Members of Mexican Mission Trip Caught in Drug Cartel Gunfire
Drug cartels based in Mexico are not picky as to who may be in their line of fire. According to a recent news report, a group of nine men from Church for the Harvest in Alexandria were caught in the crossfire between drug cartels and the Mexican military. The violence forced the men to run for cover into a border town.
The group, including Pastor Mike Bartolomeo, Justin Godfrey, Toby Weibye, Jeb VanEps, Tony Loween, Mark Middendorf, David Larson, Joel Boutain and Brad Beyer, returned to their homes in Minnesota on Sunday — exactly 24 hours after the shootout.
Upon the completion of their mission work, the men had decided to visit Nuevo Progreso, Mexico on Saturday to buy souvenirs and have lunch. A winter Texan event was taking place along the border.
Reports indicate border violence had long been a norm for the neighboring cities of Reynosa and Matamoros. Nuevo Profreso, however, is more Americanized and considered to be safer for tourists and snowbirds.
The men were somewhat taken aback by the citizens’ approach to the gunfire. “The reason is because it was business as usual. There were no people running or screaming,” said Weibye.
All together, the med estimated they were pinned down in the shops for roughly 45 minutes while the battle waged on right outside the doors. The men kept in touch with each other by cell phone.
When asked if they all would go back, most of the men immediately answered yes. “We won’t let the spirit of fear stop us,” Bartolomeo said. “We will go back.”