International Ministries

Basurero

July 20, 2007 Journal
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Are there any Xtremes too far for us to go? For God to go? Of course not. God is everywhere. We go to all kinds of Xtremes for Him. That is the mechanical answer that you were expecting to hear. But our Xposure to Chimalhuacan took us to a place so dangerous and hopeless and disease-ridden that Noe, one of our leaders, tried to tell us not to go. No one visits that place. No one carries out any ministry with the people who live there. They are the people of the trash. Here in the US, we blame the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, for taking away our jobs, but it has also destroyed the livelihood of many Mexicans. As more and more migrants flood in from their rural villages, not all of them can find work. Those who can't often end up living at the trash dump. They make houses out of whatever scraps they can find. Their children play there. Day after day they sort through the trash, hoping to find enough to sell to live another day on. Maybe if they're lucky they will get 50 pesos. Five dollars. As we drove up, a man came up to our van and told us to leave. After all, what possible reason could we have to go there but to stare at their misery? As it turns out, we didn't go to help them. We didn't hand out food, or wash their children. Afterwards, I felt like we didn't make any impact at all. Our mission was to go in and talk to them. They didn't know how to react. After all, we come from the country that signed NAFTA, that holds horrific power over their lives from thousands of miles away. Each day, without knowing it, we insult them in the worst way possible. We send them all of the things that we reject, that aren't good enough for us, and tell them that that is all they are fit for. Our throwaways. We had a conversation with two of the men, Martin and Jose Manuel. Martin looked about our age, and told us that he didn't have any parents there with him. No one to look after him. Jose Manuel, who was older, rummaged through his pockets for awhile and pulled out a tract. He had Ray read it to him, and they had a conversation about Christianity. How odd to talk about a religion of love to a throwaway? We prayed with both of the men. We laid hands on them. We tried to touch them and shake hands with them as if we were equals, while the world says that we are not. The world says that they are untouchable. We tried to maybe give them back worth. But twenty minutes later at the most, we left. I am back at home, comfortable, and Martin and Jose Manuel are still there. And I can't even begin to understand why it isn't the other way around. How can an entire country ignore these people, treat them like trash, every day? What separates me from them? I still don't know the answer. How do you get to choose which people to love? Which you treat as humans, and which you don't? How do I do that everyday, with others, with myself? Jesus didn't choose. He restored dignity to lepers, prostitutes, all the broken people he came across. He went out of his way to touch them. Remember Martin and Jose Manuel. Give names to two faces in a nameless, faceless place.