Founding member of Mennonite Church Nigeria diesIn Rememberance https://www.pjsn.org/news//Founding-member-of-Mennonite-Church-Nigeria-diesFounding member of Mennonite Church Nigeria diesBy Bruce Yoder

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Experiencing God in San Antonio30th anniversary celebrated with SOOPhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog//Experiencing-God-in-San-AntonioExperiencing God in San AntonioBy Gregg Dick
Returning, but not going backCelebrating the changehttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Returning,-but-not-going-backReturning, but not going backBy Travis Duerksen
Voice of youth helps life-seasoned couple find new meaning through serviceAlburquerquehttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Voice-of-youth-helps-life-seasoned-couple-find-new-meaning-through-serviceVoice of youth helps life-seasoned couple find new meaning through serviceBy Sondra Tolle
RAICES raises awareness and millions of dollars to support immigrantsImmigrationhttps://www.pjsn.org/news/RAICES-raises-awareness-and-millions-of-dollarsRAICES raises awareness and millions of dollars to support immigrantsBy Kelsey Hochstetler
The cost of discipleship in the Donetsk People’s RepublicUkrainehttps://www.pjsn.org/news/The-Cost-of-Discipleship-in-the-Donetsk-People’s-RepublicThe cost of discipleship in the Donetsk People’s RepublicBy Mennonite Mission Netwoek staff and Ivan*
Lamb with a lion’s strength: Anabaptist vision informs response to crisis in VenezuelaAnabaptist response to crisishttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Lamb-with-a-lions-strength-Anabaptist-vision-informs-response-to-crisis-in-VenezuelaLamb with a lion’s strength: Anabaptist vision informs response to crisis in VenezuelaBy Erwin Mirabal
Mennonites in Venezuela share faith through food and shampooVenezuela food shortage https://www.pjsn.org/news/Mennonites-in-Venezuela-share-faith-through-food-and-shampooMennonites in Venezuela share faith through food and shampooBy Dani Klotz
God's promise to sustain in South TexasHurricane Recoveryhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/God's-promise-to-sustain-in-South-TexasGod's promise to sustain in South TexasBy Sondra Tolle
Making a difference togetherHurricane Recoveryhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Making-a-difference-togetherMaking a difference togetherBy Christian Hayes

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Voice of youth helps life-seasoned couple find new meaning through servicehttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Voice-of-youth-helps-life-seasoned-couple-find-new-meaning-through-serviceVoice of youth helps life-seasoned couple find new meaning through serviceBy Sondra Tolle<p> </p><p>​I, a Bethel College-educated woman, speak from a place of many kinds of privilege, including White privilege. I received the blessings of being born to a hard-working Kansas farm family with Christian values. I experienced family as people who take care of each other. My Mennonite community will never stop loving and showing grace and mercy to this middle-aged couple who have grown children successfully launched into their own real-life journeys. My voice of privilege comes from being allowed to work in the United States, where I can spend money, save money, and share money. </p><p>My husband, Bob, and I decided to share money and time with Mennonite Mission Network’s Service Adventure program. Our commitment to a three-year term was inspired by a former mentee from Eden Mennonite Church in Moundridge, Kansas. She was serving in Anchorage, Alaska, with Service Adventure, and knew I was struggling with meaningful employment. She said this would be a good fit for us. God spoke through the voice of youth and opened my heart to see life through her perspective. I am grateful for this gift, and pray that Bob and I may use it wisely to help others seek the Lord. </p><p>We are also grateful for the intergenerational relationships that have been formed through the holy experience of faith formation and community living. During the past three years, we have had the opportunity to grow deeper in our own faith as we walked beside 14 young people for 10 months of their life journeys. </p><p>The spirit of joy is a common thread woven through each of the three units we walked alongside. The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ... against such things there is no law.” The fruits of the Spirit reciprocated from the Service Adventure participants have been experienced in a lovely way. </p><p>We cherish the memories of shared tears and laughter – and continue to share them, as we remain in communication with the Service Adventure participants who have moved on to the next steps to which God is calling them. And so, too, it is for this middle-aged couple to continue the next faithful step. Our lives have been forever transformed by our Service Adventure experiences. Though we are formally leaving unit life, we will remain in Albuquerque to be used by God in whatever way we are called.<br></p>
God's promise to sustain in South Texashttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/God's-promise-to-sustain-in-South-TexasGod's promise to sustain in South TexasBy Sondra Tolle<p>​<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">God's Promise to Sustain (GPS) as seen from my perspective last week in Coastal Bend at the MDS [Mennonite Disaster Service] work site was a grateful blessing. Grateful to have Ike and Priscilla lead the site as project managers, Helmut and Karin to organize and cook all meals for all diverse nutritional needs, and grateful for MDS to accept 30 individuals who are directly involved in Service Adventure. None of these individuals came to the site with more than an attitude of service and compassion. Most of us had done some painting. All were willing to be respectful and grateful to help those in need. Therefore, much good work was accomplished.</span></p><p>The GPS, as the world uses the term, was used by us many times to both drive to Texas and drive back to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where our unit house is located. While leaving Rockport, Texas, a picture was taken of the GPS instructions so that we could get where we needed in case we were too far from Internet service. Unfortunately, at our first big turn, the road signs had not been replaced, and so we did not make an important turn. We were grateful that we could still get the Internet to locate where we needed to turn around to get back on course again.