Faithful Mission: Frontera de Cristo
A bimonthly online column by Linda Valentine
Recently I had the opportunity to hear some remarkable stories of mission and ministry during the annual gathering of Latin American and Caribbean mission coworkers in San Salvador, October 15–18.
Mark Adams and Miriam Escobar serve as mission coworkers for Frontera de Cristo at the US-Mexico border in partnership with Jocabed “Joca” Gallegos, a member of the Iglesia Presbiteriana Lirio de los Valles of Agua Prieta, Mexico. Together they share diverse responsibilities, including health, food security, family counseling, and the ministry’s work with CRREDA, a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Agua Prieta.
When Joca Gallegos, who serves as Frontera de Cristo’s Mexican coordinator, visited PC(USA) congregations, presbyteries, and colleges for three weeks this fall as one of 12 peacemakers sponsored by the International Peacemaker program, she spoke about CRREDA’s work. In San Salvador, Mark also told stories of remarkable recovery through CRREDA that testify to the power of the risen Christ at the intersection of life and death.
Mark told a story about Napo, an alcoholic who was literally being put into a body bag by the city morgue last year when workers noticed signs of life and took him to the hospital. “After cleaning the worms from his eyes and nose, rehydrating him, and discovering that he was ‘uncontrollable’ in the midst of his withdrawal,” Mark says, “hospital workers took him to CRREDA and left him there, because they could not—or would not—deal with him in his delirium. We were called in to pray with him in the detox room.”
Napo is now in recovery and, with Mark, is studying the Bible regularly. CRREDA has been an instrument of God to save his life and give him another chance.
When Mark was recently asked to do a preaching workshop for the Grand Canyon and de Cristo presbyteries, Napo and another man in recovery, Ernesto, helped Mark to select Scripture and prepare for leadership.
Mark was delighted: “What a joyful surprise—recovering addicts with little formal education, neither of whom can legally enter the United States, being instruments of God to help equip highly educated pastors from the United States.”
Mark’s reflection about Napo resonates with the familiar words of Mary’s Magnificat, especially suitable praise as we move into a season of thanksgiving and expectation:
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty. (Luke 1:51b–53)
In Napo’s story and in Mary’s song—as the expected order of the world is reversed and overturned—we hear anew God’s call to attend to the poor, the hungry, and the marginalized as we work together for justice, freedom, and peace.
Presbyterian World Mission and its partners are offering a travel study seminar, Voices from the Border and Beyond, to the US-Mexico border and Central America this winter (Jan. 23–Feb. 1), aimed at better understanding the border crisis. The registration deadline has been extended until November 30. For a trip summary and registration form, visit the seminar web page.
January - Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
March - The Confession of Belhar
May - On becoming a multicultural church
July - Go Disciple Live
September - Educate a Child, Transform the World
November - Haiti
I have read and understand the the vision and as Presbyterian,I want to be part of that programme.Am an administrator and and deacon ordained seven years now.my pastor is Rev.Steven ssekatogo, Iganga Presbyterian church -Uganda.as an administrator, i have found out that education has been for long a big challenge in our churches basically rural based churches.so i request to work together and see how we can alleviate poverty reduce illiteracy levels.I will be grateful to hear from you.yours in service Deacon Bogere paul
Joining because of the Multicultural conversation.
James and New Covenant are most definitely about ushering in the reign of God. May their tribe increase!
When I was serving churches, before I retired, we often used the Belhar Confession as part of our worship service on Sunday. Members of the church often requested it.