity.”
The Power of Media Ministry
Huascar has been helping churches live stream their services online and hosting services of his own with help from volunteers and staff.
These efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. As the government in Mexico’s Tabasco state sought ways to encourage people to stay at home, the state’s television station offered six denominations the opportunity to send a video that would air on one Sunday per month.
“Usually this channel wouldn’t include any religious content, but the hope was that these special broadcasts would keep people from traveling to churches that were open in less-affected states,” said Huascar. “We weren’t really ready for this level of broadcast, so it was sink or swim.”
Huascar and our Spanish ministry team wanted to make a video that would speak to people who may not identify as Christian. They did this with several different segments including a skit with popular superheroes. That skit in particular seemed to be well-received.
“We have small kids and it is very difficult to keep them quiet and still,” shared one viewer. “They didn´t move when they watched the kids section and we hope you can do something similar in the future.”
The video has more than 25,000 views on Facebook alone, Huascar says.
Huascar asks for prayers for Mexico, as well as for Brazil, as both countries continue to see higher COVID-19-related death counts each day. Pray that this video, along with the other audio and video messages that de la Cruz is producing, will offer hope.