The recent killing of a U.S. missionary in Mexico is turning some Christians away from ministering in the volatile country.
But many missionaries say they have been called to help Mexico, and will do so no matter what.
Nancy Davis and her husband, Sam, had ministered to Mexico's less fortunate for 40 years. She was killed south of the border after gunmen opened fire in an attempt to stop the couple's truck.
Maryanne Wheeler, a friend of the Davis', said even when violence began to turn many border towns into a war zone, they stayed true to their calling.
"They've had run-ins. They've had times that they have been scared or chased, or they heard that somebody had a road block up ahead and they were able to skirt around it," she said. "It never was a consideration for them to leave."
CBN News Latin America Correspondent Stan Jeter gave more insight on the threats many missionaries face in Mexico and elsewhere. Click play for his comments following Mark Martin's report.
Nancy, an Indiana native, was a registered nurse who had a heart for the people of Mexico.
"She has unreservedly, unconditionally, loved, reached out to the Mexican people," Wheeler said.
Officials say nearly 35,000 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico in the four years since President Felipe Calderon declared an offensive against drug cartels.
The killings reached their highest level last year, jumping almost 60 percent to more than 15,000 deaths.
Yet, missionaries continue to cross the border.
Texas pastor Mark Rotramel of First Baptist Edinburg church admitted missionary work in Mexico is down -- but not out. His church is part of the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Association, which sends missionaries to Mexico and other areas.
"They have to be very careful. Yet they're committed to what God's called them to do -- to go help those folks," he explained.
Bob Kracht is a missionary to Mexico.
"Even though the violence is there, they (missionaries) stick with it because of their commitment to help people and to share the gospel with them," he said.
Kracht doesn't plan to stay out of Mexico, although he now feels safer traveling across the border by plane.