Archive for the hope Category

War on Drugs: Failing Humanity

Posted in hope, Life in Juarez, Violence in Juarez with tags , , , , , on 09/23/2009 by mattlindsey

Our border community is now painfully divided. It is a microcosm of our hemisphere, our world embroiled in a war on drugs. The violence is a wake-up call, not only for Mexico, but also for the U.S.

Billie Greenwood –Border Explorer

Back in April we posted a short video from The Newspaper Tree about the “War on Drugs”, the failed approach to a seemingly endless war. Our friend Billie posted an incredible article about how this war has deeply wounded our border community. She highlighted a conference that took place on Sept 20-22 (this week) at UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) addressing alternative approaches to the drug-war that President Nixon started forty years ago. It is sad to say that for 40 years we have been tripping all over ourselves in failed attempts to counter the drug problem. The U.S. has over 2 million citizens in prison, the largest prison-industrial complex in the history of civilization; most of those people are in for crimes directly related to economics and drugs. We have to change the way we have been fighting against these issues.

Watch the video and check out Billie’s thoughtful article at The Border Explorer.

Seven

Posted in hope, Life in Juarez, Violence in Juarez with tags , , , , , , on 09/03/2009 by mattlindsey

I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to Me? Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

Amos 5:21-24

Things had been growing mighty dim for Misty and I. The desert had sand blasted us, ground us down, an abrasive torrent of grit and pain. Oppressive heat waves gripped the land, our atmosphere of joy bombarded by fear and desperation. We felt trapped behind bars and razor wire, ducking, looking over our shoulders every second, closing the door, locking the locks, checking them again. We drive through the madness, tinted windows, locked within a cab: secure, alone.

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Often sitting deep inside, peeking out from beneath the wings of God, a craving would grow for courage to walk the streets, but we could not shake the feeling our freedom had been robbed from us. We were up against the ropes, a barrage of kidney punches. Clawing, biting, scrambling for hope.

Then hope came in the form of friends and family, brave souls choosing to cross into our world and stare fear in the face with us. They arrived like a refreshing afternoon summer rain, a rain where the sun is still shining and all you want to do is turn your face towards the heavens with a wide smile, close your eyes and dance. It repelled the oppression, sent it reeling in the wake of the love, joy and peace they brought with them. We did not realize how tired and thirsty that we had become until they arrived.

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Living in Ciudad Juarez has been the most difficult thing Misty or I have ever done in our lives, especially as this city is carving new records in the history books each month: Over 250 murders in July. 300 murders in August. September has started off more grim with 19 murdered last night alone. Juarez is surging, lurching, groaning, wanting, crying, needing, praying, looking for help. This city, this desert, has built our faith, tested our strength. It has shown us what hope looks like. It has unveiled God’s raging heart for justice and fairness and shown us that we cannot wish this world into change, but we have to get dirty, bloody, step into the wave (even if it’s scary). We are awed by all of you who have stepped into the madness with us, all of you who have chosen to align yourselves with your Mexican brothers and sisters, all of you who lean on the hope of redemption, jubilee, rain from Heaven.

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Although death’s yellow claws, chipped and cracked, have raked over our own neighborhood this summer, change is coming to Colonia Palo Chino. Hope is not lost in the shimmering heat nor in the gross turbulence of violence and death. No, justice is coming like a mighty flood and a river of righteous living will follow. And it will never run dry. Never.

*One of the treasures of friends and family that visit us is learning from their perspective on the work and challenges, and their voice in bringing solutions to the problems in Juarez. These perspectives are enlightening, and bring us balance as we go forward here. Thanks to Jenah for her inspiring photography. Visit Seven for a powerful perspective on our neighborhood, Colonia Palo Chino.

Hope for the Poor: Vital Vitamins

Posted in hope, Life in Juarez with tags , , , , , , , on 08/31/2009 by mistylindsey

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

James 1:26-27

This past weekend we had a short but amazing visit from a kindred spirit who even before arriving had a passion for our neighbors here in Juarez, Mexico. Chris Knott, who spent time and effort raising awareness for Amigos back in Colorado by asking for healthcare donations or anything that would be helpful, came down for a powerful weekend and brought with him 19,804 vitamin tablets, 166 toothbrushes and 70 tubes of toothpaste. He also had a Santa-bag full of toys to give out to the kids.

Table of Vitamins zoom

After sorting and compiling the table-full of healthcare items, we headed out Saturday early morning to the neighbors’ homes to hand out health. We were hugged and kissed, and bombarded by neighbors from all directions who heard that someone had vitamins. It was a powerful morning.

Neighbors

Carmen & MagiWe gave instructions on how to give the kids their chewable vitamins, and about not eating the toothpaste.

MaryThis is going to make all the difference for these kids, who certainly don’t get the vitamins from the basic meals they eat, when their parents can even afford them.

