Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy
Mathew 5: 7-12
Who is the person that needs my mercy?
Who needs your mercy?
When you live in a community of angry and revenge, you learned to be aggressive with every people. But if you have mercy in that world, you will be or looks stranger. It that is a Jesus responds
Firstable I want to see with you, how God was mercy for us, and He still give us every day. “He is great in mercy” One of the things about of God`s personality is mercy and we are creative in the divine imagine of God`s love.
Second, in this point is really difficult to do and sometimes we just want to jump this part. Be mery with the people who bother you.Remember God all the time every day, every second, has mercy for you.
I see the injustice in my community and we say is “the system`s fault”, but the people (us), we are encharge of that system. We can change those laws.
I need to be mercy and teach to the kids what is the real thing, what is important, that`s my job. And also, I need to show them, how do mercy, how make mercy.It`s hard, very hard. 26 years living in the border, and my question was why I need to learn English, if they do not want me there? They built that wall, to keep me out. But God gave to me this day is a opportunity to do something.
And last one, give mercy make you happy. When you heard the stories and you see how close do you are with that person, you understand how small is this world, and you feel that you are part of the stories. The stories of your brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons… your family.You are part of that family. In there, is when you found the joy, doing mercy with your family (world).
Jesus said: Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven.
Spend the eternity with God how wonderful life. It is a promise. I learned if I want to be happy, I need to make mercy and have compassion with all. It is difficult but not impossible.
But because of this great love for us, who is rich in MERCY make us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions: ¡it is by grace you have been saved!
Ephesians 2: 4-5
Dichosos los compasivos porque serán tratados con compasión.
Mateo 5:7 y 12
¿Quién es la persona que necesita mi misericordia?
¿Quién necesita tu misericordia?
Cuando estas en una comunidad en donde el odio y la venganza es una respuesta a la ofensa; molestar misericordia es algo extraño, pero es la respuesta dada por Jesucristo. El primer punto que quisiera decir es Dios mostro y nos dio misericordia y aun lo sigue haciendo “Grande en misericordia”
Es pate de ser creado por Dios, la misericordia.
Segundo se misericordioso con la gente que muchos veces. Recuerda Dios perdona tus pecados todos los días. Como YAV muchas veces he visto la injusticia alrededor. Y cuántas vidas sufren.
Y antes de que me moleste por la situación, recuerdo Dios tiene un plan y yo necesito enfocarme en tener misericordia. No es fácil. No es fácil, por 26 años viviendo en la frontera México/USA pensé si ellos construyeron esa muralla es por qué no me quieren allá, entonces por que tendría que cruzar o aprender su idioma. Es un muro para mantenerme alejada. Pero cada día es una oportunidad.
Y tercero dar misericordia te produce alegría. He encontrado tantos buenos momentos cuando escucho las historias y soy parte de ellas, de las cenas o simplemente de tomar una taza de café, tu vida se une.
Jesús dijo: Alégrense y llénense de gozo porque los espera una gran recompensa en el cielo.
He aprendido que si quieres ser feliz necesito ser una persona que practique la misericordia que agrade a Dios. No la que me parece a mi que es la “misericordia” que tengo que dar.
Pero Dios que es grande en misericordia por su gran amor por nosotros. Nos da vida en Cristo, cuando estábamos menos en pecado; ¡por gracia ustedes han sido salvados!
Efesios 2: 4-5
Hi everyone! Last Sunday, we were invited up to Holy Way Presbyterian Church in Tucson to speak some more about our experience as YAVs. This is what I had to say for my sermon:
“For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God…”
-Ephesians 2: 14-19
Thanks to all of you for inviting us to be present and to speak this morning here at Holy Way. I have been watching and reading much, in the past few weeks and months, about the upcoming Presidential elections. It has been strange to live in Mexico- specifically, on the border- during a time in which there has been so much discourse about so-called “border security” in national media. Most people I’ve met here in the borderlands since my arrival on September 5th are dismayed, even scared, by the possibility of seeing further militarization and deeper division along the border. I, for one, don’t know that our southern border policy currently accomplishes much other than to criminalize the poor who attempt to come to the United States and look for work. During my time as a YAV, I have privately struggled to intellectualize the issue and figure out what would be the ideal way to stem the flow of drugs and organized crime into our country, while allowing law-abiding citizens to pass freely between the United States and Mexico. But I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. Bad on me, I guess.
But whatever political opinions we come to on our own, I think it’s important to remember that those who come here are not simply part of a “brown wave,” or looking to “steal jobs from good, hard-working Americans.” They are people, with hopes, aspirations, fears, and dreams, just like you and I. They are people who simply want to escape poverty or violence in their homelands, and feel they have no other choice but to leave. I will tell you now about one of them whom I just met Thursday in the MRC.
