A letter from Mark Adams on home assignment from Mexico
On May 14 and 15 we plan to be participating in the Mexico Mission Crossroads Conference “Celebrating the Past, Preparing for the Future” at Montreat Conference Center.* Following the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico’s decision to sever relationships with the PC(USA) in August, we were overcome by grief and could not have imagined that we would be in a place to “Celebrate the Past” nor “Prepare for the Future.” Yet, God is good and faithful—even in the midst of disorienting storms of life.
We are grateful to God for the witness of the binational ministry Frontera de Cristo (FDC) and our binational board of directors. The board’s function has always been to discern what God’s will is for the ministry in the changing context of the border. These past seven months the changing context has been not the border but rather the ending of the covenant relationship of our parent denominations.
From the beginning, the board sensed a strong call of God to continue in ministry together. Board member Felipe Barandarian provided a framework through which to understand FDC’s continued ministry together. He related the situation to a divorce in the family:
“Anytime that parents get divorced, the children grieve, are affected in different ways, and react in different ways. There are choices they need to make. They can choose to blame one parent or the other—and choose sides. Or they can choose to respect each parent and seek to continue relating as sisters and brothers.”
We are grateful that Frontera de Cristo has chosen to respect both of our churches and will continue to provide a space for sisters and brothers to come together from both sides of the border to build relationships and understanding across borders while putting flesh on the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed. During our interpretation assignment we have been blessed to reconnect with literally hundreds of people in the United States whose lives have been impacted by the ministry of Frontera de Cristo—a cause for great celebration.
- Cat Dodson is a resident pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Ga. She served as a volunteer with Frontera about 10 years ago. It was wonderful to see her leading God’s people in worship. After worship during a luncheon she shared how her experience on the border had changed the trajectory of her life. She said it was the first time she had experienced the church engaged in issues of justice, breaking the false dichotomy of evangelism/justice.
- The Nazareth Presbyterian Church of Moore, S.C., sent a mission delegation to the border five years ago. While speaking to their Sunday School class, we asked them what the impact of that trip was on their church—with a bit of trepidation for fear of it not having had an impact. Chuck Holmes said that the faith of the Lirio de los Valles Church had strengthened the spiritual lives of the delegation. He went on to say that the church took the idea of Lirio de los Valles of leading Vacation Bible Schools in public parks and not waiting for children to come into a church they might not be comfortable in. They now lead Bible Schools at the local soup kitchen, which has allowed them not only to share God’s love in word and deed with folks who would not go into their church building but also to develop deeper relationships with the folks at the soup kitchen.
- Maggie, a youth from Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C., chose the topic of immigration to do her senior thesis on. “I wanted to give a more humane perspective of the issue, because the humanity of people often gets lost in the news media.” Several of the other youth mentioned that their lives had changed because they no longer “prejudge people” and encourage their friends not to dehumanize any group of people.
- Tammie Anderson and Lynda Fredsell, who travelled on two different FDC trips to the Café Justo community of Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, are hosting “A Taste of Chiapas” for their respective presbyteries in which they will help folks explore the connection between coffee, migration and faith and will encourage churches to partner with Café Justo in developing right relationships across borders through a cup of coffee.
We celebrate that God has transformed lives on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border in the past through the ministry of Frontera de Cristo and those lives are transforming their communities now. We also trust that God will continue to transform lives and communities in the future as faithful people join together in ministry.
We also recognize that our lives have been transformed through participation in this “binational ministry” and are preparing for our June return to the border to serve with Frontera de Cristo, where we trust that God has a beautifully challenging, important and meaningful future for our ministry together.
The Adams Maldonado Family
Miriam, Mark, Cindy, Anna Flor and Nathan
* P.S. The Mexico Mission Crossroads Conference has been cancelled, but it may be rescheduled later. If/when it is, consider joining us in Montreat.
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 4
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Mark and Cindy, thank you so much for this update. I have been deeply concerned about what is happening to you, your family and the ministry in Agua Prieta, since the severing of relationships. Please keep us posted about what you will be doing and how the ministries are proceeding. Blessings and peace, Charlotte