Lent is a Time of Waiting
Reflection transforms the march of time into productive moments of change. That is what I love about Lent. This season of waiting turns us toward reflection on many levels.
When new residents arrive they are sick; HIV untreated leaves a body so frail, living on the streets with little food and shelter weakens an already failing body. Our residents come to us from the streets of Tijuana. Many paths and life choices lead to living on the streets; for our folks, HIV+ status coupled with addictions to alcohol and drugs are the biggest factors. For the residents of Albergue Las Memorias Mission* life has not afforded them the time or skill for reflection.
Life here helps residents to see they are not alone, that God is present with great love. Connecting to a deeper understanding that God’s love changes lives provides the foundation for the transformation.
La Programa De Cambio
In this second year serving Las Memorias Mission we have created space, time, and structure for reflecting on our lives. Through working each step of AA and NA together we are seeing productive moments of change. We need time and space to reflect on our hopes, failures, successes, actions in the context of our lives. From this we can make better choices, reaffirm our commitments, and experience growth.
Out of the 125+ residents at ALM the group of 15 people who have contracted with La Programa de Cambio are changing their lives, supporting one another, and impacting the community in positive ways.
Mission visits build relationships
Both the UCC and DOC churches of SoCal have been active in visiting Las Memorias Mission and building relationships with the Albergue and individual residents.
My goal as missionary is to get visitors face to face time with those who visit. We have done this in creative ways: Salon days where men and women are given facials, get nails painted, receive massages; Shadowing residents in their daily service (chores) for the community; Listening to the life stories of the residents. All this lead to the mutuality we strive for in Global Ministries partnerships. These connections of physical touch mean so much to those who have been outcast by society.
Every resident at Albergue Las Memorias Mission is screened for TB. Tijuana has a high concentration of cases; therefore, screening is important due to the fact persons with HIV are more susceptible to being infected with TB.
Our excellent work with treating our TB patients has lead the government to ask that we build a TB unit for non-HIV+ persons…there currently is no such place. These patients would pay for services.
With this plan of a new TB unit, housing configurations need to be restructured. One of the existing women’s units, a trailer, is failing, so its occupants will be moved to the current GLBT dorm when the new GLBT dorm is complete. We are a third of the way through that construction project.
The new TB unit will be constructed where the trailer is located after it is vacated and demolished.
Bienvenidos–Welcome to Albergue Las Memorias Mission
Albergue Las Memorias Mission is a place of healing, transformation, and hope. Come and visit, share, see the people.
*Albergue Las Memorias Mission is a shelter for people living with HIV/AIDS. Each one is given: a bed, 3 meals a day, HIV medication, clothes, transportation to and from the hospital and Dr appointments… all at no charge to the resident. It is a unique place, the only one in Baja California, Mexico.
Jerri L. Handy serves as a Long-term Volunteer with Las Memorias Mission, Nogales, Mexico. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.