Twenty-eight years of service as Baptist missionaries in Mexico came to an abrupt end for John Casias, 76, and his wife, Wanda, 67, on Tuesday, January 31, when they were murdered at their home near Monterrey in El Cercado, Santiago, Nuevo Leon. John and Wanda were strangled with electrical cords by intruders who broke into their house and stole a safe, televisions and ministry vehicles. The killers left Wanda dead inside the house, and the body of her husband was reportedly found in a storage room of a small building elsewhere on the property.
The couple, whose home church is located in Lewisville, Texas, was affiliated with the Global Independent Baptist Fellowship. In addition to founding churches, beginning with the First Fundamentalist Independent Baptist Church in their locality, the Casias also did work in Zacatecas, San Luis Potos Coahuila, and other parts of the state of Nuevo Leon. Daily vacation Bible schools and youth camps, which placed strong emphasis on Bible study and music, were important aspects of their ministry. They are survived by 10 children who have reportedly said they hope to continue their parents’ ministry.
The area has suffered heavily from brutal attacks by drug cartels in recent weeks, including the murder of the mayor of El Cercado, leading to the tentative conclusion that the crime was probably committed by people working for narcotics traffickers.
Drug traffickers in Mexico oppose the message of Christ because it turns people away from their business and, therefore, target Christians. Christians in the El Cercado area noted that the assailants would not have needed to kill the elderly missionary couple in order to rob them.
Father, we lift up the families of John and Wanda Casias as they grieve the loss of these loved ones. And we pray for those whom they served in Mexico that the Spirit who guided their work will carry it on through the Casias children and through the church leaders You have raised up. Father we pray that they may live in peace and that Your Spirit will strengthen and grow Your church into a mighty assembly to praise and worship You. In the name of Jesus who leads His Church, Amen.