Full-time missionaries John and Wanda Casias were murdered during a home invasion in their Santiago, Mexico home on the afternoon of Jan. 31. Local authorities and family members believe the Casias’ knew their attackers.
The Baptist couple was originally from Amarillo, Texas, and ran the First Fundamentalist Independent Baptist Church in Santiago.
Their website, www.casias.org is still accessible. It contains information about their ministry including events, services, photos, missions’ reports and a link to their blog.
According to the website, the Casias’ moved to Mexico in 1983 and had been living and serving there since.
A ticker has been added to the home page of their website that reads:
“On Jan. 31, 2012, John and Wanda graduated to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as their lives were suddenly taken in a home invasion. Thank you all for your prayers and your continued support for the Ministry they started 29 years ago in The Republic of Mexico. Their love for the Mexican people and the burden they had for winning souls to the Lord will always be remembered.”
The Casias’ son, Shawn Casias, spoke at a memorial service for his parents.
“Mexico not only has hope, but it is growing. It is getting better. Living there first-hand, we could see barriers being broken and people wanting a better Mexico than past generations have lived. Mexico is progressing in many different ways. You only have to read the Mexico press to see that my parents were loved and not categorized based on their citizenship or religion. The tone has changed since the ’80s when we first moved there. My parents believed in Mexico until the day they died, and I ask you to continue to believe in Mexico,” Casias said.
The region had become increasingly dangerous in the past four years due to fighting between drug cartels. This caused annual missions trips from the couple’s home church of Liberty Baptist Church in Lewisville, Texas to stop.
This is the second murder of American missionaries in the Mexican region near the Texas border since January 2011.