Dear Friends March 21, 2018
Some of you have been following our attempts to keep the Mexican social security system from an outrageous extortion attempt that we have been fighting for some weeks. This is a scam they run on construction workers whenever they can get away with it. They pretend that any workers whom you have subcontracted are actually employees of yours and therefore you have to pay for their social security, (which is really a socialized health care system similar to Obamacare; it has nothing to do with their retirement). This is a common way of getting money due to the fact that most of the companies that are hired as subcontractors do not pay for their own employees as stipulated by the law, so the government goes after anyone they can.
They originally called us to a meeting and tried to force us to pay about $5,000 dollars as a part of this scam. Then on the following Monday they sent us a notification that the cost had risen to over $30,000 dollars. When we sent our church accountant to meet with them they threatened her and warned that we would have to pay $50,000 dollars if we did not go along with their demands. They were using false figures and lies all related to the remodel of the church building that we purchased last year. They actually claimed that we had ‘built’ a ‘new’ building almost three times the size of the present structure. They also informed us that after we paid them, the workers would not have any legal recourse if they made a claim!
The Lord has used our political contacts to stop the extortion attempt. We have been assured that things will now be done legally and according to the facts. We are still awaiting instructions regarding the next step. We have heard through the grapevine that they may exempt us from paying any money. There is a clause in the law that exempts churches from this kind of scam, but it has taken intervention by our contacts in the Mexican congress to get them to consider this.
Our people have sacrificially given almost $500,000 dollars for this building that is strategically located in the heart of our city. This is the most recent of many trials we have faced regarding this project. The whole affair has been a great step of faith and learning process for our people. We continue to be amazed at the way the Lord has repeatedly answered prayers and intervened.
The pressure to finish the NAFTA renegotiation continues to ramp up. The leading candidate for the upcoming presidential election (July 1st) has taken a ‘hard line’ against this. He stated yesterday that the negotiations must include ‘immigration’ and put a stop to the border wall, or he will not allow NAFTA to continue. He is also threatening to stop the privatization of Mexico’s oil sector and no longer import gasoline from the U.S.A. These moves would put the country on a path similar to Venezuela as Mexico exports over 80% of their manufacturing to the States and imports almost the same amount in gasoline and gas. Mexico was an economic ‘basket case’ before NAFTA.
We have been enjoying unusually good Institute sessions and Sunday services. We are planning to have some special meetings once we are in the new building. We have 10-15 who are requesting baptism and hope to baptize most of them at the opening services. We covet your prayers for the liberty to continue to spread the Gospel here.
Missionary Tom Montgomery and Family