<br></p><p>To turn around and get back on course is what MDS does for the volunteers. I saw destruction from a mighty storm, and volunteers who have never helped in such an important way. Together, we were able to both serve those in need as well as hear their stories. Where did they go with an impending disaster? Did they stay and ride it out, or did they leave and call back into the neighborhood to find out the extent of the damage? Each person we helped was willing to share their story and leave a memory.<br></p><p>I was able to get back on course and have deep conversations with the four individuals listed above. I learned from Ike, Priscilla, Helmut and Karin, all who gave a full month of time to serve God while serving others in Texas. Their perspectives included the amount of change they had seen in the past four weeks. Oftentimes, I just look at what is, instead of what was. The change is an important part of the project.<br></p><p>Gods Promise to Sustain is like that with us. Psalm 119:116 says, "Sustain me, my God, according to your word so I can live: Don't let me be put to shame because of hope." I'm grateful for my opportunity to serve others.<br></p>
Making a difference togetherhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Making-a-difference-togetherMaking a difference togetherBy Christian Hayes <p>​<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Upon driving the last few minutes to reach Bloomington, Texas, nobody really knew what to expect of our calling to help out with Mennonite Disaster Service [MDS]; none of us had been to Bloomington before and weren't too aware of the damage there. As we entered the town, however, we noticed debris and several abandoned houses, thus beginning our introduction to the difficulties that occur from such a serious natural disaster. </span></p><p>All the Service Adventure units helped at several different sites doing a variety of different tasks, like mudding, setting up drywall, building deck railings, painting, and so much more. Spending time throughout most of the several sites, I could see just how much of a visible difference we were making, and the gratitude expressed by the owners of the homes was immense. It was evident just from looking at them that the level of appreciation they had for what we were doing was beyond words. That we, people from all over the United States, would go to the aid of the victims of disaster of which we have no previous connection to, helping to raise such an oppressive burden from them and spread the message of a hope that reunites and rebuilds.<br></p><p>One of the owners stopped by and joined the group for dinner, telling the group their story and how the hurricane changed their lives, leaving them with all but nothing. It was a very moving recollection of all that had gone on there, from details as descriptive as the massive mosquitos that emerged, or the sewage that ravaged what was left of their house. By the end of the week, we began to feel attached to what great things were being accomplished there in such a state of despair, and many of the people that helped out expressed interest in helping MDS another time in the future. It was an event that changed our lives and it gave us insight into the real difference each and every one of us can make in the lives of those around us, a lesson whose worth cannot be measured, and I can't wait to hear of the adventures made by those that serve with MDS again in the future.<br></p>
Coming together to servehttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Coming-together-to-serveComing together to serveBy Inga Haglund<p>​<span style="color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;background-color:transparent;">From Mar. 25-30, our Service Adventure unit, along with all other units, traveled to Texas to help in restoring homes for those who lost theirs due to major hurricanes that hit nearly a year ago. Serving with MDS [Mennonite Disaster Service] was a new experience for most of us, and not knowing fully what to expect going into it, I believe that I can honestly say it is something that I, along with my unit, would love to be a part of again. During the week, not only did we get to meet and interact with all other Service Adventure participants and leaders, but also, we got to be a part of a project that helped to restore homes and lives.</span></p><p>My group worked all week on spackling and sanding drywall in a house that had been almost completely rebuilt due to mold and water damage to almost all rooms. Currently, there are six family members living full-time in an RV parked in their yard, along with one family member in and out, and a girlfriend with a baby on the way. While working, we got to know the family more. It was obvious that they are very grateful for what MDS is doing for them to get them back into their home. The mom expressed how devastating it was to come back home, after being evacuated, to a house that was almost completely ruined by the storms. She expressed how blessed they are to have people set aside their time to help rebuild her home for her family. Not only did she express how much having her house rebuilt meant to her, but she has also been grateful for the relationships she has developed with the volunteers working through MDS. After hearing her story, we realized we weren't just working on a house; we were working on a home and a place full of memories.<br></p><p>Along with working with MDS all week, we had the opportunity to get to know other Service Adventure participants and leaders, as well as spend the week with the Colorado Springs unit. One thing that amazed me about each participant was their story of how they got to Service Adventure. There were so many lives and stories that led us all together to Service Adventure, and it was amazing to hear how each one was different, yet somehow we all ended up there together. Along with the amazing opportunity to get to know the other units better, it also helped each of us to appreciate our own unit in different ways. I think that each of us realized that we really do love where we are and who we are with.<br></p><p>The trip to Texas was a great chance for a change in scenery. Not only was it especially nice to take a break from the cold and snow, but it also gave us the opportunity to get to know and meet the other units. Most importantly, though, we got to do so in a way that benefited others. We looked forward to this trip for so long, and I can honestly say that I think it turned out even better than each of us intended. I hope the units in future years get to experience this same opportunity, too.<br></p>
