A letter from Andrés Garcia in Mexico
I could not stop my tears from flowing. The helicopters overhead hovered at a close distance from the border. That morning, at around 8:30, I drove to the bridge crossing into Reynosa, Mexico. We were on the Military Highway that extends from east to west and very close to the northern bank of the Rio Grande. Entering into the town of Hidalgo, we turned onto the ramp to the left and then headed toward the boulevard across the international bridge. In that area offices of several banks, warehouses and auto parts stores have their backyard garbage containers that are large enough to accommodate any number of discarded items. We were only a couple of blocks from the bridge when two helicopters, border patrols, and dogs surrounded a dumpster where a group of undocumented migrants where hiding to avoid the border police. For obvious reasons we did not have much time to observe the scene, but we could see faces full of fear and the obvious truncated destiny of that group of poor people from south of Rio Grande. Once Gloria and I walked to the bridge, we saw security officers in more than normal numbers, checking vehicles coming into Mexico. To cross over, the scene was similar: federal soldiers, policemen dressed in black with faces covered, and several cars with .50-caliber machine guns in position to shoot. The news media had said the day before that several individuals had broken into a gun store, in the area of Hidalgo, and stolen about 40 assault rifles. They also said that approximately 800-l,000 emigrants where traveling on “La Bestia” (The Beast: the train that immigrants from Central America ride in to journey through Mexico toward the U.S.A). So the border security situation was hot and would be the reason for the presence of so many military devices.
“CHANGE FOR BETTER LIFE”
That was the slogan of the party that won the election on July 1 of this year. No doubt the electoral process in the Mexican democracy of today leaves a path open in a homeland of incalculable potential for a prosperous country, fascinating for its rich culture and exemplary dignity of all its citizens living in and outside of Mexico’s lands. That is the crucial challenge for the new government that will assume leadership of the nation—to bring government for a greater good for the whole country and not only to take over the political power.
The slogan makes sense for Mexico and all who want the best for it. It is our desire as expressed in the Lord’s Prayer: God, thy kingdom come. We fervently hope that the new government may work toward greater justice and social peace. It is amazing to see here in this part of the border how thousands of Mexicans cross the border legally to shop at stores and markets in the Rio Grande Valley. Every day, but especially on weekends and during holidays, we see on the streets and parking places of McAllen hundreds of cars with Mexican license plates, which indicate the significant economic benefits and commercial and cultural exchanges that take place between the people of both nations. No doubt a “border atmosphere” without fears, prejudices and xenophobic remnants would mean the U.S.A.-Mexico border would be a vibrant emporium of life, progress and prosperity as well. The enhancement of this purpose is why we are sharing the love of Jesus Christ here.
After a year and six months of carrying out two self-development programs, at Puentes de Cristo we celebrated the graduation of 14 women in cosmetology and 4 in sewing. We will resume classes with a new group enrolment next month, September, for two years’ duration. The program works with women, young and old, to encourage their personal growth and dignity. This helps them to achieve a better quality of life.
The participants are marginalized women in the city of Reynosa, Mexico, who struggle to make their living. They are learning to open their own businesses and to provide for their families as well.
JOIN US IN PRAYER FOR:
Puentes de Cristo Inc., which needs a mission volunteer worker, male or female, to assist us in our office work and fieldwork in Hidalgo, Texas.
Sister in Christ, Claudia Casas in Reynosa, Mexico. Claudia is a committed Presbyterian young woman who is the current responsible person for overseeing the Puentes de Cristo Children's Program in Colonia Lucio Blanco. Claudia does this job as a volunteer worker.
Puentes de Cristo’s Board of Directors:
- Teacher Tina Turck……………President
- Rev. Krin Van Tatenhove……..Vice-president
- Elder Barbara Hervey ………...Treasurer
- Mrs. Julie Gonzalez……………Secretary
May God continue to grant them vibrant love and passion for witnessing Jesus Christ through the Puentes de Cristo ministry at the U.S.A.-Mexico border.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Andres & Gloria Garcia
Puentes de Cristo Coordinators
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 4