As I look at different posts on social media, many people report a drastic reduction of activity on the streets of their cities and a strange quiet blanketing the areas where they live as a result of the stay at home directives in their countries. The opposite seems to be true in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the city where I live in Chiapas, Southern Mexico.Read more
Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries was established in 1985 with the specific purpose of providing assistance to refugees (primarily coming from Central America) seeking asylum in the United States. The mission of Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries is to teach the love of Jesus Christ by building a renewed sense of wholeness and dignity and by standing with those who are broken, especially among refugees and those who are disenfranchised and displaced. The Good News of salvation is lived out by addressing spiritual and material needs, including emergency shelter and food, clothing, transportation, legal aid, advocacy, and job referral through a cooperative effort with other agencies and religious organizations.Read more
With nations around the world confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reminded people that another respiratory illness—tuberculosis (TB)—remains the world's leading infectious disease killer and urged more action to prevent the disease. In a statement marking World TB Day, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., said the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need to continue tackling longstanding health problems like TB, a lung disease that could leave millions worldwide at even higher risk for poor outcomes from the novel coronavirus.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 17:1-11
Prayers for Mexico:
God, source of love and protection who tenderly comforts and encourages us in the most difficult of hours, in this time of global anguish we turn to you, our Father and Mother, with the confidence that we are your daughters and sons. From Mexico, we join in prayer with sisters and brothers around the world, to glorify your name through our mission of service and dedication. We are sent as your son, Jesus, to manifest and sanctify your name, giving you glory in fulfilling your will. Thank you for the gifts you share with your community, and for the new and abundant life through Jesus Christ. United as one body in diversity, we take on the mission of witnessing to your presence in the world. May the world know you through our testimonies, and by knowing you, they may enjoy the life that comes from you (John 17:3).
Although Jesus' most famous prayer is probably The Lord's Prayer, in this chapter of the Gospel of John, we find one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible. After a long speech in which Jesus bids farewell to his own, we have the "Priestly Prayer." Jesus "raises his eyes to heaven" to address the Father as a beloved son. It is in the trust of this caring and loving relationship of Father and Son that Jesus can fulfill his mission and put his future and that of his community in God's hands. It is faith that can give us the confidence to collaborate in God's purpose for the world, and trust to be able to rest and have peace, for it is the Father who takes care of his own (John 17:11).
Through this prayer, Christian communities in Mexico continue to proclaim their faith in Jesus as the envoy of God, who now sends communities into the world to continue the mission. Although they are deprived of Jesus' physical presence, they will be encouraged by his Spirit to continue his living presence, to bear witness to the light that has come into the world to give us full and abundant life. The eternal life that comes from God (the only eternal one) consists of knowing God through his envoy, Jesus Christ (John 17:3). It is the community of believers who, with their works of compassion and solidarity, reveal the God of Jesus. The world will finally believe and live through the testimony of Jesus' disciples (John 17:21).
In times of anguish, pain, and death throughout the world, churches in Mexico have come together in prayer and action for the most vulnerable sectors of their communities. Inspired by the gospel of Jesus, we have witnessed the unity and mobilization of Christians in Mexico, to respond to the different needs that arise from the COVID19 pandemic. Once again, Jesus' prayer in John 17 takes meaning and is ever-present; it embodies the life and witness experiences of many churches in Mexico and around the world.Read more
In the rural communities around San Cristóbal de las Casas, where most people have good reasons to be suspicious of anything coming from either the federal or state governments, many do not believe the warnings about a health crisis; it is just another strategy of a corrupt government to control and take advantage of Chiapas which has one of the poorest populations in the country but is rich in natural resources.Read more
Small Training Initiatives that Make a Difference
During 2019, the passage from Matthew 13:31-32 took on special significance in the work we do with groups of women, men, and adolescents. We gradually added different initiatives and training proposals to improve our close-friend and community relationships.Read more
In December, Melel Xojobal hosted the Second National Child Workers Retreat in San Cristóbal. My team of three had spent the weeks before the retreat in helpful but harried preparation. While we were still spending half our day working in markets around the city like normal, the other half of the day was jam-packed with planning activities for the retreat.Read more
In one of my trauma awareness classes, we watched a now-classic test on perception. It is a video where watchers are asked to count basketballs thrown amongst players dressed in white and black t-shirts. Most people concentrate on counting the moving balls and fail to notice a big, chest-thumping, gorilla walking across the court.Read more
As We Live and Confront this Global Crisis: A Reflection from the Institute for Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN) in Mexico
The God of Life became human to save lives. God becoming human is the fundamental postulate of the Christian religion and the paradigm of intervention from faith. We can sum it up with the word “incarnation.” This means to share in each other’s skin, to live each other’s lives, to understand their reality and then, and only then, begin the search from there, the path to an exit.Read more
As part of their Mexico Initiative, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana and Global Ministries partnered in a pilgrimage to San Luis Potosí, México, September 28 through October 5, 2019. The participants immersed themselves in the culture of the area and learned about the work of the Mesa Conjunta (Round Table for Mission Development in Mexico), a space of dialogue and mission from various expressions of Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ congregations in Mexico. These are their daily reflections.Read more