Fall 2023 newsletter
Coralis Salvador, U.S.-Mexico Border
Fundraising as ministry calls us together in communion with God and with one another.
—Henri J. M. Nouwen (A Spirituality of Fundraising)
Greetings from El Paso! It has been a sweltering summer here, and we are looking forward to a cooler fall. When Title 42 was lifted last May, the Custom Border Patrol enforced the use of the CBP One App for asylum seekers. It’s a free online tool that allows migrants to schedule an appointment to present themselves at a point of entry along the southwest border.
In Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, more staff was needed to assist migrants in filling out applications on this new app. So since August I have been walking across the bridge connecting El Paso to Juárez to volunteer at COESPO (a Mexican agency helping migrants).
I observe and learn how I can assist asylum seekers to respond appropriately to the long questionnaires of the app. It is a complicated process; and it often takes hours to complete the form. It is such a relief and joy when a migrant has been able to ping the submit button of their application and receive a CBP acknowledgement of its receipt.
As this was happening, a 5-year-old girl caught my attention since she kept herself occupied as her mother was filling the App with me. Children are so into the moment.
Our Encuentro participants last quarter — Queens University, Maryknoll Mission Education, and two groups from Christopher Columbus High School — continued to give us hope in their experiences of personal encounters with the migrants.
One participant wrote in the evaluation: “I discovered all sorts of beautiful human beings, and I found Jesus shining through their eyes. Everyone in our group was open and willing to be touched by this experience, but most importantly, I feel like many of us became activated. I trust that whatever we can do, even if it seems negligible, we will do it. Whether is translating for a migrant, sharing information they may not know, accompanying them, giving someone a ride, … anything that makes their life easier in any way, we will do it.
“It was transformative to see people care, think, get angry at injustice, express their feelings in different ways and dream of solutions. We need dreamers like that in our world.”
Another said, “As is often the case for me in an experience of that magnitude, I began to wonder whether I was called to the border to do some kind of work alongside those who are already there. I do think that I would like to return in the future for perhaps a week to immerse myself more fully in the work being done; I need to see whether that is possible.”
Last month, our organization, Maryknoll Lay Missioners, put together a workshop on Henri Nouwen’s A Spirituality of Fundraising. For me, it affirmed that our requesting support and donations, together with your response, is a joint mission ministry. This spirituality is a way of announcing our mission vision and inviting others into our mission.
Fundraising, Henri Nouwen wrote “is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission.”
For you, who have partnered with me these past 23 years, I am most grateful and blessed. For others, I invite you to come and walk with us in this process and partner with us in Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, El Salvador, Haiti, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, and here at the U.S.-Mexico border (in El Paso/Juárez and Mexicali).
I can attest that it is an amazing, exciting journey and transformative. It has deepened my confidence in God, which allows me to ask you and others for donations without worrying about potential rejection or acceptance. Please do consider supporting our missions.
Thank you for your partnership. Have an amazing fall season!
With love and blessings,
Please consider supporting my mission work at the U.S.-Mexico border with a donation through the link below.
I invite you to walk with me as a “COMPANION IN MISSION.” Companions in Mission are friends and generous donors who give financial gifts on a regular (usually monthly) basis. For more information, visit Become a Companion in Mission. Thank you so much for your generosity!