Happy New Year 2015!
I know it has been a while since my last blog post. The shift and transition in my work focus over the past year left me little time to dedicate to my blog. I apologize for my absence and appreciate your understanding.
For my first blog of 2015, I want to introduce you to a unique mission trip experience. Out of a desire to work regionally, PCUSA mission co-workers came together to create a seminar experience focused on immigration – Central America to the US migration. Ten different mission co-workers located in the US/Mexico borderlands, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador came together to plan an experience that would give voice and face to the migration story of so many Central Americans. Additional program offices also lent essential programmatic/educational support – Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Office of Immigration Issues and others. During the experience, the participants would also have direct contact with Presbyterian Church (USA)’s global partners in the region to learn more closely about what they are doing to address the concerns connected with migration.
Here is an excerpt from the trip promotional materials… “The Christian journey might be seen as one of migration, ‘the belief that God migrated to humanity so all of us in turn could migrate to God,’ from Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C. This experience will start before heading to the border, as participants will be invited to explore how immigration touches all of us regardless of where we live and to discover the borders and immigrants in our own communities. The current wave of immigration is rooted in decades of poverty, failed government policies, broken families, lack of protection for children, and violence plaguing Central America’s northern triangle – Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Participants in this trip will listen to the often-unheard voices of children and families sharing why they make the difficult decision to head northward. We will wrestle with complex issues in order better to understand the root causes of immigration. We will explore how these various forces interconnect in the current exodus, delve into theological analysis and see how our global partners are engaging these issues. Together we will discern how we are called on to respond, identifying actions that can contribute positively to our world.” On
January 23, 2014, twelve participants and three facilitators embarked on this trip. Among them are seminary students, migrants, pastors, presbytery leadership, advocates, and Linda Valentine, the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. It is a diverse group dedicated to understanding more deeply why people are choosing (or forced) to leave their homes. Below are two links to Presbyterian News Service articles written by Paul Seebech, Communication Specialist for Mission Communications of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Both articles highlight experiences from the US/Mexico border. I hope to share other articles about the trip as they are ready. Please enjoy viewing the articles by clicking on the titles.
1. Voices from the border and beyond: Along the U.S.–Mexico border, a Presbyterian congregation becomes home to women and children fleeing violence and poverty. Published on January 27, 2015.
2. Desert pathways to a future uncertain: Complex issues inspire refugees’ journeys—and reactions to them. Published on January 29, 2015.
Prayer of Reflection: Today, God, we pray for those whose journeys lead them far from home. We may never understand fully the circumstances that led them to this decision, but may they graced with safe travel and provided space to create a new home and a new life of dignity, hope, and peace. Please also be with those they leave behind. May your presence comfort them. And we also pray that you be present in the lives of those who stay in the midst of uncertainty, insecurity, injustice, and violence as they seek their own pathway to dignity, hope, and peace. AMEN.