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Final Reflections: Val

Posted by H. Mark Smith on August 15, 2017 at 12:20 AM

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 and each told us their story and 2 of the boys were only 17 and 19. The 19 year old boy had just been deported the day before we talked to him. He told us how he tried crossing the desert and how his friend had to be left behind because he was injured. The 17-year-old told us his story and how he had been trying to cross since the age of 13...13!!!! When I was 13 I was more worried about what grade I got on a spelling test than anything that was going on in anyone else's life. This boy had been kidnapped by smugglers and had seen his friends die along the way and had witnessed a young boy get run over by the train he was taking and had been deported many times before. He opened my mind to so much more. I think I will take back the knowledge of the stories.


We spent a day with the Rev. Canon Debbie Royals who showed us around some native  villages and reservations. I never have thought about the way the border would affect the indigenous people and their families.


I think will definitely take back the love and sheer kindness that Rev. Rodger showed all of us..Rodger was a guide for us in couple days we had with him. He hung out with us and stuck through our complaining when we were all sick, and didn't hate us when we got him sick. Rodger if you are reading this I wanted to personally say thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for everything. You were so sweet and even in the couple of days you were with us you have seemed like a father figure I have never had. I wanted to thank you for laughing at my piles of dirt jokes and when I got water all over me and said “oh it's wet”. I may be small but you will have a big place in my heart forever because of the graciousness you showed all of the youth leadership academy. Thank you to all of the people we met over the week who have shaped me into the person I am while leaving Arizona. I pray that everyone we met will have peace and faith in their days to come and love forever! This trip has forver changed my life and I can say that will a full heart as I'm trying not to break out in tears while writing this. This trip meant so much and I never want it to end. But I know all good things must! Love to all!!!


- Val, Christ Church, Waltham

Categories: YLA 2016-17: Las Fronteras, Arizona y Mexico

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