- Mission trips into Juarez: Juarez is still a big city – 2+million people and still has similar safety issues as a city of its size. The safety in the areas that we have previously worked in, has returned to pre-drug war levels. Several of us – Sander Engelsgjerd, Diane Bergquist, & myself have been to Juarez in the last 1 ½ years to both attend worship and visit the neighborhoods looking at potential sites for a mission trip. People are out and about in areas that previously had been to dangerous to travel into, even for locals. Roads and buildings are being fixed and reopened, along with general cleanup of the community-trash has been collected, parks being visited, flowers being planted, music being played,etc.
- Our visit in February, showed us a potential family to assist. Would involve building an additional structure, on the property, that would also include a proper toilet. The “family” consist of parents, several children-three that each have a structure on the property, along with their spouse & children. The original home is made of mud/adobe bricks and various wood/metal. The three “new” homes are of wood pallets, cardboard, & metal. We were invited into one of these “new” homes, so family could proudly show us their home. Was clean, but very small. Noticed that one of the “desks” that we had be donated by Spectrum Industries, was being used as a table for various functions. Pr. Pedro indicated that he felt project would require about $1,500 – $2,000, to acquire the necessary materials for this project.
- Cristo Rey our sister church ELCA in El Paso, TX continues to have a very active ministry, yet very challenged by finances. As an inter-city, poor neighborhood church, that ministers to mostly individuals that are “visiting” our country. There financial resources will always be of concern. One of their many ways to supplement their income, is to host “Border Immersion” groups from throughout the USA. They are slowly growing this program and are focusing not only on congregations, but also on the colleges and universities. With institutions of higher learning focusing on getting out and experiencing social issues, this has been helpful in growing this part of Cristo Rey’s ministry and budget.
Those from our congregation can attest to the significance of such a program. Diane & I happened to be there when a group from Xavier College – Cincinnati. Ohio was visiting. We were privilege to engage with them in conversation about the border. They will help change the broken system that people along the border deal with daily. Those issues are right in our own “back yards”
Medical Clinic-Dr. Mendoza: We have just over $30,000 in the account held by Cristo Rey, that can be used for the medical clinic. continues to search for either a building or land that we could purchase that will meet the requirements for both our needs and codes of Juarez/Mexico. It has been frustrating that we’ve not “found” that property in the 3 years that we’ve searched. But we continue to remind ourselves – God’s Time no ours. It appears that we will need more funding, since several of the properties that we have last explored, have been over $30,000. Whatever the cost, we would also need about $5,000 for legal fees. Many have asked about the clinic and have indicated that they would be willing to offer more funding, when that need becomes clearer.
Per our visit with Pr. Pedro, in February. He is requesting that I make only one trip per year and if possible that would be in the fall. That way our donations could arrive prior to severe winter temperatures. Also would get medical supplies and school supplies when they are most needed. Pedro also indicated that he and I are not getting any younger. That the travel and work is getting more challenging, physically for both of us. In all honesty, I had to agree with him.
Pr. Pedro requested more pocket size New Testaments, which we have gladly had shipped to him. People love having their very own scripture, particularly the small size, as their living space is very limited. Easily fits into a plastic bag or container, for safe keeping.
I’m trying to discern the merits and logistics for a fall trip to the border. Will need to make a firm commitment, in the next few weeks, to allow for coordination of travel and schedules. Though “the fall” appears far off. 5 months, is tends to evaporate quickly. Particularly with summer in the middle.