Archive for the Matt and Misty Lindsey Category

Posted in Life in Juarez, Matt and Misty Lindsey with tags , on 11/04/2009 by mmlindsey

Moving to the desert, to Ciudad Juarez, has messed us up in quite an unexpected way. It crushed our lifelong developed world views and theologies like a tank rolling over a tin can. This past year and a half has been about laying a foundation by renewing our minds and getting to know God on a profound level. Our relationship with God will definitely never be the same.

Sharing life with the poor, being a friend and a neighbor to the outcast destitute has branded us, broken our comfortable attitudes and woken us up to the stark reality of the daily struggle of life for a majority of the world that lives every day in poverty. It has been wildly sharpening.

We hope to share in your thoughts and process and would love your perspective and comments. We invite you to check out our new site and join us on this crazy journey…

The Desert


Border Land

Posted in Life in Juarez, Matt and Misty Lindsey, Violence in Juarez with tags , , , , , , , on 04/19/2009 by mattlindsey

A world where half of the people live in extreme poverty is neither just nor secure. Our security depends on more than military might; it depends on other people’s security, well-being, and a hope that replaces anger and fear. We simply cannot and will not beat “swords into plowshares” (remove the threats of war) until all people can “sit under their own vines and fig trees” and have some share in global security. Only then will we remove the fear that leads inevitably to conflict and violence.

~Jim Wallis

June 17th 2008 was a sizzling day , we melted onto the grotesque tile floor just as the power went out. It was enough to make us laugh and brush away the tears that were streaking our faces. It had been a long and heinous day. One of those days where reality is shaken and shock creeps into your core. “We just moved to Juarez? Really?”

No power meant no lights and no swamp cooler. Misty made some stick-to-the-top-of-your-mouth almond butter and honey sandwiches on our dry crumbly bread, and I carried a couple of chairs outside where there was at least a breeze pushing the air around. There was no comfort in the sandwiches so we tossed them and decided to climb onto the roof of our new house to see just where we had willingly chosen to torture ourselves. A warm breeze, strange sounds, bizarre smells and swirling lights collided with all things familar and wrecked our senses. Ranchero music pumped through the thick air. The street was alive. This was Mexico. Our hearts, which had been so gripped, so white-knuckled by the stress of the day, began to relax. With smiles growing on our tired faces, we spun to face north and there it was: the string of lights burning a yellow line in the desert sand, dividing two worlds. We had no idea at that moment just how powerful the lucid borderline was, that those yellow bulbs would have the power to hold back the violence like a sea wall breaking down waves.  We were ignorant to the unruly power that an imaginary line can wield.  Those lights, that fence, we would learn, would be a reckless assurance that El Paso would continue to bear the gleaming badge of the 3rd safest city in the U.S.  That obnoxious string of lights which has severed humanity and has carved a deep and bloody line in the desert sand has become the dividing line between a hopeless reality and the American dream. It has mutated into an insolent eyesore.  

City Lights

That night the bulbs glared and shimmered. Later, when the power returned and we lay down on our air-mattress under the creaks and rattles of the swamp cooler, we closed our eyes but the ghost-like glint of yellow continued to radiate under our eyelids. In just a few months from our arrival, Ciudad Juarez would rise in the ranks as the murder capital of Mexico, gringos would stop crossing the border, the media’s buzzing and thoughtless words would lash and whip this lonely city, the grip of fear would tighten like a leash over America, the Western Church would take a step back. 

The air is getting warm and heavy over the desert. All of the deciduous trees have exploded with life; flares of green bursting out of the dust. The spring winds have descended. At times it seems that the jet stream has abandoned its heavenly course and fallen on the land: nature’s way of raking the trash away and cleansing the desert. Hope is alive and well. I dare you to come and check it out.



~The photo above was shot by Axel Briseño. Last week we met Alex, a talented photographer and software programmer from Ciudad Juarez. He has started a photo-club and he and his compadres have posted some powerful photos. The photos are currently on display in downtown Juarez. Please take a minute to scroll through these incredible photos of our city. Check out Alex’s great Blog and Photo Club site.  Thanks for your help & friendship, Alex!

Fatally Comfortable

Posted in Life in Juarez, Matt and Misty Lindsey with tags , , , on 02/11/2009 by mistylindsey

All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don’t tiptoe.

-Irresistible Revolution

In my research to find statistics for what is really going on here in this bloody city, the most dangerous city in Mexico which seems to be fighting for the top spot in the world as well, I ran across a humorous, yet sad article about the lethargy, the pacifism of one of the safest cities in the US, just across the border from it’s fatal opposite. In short, it found in studies that there was a significant amount of lithium in the water supply which was apparently sedating the city. Who knows if this was true, but it made me think about how this same lithium affect seems to be running rampant in our American society today. It seems to have crept up on us and we don’t even realize it. I wonder, if someone did a study of our water across America, what would they find? What are we being sedated by? Are we overdosing on the false hopes of the American dream? Is it our own placidity that has come to be the drug we cannot live without? We have been slowly hypnotized into a coma by the singsong lullaby of our culture, little by little becoming addicted to our own type of lithium.

We have successfully constructed so many layers of separation between our lives and the anguish of the majority of the world that it is difficult to feel the pain of those so desperately hurting. We’ve effectively padded our lives with the soft feathers of opulence and we are scared to ruffle even one of them, petrified of the uncertainty that lay outside. How can we possibly take on the pain of the world when it would overwhelm and crush us? We know that things must be different and we cry out for change, but if we are frank with ourselves do we really want change? How many of us could honestly say, “I am going to give my vacation savings to the homeless family downtown”, or “I will take a cut in pay so others can keep their jobs”. We must wake up and do something, whether we know what that something is or not; and if we don’t, and we choose to go back to our beautiful houses and storybook lives, and barricade ourselves in to our safety with chains of fear and despair, who is it that is truly dying? When we are able to open our eyes to the pain of those around us, when we begin to feel through all of the layers, the desperate pain of the world, we are compelled to do something to help.

So often when people hear about the suffering in our world, they feel guilty, but rarely does guilt actually motivate action like empathy or compassion. Guilt paralyzes and causes us to deny and avoid what is making us feel guilty. The goal is to replace our guilt with generosity. We all have a natural desire to help and to care, and we simply need to allow ourselves to give from our love without self-reproach. We each must do what we can. This is all that God asks of us.

-Desmond Tutu

So after living here for eight months, we are still trying to wipe that familiar sleep from our eyes and to find what the something is for us. We are adjusting to this very different life and culture, and trying to figure out how to make our voices heard as we speak out for the marginalized multitude. We sometimes feel overwhelmed by the need, shattered by the pain and hopelessness swirling around us, and desperate to have hands to hold through this process, but this is our “something”. Every day we will wake up and do something, and eventually we will have ushered in freedom, beauty and life to this country, an ocean of water to this parched desert, even if it is drop by drop. We know that this burden is too big for us to bear alone; it gets a little lighter as more and more people decide to carry it together.