Ecuador, a call to prayerhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Ecuador,-a-call-to-prayerEcuador, a call to prayerContributed by Delicia Bravo Aguilar and Peter Wigginton<p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;">As the peace accords and the other negotiations in Colombia have advanced, there have been many people in favor of the steps forward and also people who feel like not enough has been done to forge a lasting peace. There are also people who have felt betrayed that injustices have occurred and true justice has not been served. Throughout this entire process, there has been violence along the Colombian-Ecuadorian border. It has been a place where gangs, drug lords, and defectors from various rebel groups have been able to, it would seem, do as they please. There have been tense times between the two countries, particularly because of the involvement and happenings initiated by many of these armed groups, especially since most (but not all) of them have been Colombians.</span><br></p><p>Over the last several months, violence has increased in the area, especially along the coast, and in particular violence against civilians. This all came to a head a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/04/02/three-journalists-are-kidnapped-in-ecuador-signaling-the-violence-spilling-over-from-colombia/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7fbbe42b5bc9"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">few weeks ago</span></a> when three Ecuadorian journalists, who had gone to the area to investigate and report on the increased violence, were kidnapped by a narco group that split off from the FARC led by an Ecuadorian known as El Gaucho.</p><p>On Friday, the 13th of April, the Ecuadorian government <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/13/ecuador-colombia-journalists-military-strike-rebels"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">stated</span></a> that they had no way to prove that the kidnapped journalists were still alive, and announced that they would start new coordinated military and police interventions in the area together with the Colombian Armed Forces.</p><p>In response to this the three Ecuadorian Mennonite conferences have produced the following (translated from Spanish) statement in favor of peace:<br></p><p><br></p><blockquote style="margin:0px 0px 0px 40px;border:medium none;padding:0px;"><p>PRONUNCIATION OF THE MENNONITE CHURCH IN ECUADOR</p></blockquote><p><br></p><blockquote style="margin:0px 0px 0px 40px;border:medium none;padding:0px;"><p>In view of the acts of violence that occurred in Ecuador on the northern border with Colombia, the Mennonite Church in Ecudor - whose mission is "to pray and work to promote justice and build peace inspired by the life of Jesus," and which as worked for over 30 years in favor of the most disadvantaged people - sympathise with the relatives and friends of the victims. <span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We ask that God comfort them and give peace to all who have suffered these losses. And in the midst of the pain that they are experiencing right now, feel that the best way we have to honor their life and their memory is to work for a more humane world, one that respects life and values peace and justice as precious goods, so that these cruel acts are not repeated in our country and in the world.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">As a Mennonite Church, heirs of an Anabaptist theology, which promotes nonviolence, peace, reconciliation and justice:</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We strongly reject any form of institutional violence, wherever it comes from, that wants to destabilize the harmonious and peaceful coexistence that has existed in our country, and for which, we must unite as brothers that want a country in peace, that is inclusive, welcoming, free of violence, united in solidarity and without discrimination. We believe that one of the fundamental riches that Ecuador has is its people, its culture, its liberating history and its ability to promote constructive dialogue that sees the other as a brother or sister, never as an enemy.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We know that the causes of violence, injustice, poverty </span>and<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> ignorance are structural and are the product of inadequate economic and social policies. They are instead based on profit and markets, where the human being is a commodity and an object. Social polarization, poverty and, social inequalities, affect people and are directly related to the deep roots of violence. Therefore, as long as the conditions that promote social injustice, environmental deterioration and the deprivation of possibilities of a dignified life subsist, structural violence will be justified. Building peace is also reducing poverty.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">In this sense:</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call to respect life as a gift from God.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call to unite in prayer that resists </span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">violence.</span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We</span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> call all churches to open their doors, activate solidarity and welcome the </span>most needy<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> and oppressed brothers and sisters.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call on political leaders to promote fair laws that benefit </span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">everyone.</span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;">We</span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"> call to build communities of peace and reconciliation and not only individuals guided by their own interests.</span></p><p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call to not let ourselves be dominated by the fear that paralyzes us and </span>cowards<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> us and to instead continue fighting for a permanent and lasting peace.