On Sunday, January 22, Rafael Erasmo Arevalo, a Mennonite pastor in Honduras, was attacked and killed after leading an evening worship service. Arevalo, from Santa Rosa de Copán, drove about 20 kilometres north to Veracruz, where he had led worship services for the past 10 years.
According to a report in a Honduran newspaper, La Prensa, Arevalo parked his car at the home of a Veracruz city councilor and then walked to the church. When he returned to his car after the worship service, he was attacked by “unknown persons.” His body was not discovered until the next morning, about five kilometers from the scene of the attack.
Arevalo’s funeral was held on January 24 in his home community of Santa Rosa de Copan.
“We ask your prayers for his wife, children and church,” wrote Erlinda Robelo, executive director of MAMA (Mujeres Amigas/Women Friends Miles Apart), an education and service agency of the Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Hondureña (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Honduras). “The church laments his premature death.”
In a January 24 email, Robelo reported that the police still had no details of who was responsible for the murder. She indicated that Arevalo, affectionately called Mito, will be remembered for “his great spirit of service to the church and its neighbours.”
January 22 was World Fellowship Sunday, a day in which churches related to Mennonite World Conference are invited to celebrate their connection to a global faith family. Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Hondureña is one of two MWC member churches in Honduras.