CROSSING THE BORDER
Stephen and Jennie Allison have been taking a group of us from Mountain View across the border on the third Saturday of each month. We travel to a refugee shelter just across the border in the red light district of Zona Norte Tijuana. In and out in a few hours, we share a meal with the refugees, make friends and hear their stories. We give these kids who have fled their homes because of the threat of violence a chance to learn to skateboard and have some fun. The parents, likewise, get a break from the monotony of living packed into one large warehouse with tents, no work and nothing to do while they await their immigration hearings.
Their stories are heartbreaking. One women was there with her three children under seven years old. Their father had been killed because he wouldn’t join the cartels who run their town near Acapulco. Another woman with two small kids showed me the scars on her throat where her gangster boyfriend had cut her before she ran. While running from gang violence does not technically qualify for refugee status, it is clear that all of these people are risking everything to immigrate to the United States because they are desperate.
Will You Cross the Border?
Crossing the border is valuable. For those of us who are more comfortable staying at home, it opens our eyes to the realities of our world. Very near to us is an international border that divides our country and all it stands for from our neighbor country. When we cross the border we do what those on the other side cannot do to extend a hand of friendship in the name of Jesus. Our world is enlarged, our perspective is enlightened and our compassion is awakened. Proximity breeds compassion. Compassion makes you more like Jesus.