Why go to Mexico, are there not enough poor in United States?
I occasionally get asked this question by good people and practicing Catholics. It's a trick question. The answer is: We are called to help all of God's children, especially not limiting our assistance and blessings solely to family members. Thus each year I look forward to doing something in my own community and also a project in the missions. It so easy, especially in economically challenging times to focus on ourselves. That is not the path of the Gospel. Exactly when we were most desperate, God sent us His best gift unexpected, Jesus as Savior. There is a saying: United States sneezes, Mexico gets pneumonia. I think Fr. Simon & I are like a bowl of chicken soup. We won't solve all difficulties, but I hope we will be of some comfort.
I think it will also be useful to see the non-turist side of Mexico. We are going to visit those parts of Mexico where we have been invited and where there is a need we might be able to bless. I have friends who have taught me about retaining walls, fish farms, and drilling wells. We have access to a community of faith who know lots about the US economy and can possibly put that wisdom to service of the poor. For example some Korean sisters have established a dynamic cooperative in Southern Mexico producing sesame seed oil. They are not sure as to how to market it. Would it not be great to support a business that would pay a just wage in Mexico and allow more Mexicans to be able to earn a dignified living in their own country?
We are also going to visit a refuge center that we have established in Ixtepec, Oaxaca. Fr. Alejandro Solalinde does a heroic and saintly job ministering to the most desperate of migrants at this place of respite. He ministers in the name of 21 Dioceses in Mexico and with the financial support of none. We are bringing him 8000 toothbrushes, 450 flashlights and as many used tennis shoe as we could cram into Simon's Subaru. We are also turning over to him $8,000 that has been gifted to us for the poor. When you see the photos and hear their stories you will know that the money is being well spent.
I find travelling in Mexico a delight. I am welcomed as family by many. They share generously of their hearths and homes and hearts. I am sure I will discover new things and make new friends. I'm sure the Lord will change my heart in many wonderful ways. I'm glad to be able to share some of this with you through the modern tool of a blog. It is novelty for me. May the Lord bless and guide our steps. Peace, Padre Bill and Simon.