His name is Javier. We didn’t exchange many words on this particular day. But after he had already eaten with a group of men from the overnight migrant shelter, I simply asked if he would like some of my juice. He declined, and asked instead (very politely) if he could use our telephone to call his girlfriend in El Paso. “Of course,” I told him. She wouldn’t get off work until at least 4 o’clock, however. So Javier settled into the chair in front of where I sat, at the desk in our office, at the back of the MRC. And he waited, and waited some more. After a few moments, he spoke again, and I realized he was tearing up.
“Es que quiero buscar a Dios, hermano, pero no sé cómo…” he managed, as a tear dripped from his face. “I want to search for God, brother, but I don’t know how…” I wasn’t sure what to say to that, so I just sat with him and waited patiently, hoping he would tell me more about himself. Javier and I sat in silence a bit longer, then I asked him where he was from, if he had been to the United States, and where his family was. He told me he was from Chihuahua, that he had family back there as well as in San Diego, El Paso, and Denver. He had spent time with his family in all three cities, but was separated from them now. He helped himself to a Kleenex as he was telling me this, and I asked him what he was planning to do next- re-enter the States, or go back to his aunts’ home in Chihuahua. He wasn’t sure, but underscored that he definitely wanted to leave Agua Prieta as soon as he could. I loaned him the phone now, and he called his girlfriend in El Paso. She must not have gotten home from work right on time; the first two times we called, she wasn’t there. After a few more minutes went by, Javier tried again, and she answered. They spoke briefly, while I tried not to listen in, and respect their privacy. When Javier was finished, he hung up, and seemed visibly reassured. He thanked me, and turned to walk out. “Dios está contigo,” I told him, as he walked out, and he thanked me once again.
Others I’ve spoken with in the MRC the past couple of days have had to hitch rides all along the Mexican border recently- from Monterrey to Matamoros to Naco and back to Agua Prieta- in order to get where they are now. They are, in the most literal sense, sojourners- strangers in a place strange to them. But we are, of course, fellow citizens of the world. And as Christians, we believe that we are all beloved by God. As we go forth, let’s work to make all with whom we share this earth feel a bit more beloved. Let’s remember Javier.
Long time, no blog! I’m back and ready to write! This is a “sermonette” that I given on several speaking events that I attend with my fellow Tucson Borderlands YAVs, Grace, Hanbyeol and Allie.
Me, Gaby, Hanbyeol, April, Allie & Grace at the U.S.-Mexico border. We are doing the iconic Korean peace sign that Hanbyeol has taught us to adopt. Gaby spent 3 months in the Hen House as she did her last semester at North Texas doing an externship at a local non-profit, Derechos Humanos. April is a Global Fellow Methodist Volunteer who works at another non-profit called Primavera. Myself, Hanbyeol, Allie and Grace are YAVs.
We are collectively from Texas, Maryland, South Korea, San Francisco, Alabama and Connecticut. On the Myer-Briggs spectrum, our community is a motley crew of an ISFP, ENTJ, and INTJs, the list goes on. Some of us rise at 3am and some of us roll out the door 20 or 30 minutes before we have to arrive at work. We have the minds and qualities of poets, delegators, organizers, teachers, life-coaches, mediators, managers, social workers, architects and economists. Yes, there are only six of us in the house but all my housemates are all extremely multi-faceted.
“The Hen House” – as we dubbed ourselves early on in the year- daily face the topics of immigration, sexism in the work place, refugees and asylum seekers, low-income home repair, homelessness, systemic racism. We have read books about charities that hurt more than help. We have discussed the struggles and joys of working alongside non-profits and how the church can better engage young adults and their lifestyles and relevant concerns and how we can better be proactive in our relationship with the church. We not only deal with these realities in our work environment but also process, discuss and unpack these subjects at home. Sometimes we thrive upon this reflection and other times we are so exhausted that we say , “Okay. Let’s talk about something different or let’s go listen to Beyonce and dance.” Don’t worry, sometimes we try to be normal young adults.
When my cousin asked me a few weeks ago about the “spiritual practices” that we engage in as a community, I was at a loss for words at first. We are not engaging in the typical Bible study and prayer group-type of activities. Of course these are great tools to access the Divine but they are not the only way. As a house, we were tasked to come up with a house covenant to describe our expectations of each other as active agents in our own community. In many ways, I see our collective prayer through the ways in which we lift each other up. For example, we cheer each other on by speaking about body image in a constructive and positive frame of mind. We have encouraged each other to “get physical,” join the YMCA, join a soccer league, hike Tummamoc Hill or Sabino Canyon. When one of us has a challenge at work, we have been there to brainstorm and encourage each other to try from a different angle.
