Tuesday, September 14, 2010
A Glimpse of Border Life
O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;
you restored your inheritance as it languished;
your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.Psalm 68:7-12
I am at the end of a very long, full day. We traveled early this morning in vans to Naco, Sonora to have a brief introduction to the ministry and work that is going on there for people. We were greeted by the mayor and his wife, both who are committed to caring for their people and transforming their community. We visited the place where elders are fed, many of whom have little food otherwise due to the economy and separation from families etc. We then went to a brand new clinic that was full of local people, patiently waiting to be seen. As the nurse and the physical therapist went around, everyone present showed concern for the patient and responded to the therapists suggestions with some of their own. Many older people had strokes with no medical follow up or therapy, and many were there with injuries and a host of conditions. From there we went to a migrant center and heard the heart-wrenching story of a man and wife separated from their children, who are in the states, because they returned for a funeral and cannot get back to them. They welcomed us and did not made us feel like liens in their country. We were welcomed and fed wherever we went, often hugged and kissed as well. A genuine hospitality from those with so little.
This evening we participated in a weekly vigil, where crosses are place along the road to the border entry point, and the names are read out loud of each person who has died in the desert attempting to cross the border. It was very moving to hear the names and watch the faces of the people lined up in cars, crossing back home into Mexico. One young woman on foot walked past us, carrying a huge bundle of huggies and a can of paint. A woman taking care of her family. Many of the crosses represented people who had died but who are not identified. I have to wonder how a civilized society can look on all of these deaths and think it is good policy or politics. We were told that since the mid-1990s, 5,500 people have died (bodies that have been found) trying to cross the border between Arizona and Mexico. I am grateful to those who today have opened my heart and my eyes. I don't know what I will say and do tomorrow, but tonight I know things have to change.
We hear the words of the psalm,"you restored your inheritance as it languished;
your flock found a dwelling in it;in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy." I pray that in the coming days and weeks I can tell the story of those who are languishing and be a part of God's solution in this place.