Mission, Service Trip, Pilgrimage?
Leslie Harvison
St. Mary Magdalene has a long rich tradition of Mission/Service trips in the world. We’ve built more than a dozen houses in Juarez, Mexico, staffed summer camps in Blackfoot, Idaho, rebuilt houses after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, cleaned up after Superstorm Sandy in Staten Island, helped build a halfway house in Jamaica, helped build a community center in Veracruz, Mexico for Amiguitos, partnered with our Haitian brothers and sisters in Petit Trou to bring requested educational programs and helped rebuild houses here in Colorado after a tornado hit the nearby town of Windsor. Although we have always have embraced the hard physical work of mission, this year we are travelling to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico with a slightly different focus. Eleven adults and teens will embark next week (June 12th-17th) on a pilgrimage/service trip to find out first hand what it is like for those who live just on the other side of the border.
While there, we will have a chance to meet and hear stories of those who have been recently deported, to learn why some plan to risk their lives to cross the border and to see how people live differently just because they are on the other side of a line. We will see 12 miles of wall that already exists and we will hike a known migrant trail and carry supplies, such as food and water, which may make the difference between life and death for those who try to cross into the U.S. In the afternoons, we will assist with a kid’s camp in the impoverished neighborhood of Bella Vista where over 100 children come each day to have a meal which is sometimes their only food for the day. In the evenings, we will dine in the homes of volunteers who strive to make their community a place where residents want to stay and live. We will also visit our sister Episcopal Church in Nogales, AZ, St. Andrew’s, to hear how they are responding to border issues.
If you want to learn more about our Mexican hosts, HEPAC (Hogar de Esperanza y Paz-Home of Hope and Peace), you can follow this link.
Please keep us in your prayers as we travel and learn. My hope is that our hearts and minds and eyes will be open so that we will share God’s love and compassion in this world and arrive home to our brothers and sisters at St. Mary Magdalene just a little bit broken, a little bit smarter and a lot inspired to seek and serve Christ in all persons.