Almost a year ago, I wrote in my blog about the warning that a wise Jesuit professor gave me before I left for Nogales: “In this kind of work, you will encounter people who never rest. Those people believe that all the work depends on them.” A year later, I have not quite learned that lesson. As I sit on vacation in my comfortable home in Denver, Colorado, I think with frustration about the work that I could be doing if I were in Mexico.
But rest, vacation, breaks, and time away are all a time to remember who is in control. To remember that it is God’s work and not my own. And, as a friend recently reminded me, because it is God’s work, He has called many to collaborate.
So in the spirit of my vacation, I want to take a few words to celebrate the work of others who encourage me in their ongoing commitment to migrants.
- Sister Rosalba, who works at the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, but in August will serve for a few weeks in southern Mexico at El Albergue Jesus el Buen Pastor del Pobre y el Migrante. That shelter cares for migrants who have lost limbs while trying to jump the freight trains. When I was deciding where to go for the summer, I had the sense that I was not emotionally mature enough to work there. But God sends others. Such as Rosalba, who I know will encourage the migrants as she shares with them God’s hope, peace, and love.
- The community of Tierra Blanca, who responded with incredible generosity to the increased need when the train finally started to arrive with loads of migrants. And, of course, the permanent staff and volunteers who continue to work there.
- Those who continue to collaborate in Nogales, including the equipo base as well as the many volunteers that I have had the honor of meeting and, in some cases, the pleasure of continuing conversation. For example, Peg, who has worked with the Santa Cruz Community Foundation’s student internship program to introduce college students to the reality of life on the border.
- El Centro Humanitario, a day laborer center in Denver that I will have the opportunity to visit tomorrow.
- Religious communities in Denver, including evangelical leaders who meet monthly to pray for immigrants. (For those in Denver, contact me for details on the upcoming meeting).
- Immigrant youth across the country who continue to advocate for a more just and sensible political response. They persevere in spite of years of setbacks and, in many cases, the risk of deportation for those who are openly undocumented.
This list is just a partial account of those working in immigration. I could continue to list the many who are living out God’s will in other ways in their community and in the world. The point is that, in sum total, it is God’s work and not our own. Which is why we rest on occasion and why we spring back into action.