I recently wrote this short article for a couple of local church newsletters through Border Servant Corps, and a version was also published in Ciudad Nueva's newsletter, which you can read here: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=1f9860c2f61d97be79b2d5dda&id=45c95891ea&e=e4ab4f268b
The border can be a hard place to find Hope. The middle schoolers with whom I work constantly have a hard time finding that place where their lives belong – where they fit in, where they can feel comfortable, and where they can be safe. They are daily faced with the oppression of bullies at school, unsupportive family at home, and opportunities for drug use and other negative pressures from their friends. My BSC community members and I are constantly hearing stories of desperation – of women who have been separated from their loved ones, of families who can’t scrape up enough money to pay the bills, of children who have been abused. Personally in the last few weeks, I have found myself more discouraged that usual, and I’ve had to spend more time disciplining our after-school kids rather than building positive relationships with them. The past few weeks for me seem to have been overcome by anxiety and anguish of Lent; and it has been difficult to discover Hope.
But thanks be to God, I have been able to glimpse the Risen Lord, even amongst so much brokenness and pain. In my experiences in working with kids here on the border, perhaps the times I see the gift of New Life the most is in opportunities for our kids to discover themselves through new experiences. The most joyous time of my year so far has been taking a group of 12 kids to Hueco Tanks for a day of hiking and rock climbing. None of them had ever done outdoor rock climbing, and as I witnessed our kids conquer the rock, I saw the face of Christ and felt the joy of Life overcoming death. It is amazing how a 10-minute journey up a 20-foot wall of rock can reveal the journey of Lent and the emergence of Easter. Anguish was evident in the kids’ fear of taking the first hand-hold and their shaky bodies as they first pulled themselves up the rock. There were moments of hopelessness and exhaustion. But then standing at the top of the climb, seeing the kids finally pull up and over the top of the rock, the determination in their faces, and the high-fives of joy after conquering the rock, reminded me of the Hope of Easter and the ability to overcome fear and desperation.
In an environment of constant brokenness and struggle, especially on the border, it is hard to find Hope. My heart breaks when a 13-year-old tells me about his abusive mother, when I meet his alcoholic father, when he is constantly being beat up at school. Sometimes all the powers of darkness seem to be working against these kids and the people of the borderland. But I am so grateful when I am given opportunities to glimpse the Risen Lord who overcomes powers of sin, death, and darkness. When a mom finds a safe place to live with her family, when our teenagers are finally given a long-awaited work visa, when a middle schooler finds joy in trying something new like rock climbing – it is in those moments when I find Hope and when the Resurrection of Christ is revealed.