Frontera de Cristo Mission Trip — March 2024

Frontera de Cristo van

From the delegation (3-10-24 during the the Moment for Mission at the start of the worship service) — Good morning, when Pastor Rachel invited me to give a brief summary of our trip, prior to our departure, I jumped at the chance.  It would be a great opportunity to share the works of our mission partner, Frontera de Cristo.  What I wasn’t prepared for, and I know I speak for each participant, is how moved each of us would be by this experience.  Finding descriptive language for our experience has been a challenge.  We indeed saw the Spirit moving in miraculous ways.

Our group included 5 members from the church.  We were joined by Sister Kathy, of the Franciscan Order.  We were honored to celebrate her Jubilee year, marking 60 years of service.  As we have discussed among ourselves, and others provided insightful synthesis, what I offer here briefly represents the collective wisdom of the group, I’m the messenger.

We were able to visit four of the core ministries supported by Frontera de Cristo.

  • DouglaPrieta Trabaja is a women’s cooperative which equips women with skills and a livelihood.  We were treated to a wonderful lunch and conversation here.  Efforts here include carpentry and furniture making, sewing and space to sell crafts and products, community garden, all to empower women in their immediate community.
  • Children’s Enrichment Ministry.  This particular visit had some of the most significant impact on each of us individually.  Children of the community are provided a safe, educational, and nurturing place, when not in school.  We asked questions, they asked questions.  Then completely spontaneously, one of the children asked to give us a hug. All the kids lined up and gave us big embracing hugs and then returned to the end of the line to do it again!!  None of us will forget that moment.
  • Migrant Resource Center.  This stop, more than any, brought to us an acute awareness of the complexities of migration and the complexities of the laws of both countries.  The clients being served here are individuals who have been expelled from the US.  Hearing the challenges faced by these clients and the staff that assists them will remain with each of us for some time.
  • Cafe Justo and Cafe Justo y Mas.  The Cafe Justo cooperative’s primary mission has been to address the root cause of migration, economic insecurity.  Founded in 2002, the continued growth of the cooperative through purchases of coffee, has allowed growers to remain on their land and create a legacy for their future generations.  It also offers borderland employment at the roasting and distributions points.  In 2006, Cafe Justo y Mas, a coffee shop and community gathering spot was founded.  It currently occupies a very modern, inviting space, that during our visit was hopping!!  The coffee shop purchases 6000 pounds of coffee per year from Cafe Justo farmers.  In addition, it provides scholarships, community art space and is a source of employment for graduates of the the Frontera de Cristo rehab center, CAME, which we did not have enough time to visit this trip.  Support for Cafe Justo growers and families provided by Mt. Shadows is noteworthy.  During our years of support we have purchased over 7000 pounds of coffee, totaling over $53,000 in purchases.  This translates to the support of eight families.  We encourage our members to purchase coffee on line and continue our support.

We also had the opportunity to participate in the Healing Our Borders Prayer Vigil, which honors the life and death of migrants who have lost their lives while making their journey.  And finally, we shared in a prayer circle with Frontera de Cristo staff.  We were all impressed by the deep faith and commitment of those with whom we shared songs, prayers, and hope.  There were other moments of reflection, prayer and discussion.  Throughout the two days, we were often reminded of the stark difference in how the two communities embrace or don’t the borderland space.

In conclusion, this experience was one of sights, sounds, tastes that don’t translate well.  We hope to provide the visual imagery we captured in photos. At the start of each discussion or new encounter, we would introduce ourselves and note where we were born.  This serves as a reminder that all of us have migrated from somewhere.  And more than anything, we witnessed and can continue to shine light on these significant ministries that are bringing faith, strength and hope into the real lives of our neighbors.  As a faith community that often struggles with, as a small church, can we make a difference.  We can answer emphatically YES!

We would all like to thank Mark and Miriam for hosting us and the wonderful hospitality they provided and discussions they led.  Also we would like to thank all the Frontera de Cristo staff and volunteers who assisted and guided us on our journey.

I have used these words from Paul in Second Corinthians before, and I find they still fit…. “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything you may share abundantly in every good work” 2 Corinthians 9:8

The delegation’s photos of the Mountain Shadows Mighty Mission Team and friends.  Thanks much Mark and Miriam for hosting and for the staff and volunteers from Frontera de Cristo for guiding the journey.