The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
A sign in a mountain which reads: “Ciudad Juárez, the Bible is the truth, read it”, has become a representative icon for 31 years.
“Ciudad Juárez, the Bible is the Truth, read it”.
This message, visible from kilometers on a mountain in Chihuahua (Mexico) has become a representative icon of the city for 31 years.
Although Ciudad Juarez is known for its high rate of crime, there is “another Juarez”, where symbols like this relate Ciudad Juarez with the message of hope of the Bible.
The ‘Hill of the Bible’ was created as a project of unity of the evangelical churches of the city in 1987.
The sign is made of stone, and it is periodically retouched with lime. The garbage adjacent to the letters and in the area is removed periodically, explains Gabriel Andavazo, a pastor in Ciudad Juárez who is currently in charge of the maintenance of the monument.
On September 14, around two thousand people participated in the repainting of the every letter of “The Bible is the Truth, read it”.
4 GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
The caretakers of the monument now hope to obtain international recognition with four possible Guinness records: The world's largest invitation to read the Bible, the sign that covers the largest space (30,000 square meters), the sign painted by the largest number of people by hand (about two thousand), and the sign with the largest letters in the world (up to 50 meters long).
All the necessary files and certified documents to obtain the records, will be collected and sent to The Guinness Record staff to be reviewed.
“JUST ONE PASSAGE OF THE BIBLE”
To be recognised as the world's greatest invitation to read the Bible is the record that most excites them, but “the Guinness record is not the most important thing”, says Andavazo, “but to let everyone know that just one passage of the Bible is the greatest Guinness record made by God himself”.
According to the pastor, many have testified that they have begun to read the Bible and to seek God because of the permanent message of the sign.
The hill has also become a regular tourist visit, almost mandatory, for those who visit the city.
Earlier this month, the mayor of the Ciudad Juárez joined in painting the letters. He thanked the evangelical community for the positive message that the monument on the hill communicates to the city.
LOCAL GROUP AGAINST THE PROJECT
But there are always dissenters. A local group called “Punta de Lanza” (translated: Spear Head) seeks to stop the proposal for the ‘Hill of the Bible’ to obtain the Guinness records.
Three decades later, the group now argues that the monumental project has a negative environmental impact in the mountains of Juárez, although it is not an area protected by the federal government.
“Punta de Lanza” even asked the Guinness Record staff to stop what they see as “the destruction of natural areas in the mountains of Juárez”, and to make “a detailed assessment of the environmental impact that it has suffered over the last thirty years”.
Pastor Andavazo responds that 31 years later, it would be impossible to measure the impact of the initiative. He assures that it is proven that lime paint is harmless to the environment.
The Pastor confirms that the people who perform periodic maintenance every two or three years are careful not to spoil the place. “If we did not pick the garbage we clean up, which are two full trucks at each cleaning visit, there certainly would be ecological damage”, the pastor adds.
The evangelical group has tried to contact the leaders of “Punta de Lanza” to explain their position, and said they are willing to “repair the damage if it is proved that there has been some”. Nevertheless, the organisation did refuse to start conversations.
To learn more about Ciudad Juárez’s ‘Hill of the Bible’, visit its Facebook page (in Spanish).