Tomorrow is the big day when Deb, Patrice and I leave for El Paso. We don’t know what our assignments will be at Annunciation House yet. Because none of us speak Spanish, we most likely will be working with the team of people who prepare for our guests by cleaning, cooking, sorting through donated clothing, directing people to showers, meals, and beds. Yes, it sounds exhausting but that pales in comparison to what the people we will serve have endured. For the vast majority, they are walking away from their lives, their families, all that is familiar because of the gangs who now rule their cities and towns. Going to the authorities does not help them as the gangs often control the authorities. They are faced with the decision to either pay the “war tax” to the gangs or risk losing a family member to murder. I would hope that if faced with that decision, I would have the courage to simply get up in the middle of the night and start walking to an uncertain future taking only what I can carry in my arms.
My road to El Paso will be aboard a jet with relative comfort. Their road to El Paso has been by walking hundreds of miles with little food, no place to rest their heads and nowhere to escape the harshness of the weather.
My prayer continues to be that I can show them the SSJ Charism of love of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God – without distinction, that I can help ease their burden, even if only for a short time. The road to El Paso – what will we learn but more importantly, how can we help those in need at the border. I will be posting regular articles so you can share this experience with Deb, Patrice and me.