"In heaven, will God ask for papers?"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sin Fronteras

To have hope
Is to be a courier of God
And courier of men and women of good will,
Tearing down walls, destroying borders,
Building bridges.

When I signed up for the Border Servant Corps, I did not expect to live less than a mile away from Mexico. I can see the lights of Juarez, Mexico, from my window at night, and I glance at its neighborhoods down the street every morning.

Though we live very close to the border, Thursday we got up close and personal. We traveled out of the Juarez-El Paso metropolis a few miles, where we met a few yards away from the border fence with a worker from Border Patrol. He gave us a good run down on the purpose of the BP and what they do, including things I had never heard about, including rescue-type missions in the desert and the canals, where they have trained medical teams that search for those migrants "left behind" and get them medical attention before proceeding with the legal stuff. I didn't expect to hear that. He shared many honest and positive things about the border, but I am still critical about BP and its actions. All I've ever heard were harsh stories about abuse and unmerciful BP officers, as well as the sad separation between families that have the hardest time either leaving Mexico or fear to return to Mexico because of fear to never be let back into the US. But you can't categorize an entire group by just one side of the story, right? I'm still learning.

As soon as we were finished speaking with the BP, we approached the fence where two women were waiting for us on the other side. They were friends of our program, often visited in their community by people coming down on border immersion trips. But because of the increase in violence in Juarez and the risk of having a large group of US people in their community, it has been decided that the best conversation location is at the fence. 

We heard about their community, their struggles, their families. It was a great conversation, full of Spanish and English, with local kids nearby kicking around rocks, sticking their fingers through the fence, and whispering about us. They were very kind women who are doing great things for their community, and whose love for others and for God was evident in their words. But perhaps the best part of our time at the fence was how we ended our time there.

We had been warned by our BP friend that we shouldn't actually touch the fence or stand right next to it, for suspicion that we were trading items. But that did not stop us from sticking our fingers through the chain links, holding onto each other, and closing in a circle of prayer. It was simply the Lord's Prayer, but at that moment when were connected to each other, there was no language barrier, no fence...nothing but our praise and petitions to the One in whom there are no borders. 

Paul once said, "For I am convinced that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God." I am also convinced that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God we find in our neighbors. Especially not a 15-foot "climb-proof" chain-link fence.

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