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call to reject violence, discrimination </span>and<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> hatred.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call to be vigilant of peace and the right to life always and with all people.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call the Media and Social Networks to handle the information with truth, respect, prudence </span>and<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> restraint.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call on the Public Force and all armed groups and those who are oriented to violence to assume an active role in preserving peace, within the framework of the broadest respect for the human rights of all involved. And through this framework to seek new ways to solve conflicts that do not pose any threat against the life of the communities that live in those areas. We are convinced that weapons and wars do not bring peace, on the contrary, they multiply violence.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">We call on everyone to respect life, nature, and to unite, from solidarity, from social commitment, from faith, so that Ecuador continues to be a country of peace and security.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">"But I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;">Patricia Miranda</span></p><p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"></span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">President of Iglesia Cristiana Anabautista Menonita del Ecuador (ICAME)</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Pastor Carlos Acosta</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">President of the Iglesia Menonita del Ecuador (IME)</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Pastor Egdy Zambrano</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">President of the Council of the Iglesia Evangélica del Ecuador (IEME)</span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"><br></span></p></blockquote><span style="font-size:22.4px;">Read more from Delicia and Peter at their <a href="https://wiggipe.wordpress.com/">blog</a>.</span>
Easter in San Antonio, a SOOP reflectionhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Easter-at-the-airportEaster in San Antonio, a SOOP reflectionBy Jim and Ruth Mellinger<p>Will you let me be your servant,<br>let me be as Christ to you?<br>Pray that I may have the grace<br>to let you be my servant, too.<br><br>We are pilgrims on a journey,<br>we are trav'lers on the road.<br>We are here to help each other<br>walk the mile and bear the load.<br><br>I will hold the Christ-light for you<br>in the nighttime of your fear.<br>I will hold my hand out to you,<br>speak the peace you long to hear.<br><br>I will weep when you are weeping,<br>when you laugh, I'll laugh with you.<br>I will share your joy and sorrow<br>till we've seen this journey through.<br><br>When we sing to God in heaven,<br>we shall find such harmony<br>born of all we've known together<br>of Christ's love and agony.<br>               - Richard Gillard, 1997<br><br>It is just after Easter and a time to reflect on what Jesus's life and death and resurrection mean for today. Utmost in our minds are the verses of the above hymn that we sang together at our retirement service in Greensboro, NC, and again with the San Antonio Mennonite Church on Maundy Thursday.<br><br>We remember two of the immigrant mothers this past week who said they were going to be joining their husbands--one who had been in the U.S. two years and the other four years. Neither of their husbands had met their young daughters. We can only imagine their emotions as they waited at the airport for the final leg of their long journey from homelands in Honduras and Guatemala. It takes great stamina and strength to travel for over a month to get to this point. The one woman recounted having gone at one point for four days without food or water, sleeping on the dirt by the side of the road.<br><br>None of these women or their children are fleeing just "for the fun of it," or "to take our jobs."<br>They have very legitimate fears for the well-being and safety of themselves and their children from gangs, abuse, extortion, extreme poverty, etc. We have heard that many of them, if not most, will have a court hearing and be sent back if they don't get a good immigration lawyer.<br><br>But for several hours on any given day that we help them at the airport, we get to bring a sliver of peace and hope during a traumatic time. Most have never flown before, only speak Spanish, an Indian language, Portuguese, or French or even sometimes Russian or some other language. So our job is to help them get their boarding passes, take them through the security area and on to their gates, explaining where on their tickets to find their travel times and flight number and other important information.<br><br>We are working at the airport three days a week for 7-8 hours each day with one or two other volunteers. We help 85-125 women and children who are released each day from the detention centers that are located in towns about 1.5 hours south of here. Also, another 60-85 go through the bus terminal here in San Antonio each day. Volunteers with Interfaith Welcome Coalition help there, as well. (The detention centers bring them to the airport and bus terminal and drop them off.) The airport and bus personnel have been grateful for our help since it makes their job much easier.<br><br>Our Spanish has been coming back to us and we feel we are getting better at it each day. Jim is even better than me at remembering vocabulary, but one day I was waiting with a mother and her eight-year-old daughter for over an hour and talking with them most of the time. After 40 minutes or so, the girl asked me (Ruth) in Spanish, "Do you know English? I want to learn English." Wow! I didn't think my Spanish was sounding that authentic!<br><br>The days we aren't working at the airport, we have been enjoying the sites and things to do and see here in San Antonio, as well as participating in the life of the local church. We are only a mile from downtown and can walk to festivals there that happen almost every weekend. The River Walk is also a favorite place to go. We've seen four of the five old missions from the 1600's. We hope to get to some of the museums. Days are full, sometimes stressful, but always filled with ways to be the presence of Christ in someone's life.<br></p>