A letter from Mark Adams on the U.S.–Mexico border
March 22, 2010
“The light shines in the darkness ...”
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
What a privilege it is for us to serve on your behalf with the Presbyterian Border Ministry! We continue to be challenged and encouraged in our call to discern God’s will for ministry with folks from both sides of the border and are grateful for your partnership in this call!
This past weekend Mark was asked to participate as a leader in the Annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days. The theme was “A Place to Call Home” and focused on the Christian call to welcome the stranger and to love the alien as ourselves. Julia Thorne, one of the other presenters, shared about the work of the Waldensian Church (the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s partner church in Italy), which is living out its call to hospitality with the thousands upon thousands of African refugees and migrants arriving in Italy.
Julia said that the theme of the Waldensian Church was “Being Church Together.” They had gone beyond the notion of the fulfilling the commandment to welcome the stranger and love the alien toward living into the covenant reality that:
- God in Jesus Christ has reconciled us into one family — we are sisters and brothers;
- God in Jesus Christ is building us into a holy temple in which God dwells by God’s Spirit;
- God in Jesus Christ has called us to form the body of Christ — we are the church together! And together we are called to reflect the light of God that shines in the darkness.
For 25 years Frontera de Cristo has sought to witness to the reality that we are called to be the church together and to reflect the light of Christ here on the border and beyond. The ministry has changed and grown dramatically over the life of the ministry and yet the call of God to us as Christians from two sides of the border remains as strong today as it was when the vision of this crazy thing called binational ministry was born.
Recently we asked each of our different ministries to think about an example of how light shines in the darkness through its ministry. The following are some of the responses:
- Fernando, originally from a Presbyterian family in Chiapas, arrived at the border as a “rebel without a cause.” He had abandoned the faith of his parents and wandered without much direction. Through the ministry of Casa de Oracion, Fernando heard the call of God in his life. He and his wife Odalia have committed themselves to be followers of Christ and to raise their son Josue in the ways of the Lord. Light shines in the darkness.
- Jeff and Mary are a couple from a Presbyterian Church in Tucson who have become active in the ministry of Frontera de Cristo. When asked at a binational gathering, what does Frontera de Cristo mean to you? Jeff responded that it meant an opening of his eyes and those of his church to the realities of the border and the call to serve Christ together across borders. He said that before encountering Frontera de Cristo he had been “ignorant” and that Frontera had been an instrument of God to give him deeper understanding. Light shines in the darkness.
- Lupe and her niece arrive at the Migrant Resource Center after a failed attempt to cross the desert. Lupe’s foot got caught at the top of the 12-foot fence separating our two countries, and she fell head first. Rejected, hurt, cold, hungry and thirsty, Lupe and her niece (along with 18,088 men, women and children in 2009 and over 55,000 since the Center was opened in July of 2006) find a place of welcome and love where they can warm themselves, feed their bodies, and restore a bit of dignity to their souls. Light shines in the darkness.
- Cristina and her family, despite the global economic downturn that has hit Mexico particularly hard, will have their family united for Christmas for the fifth straight year. They are one of the families of Just Coffee, which continues to grow and share its model with other communities. Light shines in the darkness.
- Karina and 11 other women are in recovery at the first female-only rehabilitation center in Agua Prieta. For years our partner CRREDA has received women in the same center as men, but they have dreamed of being able to open a center for women only. This fall that dream became a reality ... and now women in Agua Prieta who find themselves battling the demons of addiction have a new space dedicated especially to them. Light shines in the darkness;
Recently we have updated our website. We ask you to please check the website out and give us feedback on how we can further improve it.
Also we just uploaded our first video on YouTube — “Border Common Wealth.” It is an original composition of Frontera de Cristo’s intern Jordan Bullard. We have put 76 images from our ministry to his interpretation of Ephesians 2:11-22, Presbyterian Border Ministry’s theme passage.
We give thanks to God for you and for your partnership with binational ministry and our family through your generous gifts to World Mission.
Miriam, Mark, Cindy, Anna Flor and Nathan
The Adams Maldonado family
The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 275