Intergenerational multicultural service learning

This past week, we’ve had a group of visitors from two of our mission partner congregations in Iowa. Because the property at San Lucas had been an orphanage many years ago, one of our buildings is perfect for dormitory space.  Several congregations have long histories of partnering with San Lucas, both with financial commitments and with sending groups for mission and service learning trips. I see this as an opportunity for San Lucas to be a teaching congregation for the wider church. It’s a wonderful place to learn about Christian community in this border context.

 It was a good group for my first time having guests. More than half of the group had been to San Lucas before; a few multiple times. We all worshipped together on Sunday, both at San Lucas and across the border at Cristo Rey, a mission community in Piedras Negras. I’m getting my practice driving a fifteen-passanger van on the bumpy dirt roads on the way to Cristo Rey. I crossed over with the group to Piedras Negras on Monday and Tuesday. They did both health and construction projects. At the heath fair, they checked blood pressures and sugars and distributed health kits. The other half of the group partnered with Hands and Feet  to help build a house for a family from a neighboring congregation whose home was recently destroyed in a fire. Later, our Iowa friends spent Wednesday and Thursday at San Lucas, doing a wide variety of helpful property projects and putting on a health fair during the hours our food bank was open.

 As wonderful as it is to see some completed tasks, for me it is a joy to see the relationships built. When members of the congregation bring food and share a meal with the group in the evenings, my prayer has been something like: “Dios todopoderoso: Gracias por este día, esta comida, y esta oportunidad de ser la iglesia juntos…” “Almighty God, thank you for this day, this food, and this opportunity to be Church together…”