A letter from Andrés Garcia in Mexico
October 14, 2011
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Gloria and I send our greetings to you and all saints known as the believers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Above all things, we lift our hearts before the Eternal God, asking him for every one of you throughout the Americas. May the Lord’s grace and the overflowing love of Jesus Christ continue to be with you every day.
Many of you already know the difficult times and circumstances Mexico lives with today. Particularly here in the cities and towns of the northern border between Mexico and the U.S.A. The life of the people in these parts of the country has too many risks. Every person who dares to walk in the streets has the possibility of being killed in the crossfire between the Mexican army and drug traffickers.
The everyday stories could be enough to write many pages and reports. However, this is not the purpose of this newsletter. We are here, between Reynosa/Mexico and Hidalgo, Texas, where there is the great beauty of the sky blue waters of the Gran Rio Bravo. To do our work in Mexico we walk two miles and have to cross the border bridge. As we cross the bridge one can see endless rows of cars, buses, large trailers, and people getting in and out of the checkpoints of the border police. The intense heat almost burns our skin and drips of sweat come pouring down our foreheads. In the mist of the heat we rush through the bridge gates because Pastor Ishmael is waiting for us to take us to the city of Reynosa.
More than one and a half million people come and go throughout the city. This seems like an unstoppable flowing river of chaotic motion. However, with some purpose achieved at the end of the day. Dust and heavy metallic trash are seen everywhere. Suddenly at a traffic light several boys and girls compete among themselves for who gets to clean the windshield of our old truck. You may see this scenario as a typical trend in a Third World country. Mexico is one of them!
Nevertheless, the picture of these kids on the streets is just one of the many indicators pointing to the problems Mexico faces today. Violence, war on narcotics, human trafficking, and women slavery are social dysfunctions of monumental proportions. These problems have a way out. However, this will never be resolved if governments, civil societies, and religious institutions do not battle the real ground causes: of poverty, ignorance, injustice, and the exclusion of people from benefiting from the national wealth. Therefore, the missionary voices must be heard in the ears of the church as an unavoidable calling.
In regard to the PC(USA) mission in this part of the world, it is clear that Mexico had been, is, and will be the “Samaria” of American Presbyterianism. In reading about Mexico’s history, it is amazing to realize how the values of Protestantism (among others) gave way to an era of profound changes. However, equality was and is in the presence of these returning forces of changes, which contemporary historians describe as “the unfinished business.” This is what historian Osmundo O’Gorman points to as “the trauma of Mexico and its history,” a story of traditional life absolutist. The majority of Mexicans are indoctrinated to develop resistance to a progressive mind. This in turn can lead to dehumanizing values that oppress people, clipping off their dreams. All this presents a great challenge to Presbyterian mission here in Mexico.
As many of you may know, my wife Gloria and I were assigned to serve as mission co-workers in the border ministry. This ministry is called “Puentes de Cristo,” located in Reynosa, Mexico. Through this PC(USA) ministry we are reaching out to 57 boys and girls—providing one nutritional meal per day plus Bible teaching, aimed to nourish their lives with the Word of God. Puentes de Cristo also continues working side by side with a group of 20 women, facilitating them with vocational education in cosmetology (the art of the beautician) and sewing. The goal of these projects is to enhance the potential of these women to become qualified entrepreneurs and self-supporting heads of family. Each one of these ministries is part of a wider and comprehensive outreach working plan on both sides of the border. The bottom line of this work is a strategic program of five years in length under the name of “Evangelizing the Border, planting for the harvest.”
As this work has been in progress, we have received sadly the bad news about the severance of relationships between the Presbyterian Church of Mexico and the PC(USA). The BREAKDOWN of relationships has created a painful impact in our lives and work. At the same time it has also affected our brothers and sisters in Christ in several ministries along the border and the interior of Mexico.
Gloria and I are hopeful and confident of God’s promises. For God will do things his way in order to bring peace and reconciliation between the two churches. Amidst these current circumstances, Gloria and I look ahead to continuing to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, instead of our courage being drawn back, we move forward by knowing that Christ is ahead of us on the road toward his mission field.
Beloved sisters and brothers, pray for us and the Puentes de Cristo ministry, pray for Presbyterians in Mexico and in the U.S.A. as well, so that we may hear the cry of God on the faces of the less fortunate ones in Mexico and in the United States.
Sincerely yours in Christ.
ANDRES & GLORIA GARCIA
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 4
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Editor's note: Andres and Gloria are continuing to serve with Puentes de Cristo in Reynosa. Presbyterian World Mission is committed to continue ministry in Mexico and along the border. Read more