Juarez. A day in the life…

The darkness of our world will try to smother the light, so we have to surround ourselves with people who make us shine brighter.

-Irresistible Revolution

Saturday morning. We woke up a little frazzled from the week of relentless office-work we had been doing, stuffed into our dark little office that could have as easily been in any other city in the world. Feeling disengaged from our own neighborhood, we sat down at the kitchen table with coffee in hand and, with tears slipping from our eyes, we discussed how our hearts are burning to just be more engaged in our little colonia, to build relationship, to get more involved. We felt almost painfully compelled to somehow extend that life-altering, hope-bearing, unfathomable love that Father so relentlessly gushes over us every moment. We ache to in some way help squelch the pain so many of our own neighbors feel every day of their lives with the promise of coming hope, restoration and justice. We prayed together and resolved to no longer hide stuffed away in our little concrete block haven we’ve created, but to go out and dive right into the middle of life, to get dirty, to love.

What happened next is difficult to retell. We were working outside in our patio, gate locked and razor wire in place, echoes of warnings never to open our gate for anyone swirling in our ears. In our city, where so many all over the world fear being shot instantly if they but think of this place, with swine flu closing the door of every single school in Mexico, and with poverty and hopelessness lurking in every corner, in the midst of all of this, our desolate, dusty little patio quickly filled up with loads of children running, screaming, laughing and playing. I found myself fighting the urge to shoo them away in my resolution to be “productive”, because I was simply way too busy for this. But as the moments passed, I realized that “this” is exactly what we had been asking for.

The hours ticked by as we stuccoed, gardened, painted, talked, laughed and played.

As the sun was packing up for the night the kids ran back to their small shack houses, many of which would probably not eat dinner, leaving behind a cluttered patio and a realization that these children are the heart of Jesus. That He went so far as to tell us to be like them. Simple. Joyful. Loving. Playful. Filled with Hope. I pray for more and more days like this, for more days filled with “wasted time”, because as I have reluctantly come to realize, this is the stuff of life, the encounters that bring hope. These kids who have nothing in this world gave us so much more than we could ever offer them. In the midst of their poverty and destitution, they run around offering life and hope to anyone who has the wisdom and simplicity to listen. These powerful people are the hope of our future.

Paco

Working hard

Amigos

Painting

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11 Responses to “Juarez. A day in the life…”

  1. marycooke Says:

    What an awesome family! You are blessed!
    Cheers,
    Mary

  2. You guys are amazing! I am lucky to know such servants that exemplify the true Christ.

  3. Yes, this is what it’s all about! Love these photos.

  4. jikarner Says:

    are you sure you didn’t write this for me? seriously, i have been thinking about what it means to become like a child for about a month. i even want to paint about it, but i’m not sure what it even looks like yet. it’s funny how our agendas and good intentions/ambition can get in the way of God’s work. thank you for seeing past all of that to the heart of God. you guys are inspiring. i will likely be referring to this post for my painting.

  5. Thank you for your encouragement. Sometimes all I want to do is pack up and go back to Colorado where things are easy, where I know what every day will look like, where you don’t see such aching need and heartbreak everywhere. It seems so hopeless sometimes, but I know that we are making strides here, that we are bringing God’s love to one person at a time, and this is what will change the face of this country, of this world. If the children know the love of their Father, then everything else that they ever experience will look different, they will be motivated by hope and justice, and, hopefully, they will not let the brokenness of their world and their city steal away their dreams, their hope, their joy. They will do something in this world because they will still carry the hope that they can make a difference. And then what will follow is a world I would love to live in!

  6. Steve Eriksen Says:

    Remember the story of the Starfish scattered on the beach by the thousands and the sole man walking on the beach bending down randomly to grab one of the starfish and toss it back into the ocean. Each time knowing He made a difference for That one! THat is what you are doing for Cesar, Abby, and all the other kids that you take time for. Love you guys, See you soon,
    Steve

  7. Matt & Misty you are making a difference!!!
    Can’t wait to see those kids.
    With Heartfelt,
    Mom

  8. Leave your windows and go out, people of the world,
    go into the streets, go into the fields, go into the woods
    and along the streams. Go together, go alone.
    Say no to the Lords of War which is Money
    which is Fire. Say no by saying yes
    to the air, to the earth, to the trees,
    yes to the grasses, to the rivers, to the birds
    and the animals and every living thing, yes
    to the small houses, yes to the children. Yes.

    From “Looking Out,” by Wendell Berry

    It’d be really sweet to have those kids create some art in your yard…

  9. I love those words. My added stanza: Say no to the fear that shackles you, world, go out and live life. Say to hope, yes. To justice, yes. Unlock your gates and they will come tumbling in!!! YES!

    We actually had the kids paint the little wall that Matt built around our garden. They had a blast painting everything they weren’t supposed to paint. They put their hand prints and names on the wall. We also want to have them all write words/scriptures of justice on our cinderblock wall, and eventually have scriptures painted all over it! Your words are confirmation. Thank you Jenah, you guys are kindred spirits!

  10. Brett Says:

    Love the pictures, love what you guys are doing and pray that my eyes are more open where I am to things. Sometimes when I read/hear/know about friends or others doing the types of things that you guys are doing in places where the scope of the work that needs to be done is overwhelming, I think about what if those people weren’t in that place doing those ‘little’ things. It’s awesome to think of normal people being all over the place touching the ones God gives ’em to touch. It’s an awesome thing. Thanks for hanging w/ those kids.

  11. Brett,
    Thank you for your encouragement. Our eyes are opening more and more to the impact that we can have on this country even if the only thing we did was hang with the kids, to love them and show them their incredible worth, to provoke in them the hope that they carry, the hope that the world tells them is foolishness, to spark the realization that they can be world changers, and never to quit. We are learning so much from these kids, the future and hope of Mexico. I really hope they are learning from us even a fraction of what they are teaching.

    misty

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