It always amazes me how the smallest interactions can often be the ones that teach us the most. These small things can almost smack you in the face with how real and unexpected they are. If you’re curious as to what privilege is, this is it.
About a month ago I was in our local grocery store buying some snacks before the bus came by (confession, I’m addicted to Mexican cookies). I went through the line like it was any other day that I needed my cookie fix. I went to the cashier and began speaking to her in Spanish, as is the norm here. Then, to my surprise, the cashier responded to me in perfect English. She asked me where I was from and why I was living here in Mexico. I explained a little bit about Frontera de Cristo and the work we do here on the border. After hearing about our work, she shared with me how she had been living in the US for the majority of her life. She shared how her family still lived there and how she had recently been repatriated to Agua Prieta and how much she missed them. Afterwards I shared a little bit about our Migrant Resource Center and told her that if she needed anything or was curious about something, we would be there to try and help.
Fast forward to today. I had seen our friendly cashier (I’m ashamed to admit I still don’t know her name) and few times and always shared some words with her. Today when I saw her, I asked her how she was doing. She shared how there were good days and bad days, and how she missed her family. She didn’t know if she was still unused to living in Mexico and life here, or if she just missed her family an incredible amount, or if it was a combination of both. She shared with me how it was tough for her because she couldn’t escape it. She is unable to leave and take a vacation and see them to rejuvenate. She told me “It’s different for you. You can just leave and say you’re gonna go for a month and then come back. You can do what you want.” And she’s right. Because of where I was born, because of my fancy passport, I can go home whenever I want and see my family. Hell, I can go across into Douglas to spend some time in Wal-mart if life here is getting to be overwhelming. It’s so easy for me. Because I’m lucky enough to have that privilege, I was conveniently born in the US.
There are thousands of people like my friendly cashier. People who are as unused to Mexico as I was when I first moved here, regardless of being born here. And all they want is to see their families and be with those they love. Remember that when you choose a candidate and hear their plan for immigration. Remember that when you see your family and are able to hug them. And remember that when you look down at your passport or birth certificate showing you as an American. Remember that regardless of where we are born or what language we speak, we all have families. And we want to be with them and see them. And be sure to pay attention to the little things. Because you never know when they might teach you a major life lesson.
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.