International Ministries


October 13, 2002 Journal

It marks today's boundary between Alta and Baja California.At many points in the deserts and mountains there are no natural or human-made divisions.In other areas the divide is clear, whether it be a canal, barbed wire fence, eight-foot sheet-metal or twenty-foot concrete barrier.Miles and miles of the most western section now consist of a double fence, both erected by the government of Alta California in order to help stem the inflow of undocumented migrants and immigrants.Of course, we are speaking of the border between the United States and Mexico that separates California from Baja California.

Remember our grade school lessons that distinguished political and physical maps.Certain maps are made to show the "invisible" political borders that delineate the immediate sphere of influence of a particular nation or state.We later learn that these political borders change and that in many cases they are not so invisible after all.Even from 30,000 feet the Mexico-United States border is easily pointed out!No, one cannot see the fences; but the towns and cities on the Mexican side are growing rapidly and homes are built right up to the border fence. The effect from the air makes the political boundary as visible as if one was looking at a map.

Ours is a border ministry.We, along with countless thousands, cross the border most every day. We often hear the reactions of many from the United States upon entering Mexicali, "This is a different world!"Those from south of the border have much the same reaction after a stay in the north.Judith Santiago, the Mexicali Seminary graduate who has been ministering in El Centro, California for the summer has just returned to her home in Ensenada, Mexico. "I had a wonderful time," she says."I was able to preach, teach and serve.But it's great to be home.And it's great to be free again. Transportation was such a hassle in California.Here I have no problem without a car.But in California; no way."

Borders are a part of human existence.Indeed, they are essential to us as social beings.Yet, they must not hinder us, first, from our maturing as disciples of Christ as we strive to love God above all else and others even above ourselves, and second, from being about God's mission.One of the opportunities that we have to cross borders is through the World Mission Offering.Giving to the offering will not literally take us to other places, but it will help permit us as American Baptist Churches, in a united and effective manner, to continue our proud history of being about God's mission throughout the world. We appreciate your support.