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Final Reflections: Alison

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I will remember this week forever. We met so many selfless and hospitable people this week. What stood out to me most was the number of truly selfless and giving people that we met this week. The Reverend Ernie and the congregation of St. Andrew’s welcomed us as soon as we arrived on Friday night with delicious authentic Mexican food, and they were so open in telling their stories to us during the forum after the service on Sunday. Ricky guided us through Nogales, Sonora in Mexico and ...

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Final Reflections: Autumn

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

During our short week in Arizona/Mexico I have learned so much. The experiences I have had this week opened the eyes of my heart and mind and have touched me in many ways. Leaving this trip I want to take the stories from the migrants and others home with me. One moment that really meant a lot to me was visiting the Juan Bosco migrant shelter in Nogales Mexico. There we heard the stories of three boys who wanted to cross the border or have tried to cross the border for a better life and to es...

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Final Reflections: Claire

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Even before our trip started, we were told to listen to the stories and take what we have learned from the people back to our churches and communities and tell their stories. Throughout the week, there were several stories that stuck out with me, and I will be keeping and sharing along my travels. We have heard how media plays a role in the misinterpretation of the problem at the border, both with border patrol and with the immigrants themselves. We also heard stories of times maybe fifty to...

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Final Reflections: Emily

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

In leaving from the mission trip to Arizona and Mexico with YLA, I am taking back with me confirmation that undocumented migrants are still genuine human beings who deserve love and listening. I discovered this confirmation in talking to and feeding the migrants. Hearing their stories- where the people told me they had families at home worrying about them, they wanted to be better people, or that they had not slept in a long time- really inspired me to want to help. Especially stories where...

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Final Reflections: Jenna

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I learned so much from this trip. I came here thinking we would talk to two sides of one argument. But, we talked to more groups than I can count and there is not one issue, but several. One of my take-aways from this week is that there is a good and bad to every side of an argument. All the people we met have their own struggles and their way of solving them is not black or white. I think before the trip I had a much more negative view on the whole situation. This is mostly due to the media....

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Final Reflections: Libby

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

From this YLA mission trip, I will take away the new understanding of how the border is much more complicated than I thought. As I listened to the many stories at the migrant shelter, I began to realize how much of a barrier and obstacle the border and the physical fence are and what it does to families that are simply trying to get a better life. It further confused me when the group got the chance to get a tour of the Border Patrol Station. It made me want to start doing research on Border ...

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Final Reflections: Val

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

WOW!!!!! While being on the borderlands I have learned so much in our short time. We have visited many places that have opened the eyes of our hearts up to many different people. Something that has been very inspirational for me is when we met the founder of the Juan Bosco shelter in Nogales Mexico. He talked about how he started the shelter by just taking migrants into his home and then it evolved into and amazing shelter that had helped so many people. We talked to 3 boys from the shelter a...

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Day Five: Phoenix

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 11, 2017 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Most of us braved the 103 degrees to walk the labyrinth outside of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix during our visit to this church.

Quote of the day:  “The migrants are the heroes here, the strangers in our midst who are angel in disguise.” (Gene LaFavre, No Mas Muertes, making reference to Hebrews 13:2


We started off the day in our hotel in Tucson. ...

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Day Six: Native Peoples

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 9, 2017 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

A mural found in the plaza of the Tohono O'odham reservation depicting a popular Papago legend, The Man In The Maze

Quote of the day:  "We didn't cross the border.  The border crossed us."  Yaqui saying

Today we journeyed to two different indiginous tribes. We started by waking up in our amazing hotel room and going to breakfast. We left around 9:0...
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