As I have thought about how diverse and rich the “body of Christ” is, I have realized that trying to understand or at least listen to and consider another reality outside of your own experience is a deeply spiritual practice. Trust me, that is the hardest part of community. The thing about living together is that time and time again, you often have to alter your view to make sure that you respect the space of another. I think twice about leaving my laundry on the line because I know my housemate will need it later. This year, clear communication and stepping outside myself and my comfort zone have been my gospel. I fall short of this often but there is a beautiful resurrection in relationship when my housemates and I talk to one another about the ways in which we can once again more wonderfully communicate with each other.
One of the brief yet most pivotal moments of my YAV year happened one afternoon after a long day. I walked into the kitchen, sweaty from my bike ride, still wearing my helmet, my shoulders were slumped and my confidence was low. Upon entering the kitchen, Hanbyeol – our 5th YAV from South Korea who was not able to attend today – asked me, “Emily, how was your day?” I started complaining about my day and how I felt frustrated about being a comment that I did not find helpful, in fact actually hurtful. Hanbyeol reminded me, “Emily this person is not your master, God is your master.” I instantly melted into tears as I was once again reminded of the importance of community and how my housemates have reminded me time and time again of my belovedness.
Some people spend Valentine's Day kissing their boyfriends. Some spend the day bingeing on chocolates with their gal pals. I spent the day speaking about migrant justice at University Presbyterian Church in Tempe, Arizona. This church graciously invited the Tucson YAVs to be their weekend guests during Mission Month. We led a workshop on Solidarity, Charity and Advocacy, preached, spoke during Adult Education and went on a short hike with the youth group. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share my reflections on my year service.
The four Tucson YAVs, Allie, Emily, Hanbyeol, and I preached a sermon together. First, we read a poem called Passover Remember, which we first heard during YAV Orientation in August. Then, we used different verses to individually reflect on the our experiences during the first half of our YAV year.
Below is my part of the sermon. Click here to hear a recording of our sermon.
Do not hesitate to leave
Your old ways behind –
Fear, silence, submission
… Then begin quickly,
before you have time to sink back
into the old slavery
Why do we feel the need to create borders? How do we build equal and respectful relationships with people who are unlike us? How can I work as an ally with those who are oppressed? What does modern day slavery look like? These are some of the questions I’ve grappled with during my year of service with Young Adult Volunteers.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve at BorderLinks, where I organize and lead educational trips about the border. During the last six months, I have spent time with a wide variety of people who have taught me more than I could have imagined.
While observing the 25-foot border wall that separates Mexico and the United States, I have prayed with seminarians, reflected with teenagers, and taken pictures with retirees. I have led workshops for squirmy middle schoolers where we explore what the words “immigrant,” “border”, or “family” mean to them. Brave migrants have told me their harrowing testimonies at shelters in border towns like Nogales and Agua Prieta, Sonora. I’ve wept as a woman recounted her experience of crossing the desert, getting detained by Border Patrol, and separated from her husband. I have visited migrants at Florence Detention Center who migrated north to escape cartel violence in Honduras and Guatemala. I have felt the panic that constricts your chest when you learn that your friend’s undocumented husband was just detained. In the last few months, the border has come a part of me. It is present in my thoughts, my tears, my worries, and my prayers.
In addition to learning about the challenges on the border, I had the chance to meet people who are bringing human dignity back to this region. Raul, one of my friends and coworkers, spent last Christmas in a cold detention center, visiting detainees who have no one else to support them. My friend, Josue, grew up undocumented, and is now organizing with other young migrants to get more access to higher education. My local Presbyterian church, Southside, has opened its door to provide sanctuary to an undocumented mother so she can stay with her two boys and husband.
Amidst the darkness, I have also witnessed a powerful display of God’s love in the borderlands. We are lucky to be part of a community of students, pastors, church members, atheists, migrants, and allies who have bonded together to turn barriers into bridges and make our earth look more like God’s kingdom. As the Bible says in Ephesians 2: 13-15, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations.”
During the last six months, my eyes have opened, my heart has ached, and my resolve has been strengthened. With the support of my fellow volunteers and coworkers, I have begun to acknowledge my privilege, my citizenship and the effects of my country’s policies.
My work here has encouraged me not to “sink back into the old slavery” of injustice, prejudice, and ignorance. I truly believe that the most radical act of love is to introduce people to each other. If be build relationships, we realize we are linked. Their struggle is our struggle. Our society’s borders affect us all by perpetuating division, fear, and even hatred. If we leave behind our fear, silence and submission we can reach a state of collective liberation where we are all free.