There are so many things to share about this journey so far with 16 of the most incredible and brave people of faith I have ever spent time with.
We arrived in Honduras Friday morning after taking a red eye from various points in the U.S. – mostly from California. Since our arrival we have been confronted with story after story from the migrant trail of the northern triangle (Honduras/Guatemala/El Salvador). I thought I was prepared after serving these last 11 years in ministry with Latinos, having spent much time with gente from Central America. But nothing can really prepare you for the avalanche of testimonies from so many different perspectives. So many points of entry to share these stories.
Where do we begin?
To a certain degree it feels like an emotional assault. Usually – as a pastor – when I hear a particularly difficult story I get to go home and decompress. But here the time and opportunity for decompression has been limited. Every day we meet with at least two different organizations.
Just to name a few…
The threat of mining in the beautiful mountains of Honduras. Extracting mineral resources by essentially decapitating mountains that we use for our favorite (my favorite) tech gadgets.
The surreal presence of “African palms” throughout the northern region and beyond that deem the land infertile after 20 years of harvest. For American consumption, of course. Palm oil replacing trans fat so that we can maintain a more healthy lifestyle.
The displacement of the Garifuna Community – an indigenous people of Honduras in Barra Vieja. Generations and generations of displacement! 500 years of the same damn strategy of “we’ll help you if you help us….” They are willing to stay on their land and die rather than be displaced again.
The incredible women of COFAMIPRO (Committee of Family Members of Disappeared Migrants of Progreso). They have thrown themselves into their search for their lost children – many who have not seen nor heard from their children in 10 and even 20 years. Too many who have received the remains of their children. Sometimes even fooled by the remains. Se even receiving a bag of sand instead of the body of their beloveds. How can this be? When did God ever intend for this to happen? Yet, these women fight on. La lucha sigue. As my sister Darlene Nicgorski put it, “They have nothing to lose. They’ve already lost.” #CaravanaDeMadres
The workers at CAMR (Centro de asistencia de migrantes retornados) who receive deported migrants twice a day from the U.S. Many of them mutilated from la bestia (the beast – the train that runs through Mexico). White corporate planes with the living and the dead.
At every stop inevitably someone on our team asks, “Where is the church?”
I am very grateful when I look around each of those rooms – sweaty and funky from our travels – and see the faces of my brothers and sisters. Pilgrims in our inter-faith. I look around and I see the face of Jesus. I see the face of the prophet. I see the face of my Honduran brothers and sisters. Sharing painful stories and yet laughing with tears in our eyes. Here is the spirit of God. Here is shekinah. Here is the holy.