Monday, January 17, 2011

Tijuana, 2001

Today we celebrate a day set aside in recognition of the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We rightly remember his leadership in the civil rights movement, his legacy in the African-American community, and his passion for the church.  We also remember Dr. King as a revolutionary who practiced and preached non-violence.  But in this year of the Jesus Revolution, I would also like to remind you (and I am sure MLK would concur) that Jesus Christ was the first non-violent revolutionary- He changed the world with love.  Dig it.

Some of you will recall that when we last visited 2001 I was preparing to lead a team of youth to Tijuana, Mexico on the Union Church of Hinsdale's annual Work Tour.  We spent many hours in preparation for the trip learning to sing songs in Spanish, practicing making crafts and telling Bible stories in Spanish.  This was a challenge on several levels.  First of all, I took 2 years of high school French and 2 years of college French.  This was of little help.  We had some students who spoke Spanish, but it was still going to be a bit complicated.  Also, the group knew very little about the Bible, so teaching the stories in any language would be tricky.  But Spring Break arrived...and off we went.

We flew from Chicago to LAX (it was cheaper for some reason) and then rented vans and headed south- through San Diego (which in the original German means "a whale's -"  but that's not important now) and into Mexico.  Remember, I was travelling with primarily wealthy students who had travelled the world.  Their families had vacation homes.  Their own homes had 9 bathrooms.  They had never seen anything like what they were about to see.  Driving through Tijuana on our way to the orphanage we saw entire extended families living in cardboard boxes.  We saw broken down cars used as shelters.  The streets were full of small children, many of them begging.  We saw old people sitting on street corners, broken and helpless.  My students were asking if those were really homes, and where the parents were.  Some began to cry.  Others hid their eyes.  It was very powerful- and the trip had only just begun.

I mentioned in my post Reclaiming the Mission Trip that I wanted to change the culture of Work Tour.  The attitude of many of the youth and adults of UC was that these trips were a chance for us to give of our superior wealth and intellect to the less fortunate.  My concept had always been that we had so much to learn from the people we were going to serve.  I wanted these teenagers to KNOW what life was like for most of the world.  I wanted them to KNOW "the least of these."  The ride through Tijuana had begun that journey in a far more impressive way than I could have ever dreamed.  We arrived at the orphanage ready to humbly serve our God.  By the time we had finished dinner that first night with our new orphaned friends, our minds were completely blown.  That story tomorrow...

Because of Jesus,

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1/17/2011

    Dr. King was all about bringing people hope. Sounds like on your Work Tour you were trying to bringhope to 2 groups- the people of Tijuana and your own youth. Great post. -Paul


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