VitaminsVitamins are a luxury which, with the exception of us, no one in this neighborhood can afford. It was heartbreakingly beautiful to see our sweet neighbor, Elvira, clap and nearly leap with joy as her face lit up when we told her we had vitamins just for her. Without teeth, she has not been able to eat properly and has been sapped of energy. This will be a tremendous and necessary sustenance for Elvira today, and so many children to whom protein and regular meals are a sparse hope.

Greening the Ghetto: Street Art

Posted in hope, Life in Juarez with tags , , , , , on 08/25/2009 by mattlindsey

I have made it my business to use the green economy as a social and economic solution to poverty. I want to Green the Ghetto.

Majora Carter

Back in February we began writing about Greening the Ghetto here in our own neighborhood in Juarez. Sure, it is a daunting prospect, but we are continuing to dream and work towards seeing it come to fruition. We have a small sputtering garden that is slowly taking root, and now, our first mural. “The first of many” as Jorge Hernandez, our good friend from Palo Chino says. He is an art student here in Juarez and he has been working on several graffiti themes for our neighborhood.

Stencil Prep

Stencil 1

Stencil 2

Stencil 3

Stencil 5

Stencil 6

Stencil 7

We have been working on themes that speak against the violence and draw attention to hope, love and peace. Jorge’s first mural is a stencil piece, a small girl cradling a bomb as if it were a teddy bear. It is a bold, straightforward statement that screams, “No more violence!”

Andale, jorge! Arriba Juaritos!

New Desert War

Posted in hope, Life in Juarez, Violence in Juarez with tags , , , , on 07/29/2009 by mmlindsey

It was hot. Tensions were boiling under the strain of the desert sun. Everyone was gripped, toes dug into the baking sand.

New Weapons

The bombs whistled, cutting through the shimmering heat waves like melted butter.The Attack They could not out run them. Bombs colliding with flesh, fear on every face.Incoming!

Fear...

Running from the bombs

When the dust settled, laughter was rippling over the water soaked soil and could be heard across Colonia Palo Chino, everyone happy and refreshed!

The Victim

No More Trouble

Posted in hope, Life in Juarez with tags , , , , on 07/22/2009 by mattlindsey

And we define news as acts of violence rather than the hidden acts of love that keep hope alive… so even as we see the horror of death, may we be reminded that in the end, love wins. Mercy triumphs. Life is more powerful than death. And even those who have committed great violence can have the image of God come to life again within them as they hear the wisper of love. May the whisper of love grow louder than the thunder of violence. May we love loudly.

Jesus for President

Jesus for President

Misty and I were sitting at the table a few days ago reading, sharing passages that struck us from the books that we were reading. The passage above itched the festering frustration that I have been wrestling with ever since we moved to the desert, “And we define news as acts of violence…”. We began talking about the monster we all created called “media” and how lame it is that society has submitted to it, is lead by it like a poodle on a leash, how we  weaken and sicken our lives by eating the drug of fear that it gives out for free. There are a billion reasons, maybe a zillion, to KILL YOUR T.V., but if you need some here are a few: CNN, FoxNews, ABC, CBS, etc, etc.

News of the day: Death. Violence. More death. Guns. War. Drugs. More war. Death. Scandal. In essence it is one big dripping sack of rotten, stinky, filthiness called fear. And we like it. We are addicted to it. Who wants to turn on the news and watch the leaders of countries hugging each other over a cup of tea, talking about how they are going to share their borders, dismantle their weapons, make some plows and shovels and begin to heal the land? Don’t we all want to see North Korea fall? Iran crumble? The next coup or the next riot? We sit down at the table of fear and we feast. Tear-gas bombs and economy woes are the appitizers, then an overflowing plate of extra greasy doubly-hydrogenated war, dying soldiers, scandals and affairs of the rich and famous. Finally, we cram a dessert of imminent destruction into our bulging stomachs. We are told by these servers of fear what to believe and when to believe it, and sadly, without them most of us would not know what to believe.

Fear has virtually shut down the El Paso/Juarez border. We have spoken to many El Pasonians who will not venture into Juarez even to see their own family. We get the wide-eyed “what the hell are you thinking” look from a lot of people when they discover that we are living in the city. All of the scheduled teams that were coming to Juarez to share life with our community have cancelled. We are called valiant by some of the neighbors. Shop owners and Juarez business thank us for being here. Yet all of our friends who have come to visit, all 14 of them, return to their homes saying, “Juarez is totally fine. I felt safe.”

That is why I am starting a new blog. It is called No More Trouble, taken from Bob Marley’s infamous song. It is a site dedicated to the news of  “hidden acts of love that keep hope alive”. It is a site on which anyone can submit this kind of news. A kind of alternative news site where people can read about things that lift the spirit rather than tear it apart. Photos, quotes, songs, stories, videos all about hope. Its time for a new kind of news.

Bob

Thanks to Scagnutties for the tumblr link!