Friday, June 20, 2008

To the Line


First of all I must apologise. Our blog posts have been a little deceiving lately. Steve and I are not still in Mexico. We got back into the U.S. on May 29. We have been a little behind on keeping you up with our current events but hopefully by the end of the weekend everyone will be caught up. So for those of you still wondering and worrying, we are back to our respective places and both in good health.
After a day in Tierra Blanca Steve and I realized we were running out of both time and money. For both these reasons, and because we did not want to be left stranded in the middle of Mexico, we decided to hop, skip, and jump to the border so we could learn about what it takes to actually cross into the States. The bus ride North took us two and a half days. We crossed all kinds of different terrain and were exhausted by the time we got to Nogales (border town between Sonora and Arizona). With our handy dandy passports we hopped right through the border and made straight for the shuttle heading to Tucson. I was so excited to be back in the U.S. that I walked right up to the ticket desk and asked in proud English how much it was for a ticket.
I was met by a blank look.
"¿Como?" said the guy behind the desk.
Turns out people speak Spanish in America too.
Eventually we made it up to Tucson thanks to the generosity of a few No More Deaths volunteers. Being in an American city again was welcoming. It felt strange to walk past a group of people and understand their conversation. People were so white there too. I can't figure out how you can live in a desert and not have an ounce of tan. The next morning we visited the University of Arizona to use the Internet and enjoy the beautiful air conditioning. Steve decided he had had enough and we parted ways after he booked a Greyhound ticket for San Diego.
I was thinking about why we did this trip and was brought back to Matthew 22:37-40 "And he said to them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Love, the law hangs on love. Often one of the questions we got while preparing for this trip was whether or not the people we were going to talk to were illegal immigrants. I don't know why people asked this question and I am sure there are plenty of reasons for it but the answer I never dared to give was: "does it really matter?". The people we met on our trip were our neighbors. They are moving thousands of miles to make that literally true. So if all the rest of the law depends on the command to love God and neighbor, what does it matter if they are in possession of a few extra legal documents? In my interpretation the word 'depends' could be equally translated as 'is subordinate to' which means laws such as immigration take a back seat to the more important law of love for neighbor.
I understand that it is tough to see people as neighbors and friends when the rhetoric we hear screams 'illegals' but I hope as we continue to share more stories with you that you may see the people we describe as image bearers of God with families and lives all their own. I would argue that our adherence to the second greatest commandment for any Christian depends on learning how to see through our circumstances to find our neighbors.

5 comments:

小云 said...

Nate, you are an amazing person :)

allison said...

Hi Steve and Nathen,

I picked up on your blog after reading the story written about your mission in the GR Press. Actually, my mom sent it to me in Chile, and I followed the blog from there. The comprehensiveness of your blog is impressive! And the ultimate goal of raising awareness about the migrant trail, and using that awareness to minister and serve the migrants that reach the US, is well directed. I'm back state-side now, like you guys. Are either of you working in social services in the grand rapids area? Were you involved with a network serving migrants' needs while you were still in college at calvin? I'm looking for ways to get involved, and I'd love it if you could provide any leads. Thanks so much! And luck to you in your future work. Maybe we'll encounter eachother one of these days. : )

-allison
alclaire@umich.edu

olga said...

I followed the blog after the gr press article and would love to hear a bit more.How about some concluding remarks now that you have both been back in the USA for awhile?

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog and think that it is great what you guys do. Your story about the station was funny, and I also think that you are completely right about love for others coming first. Nice job!

Wendy Begley said...

I am so glad you guys are raising awareness. Before I met my spouse Pacheco I had not even given any thought about immigrants illeagal or otherwise. But for the last four years to better understand the situation I have read everything I could get my hands on and asked Pacheco and his friends to tell me about there journey here, whether they used coyotes or came accross legally, I have met people from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Chile and even immigrants from Europe. Thank you for raising awareness and posting that Being shy of a piece of paper does not make you less human.