Starting this Fall I’m helping our missions partner, Praying Pelican Missions, get started in Tijuana and northern Baja, basically within 2 hours of the San Diego border.
Leave it to a youth worker to do the obvious. Juarez, Mexico is one of the most dangerous places on Earth. There are 5 or 6 murders per day. And yet Carlos Mayorga and his tiny church across the border, have decided to make it known that God loves Juarez, it’s people, and the murderers will not stand unpunished.
As I listened to this story on NPR this week tears streamed down my face. I can’t even imagine how this youth worker pulls this off (with parents, logistics, culture) but it so deeply resonates to hear these young men and women doing something so simple yet, so dangerous, and in many ways so faithful.
The van pulls up in front of a supermarket at a busy intersection.
The angels, well rehearsed, take their positions on street corners and medians. They stand on folding chairs in long white robes, so that they look like giants.
And then they freeze.
Mayorga says he got the idea from the “living statues” who earn tips from tourists.
An angel standing under an overpass holds a sign that reads, “Assassin repent, Christ loves you.” Another stands next to a lady selling red chili with a sign that says, “Corrupt police, seek God.” Yet another holds a sign that reads, “Enough kidnapper! Look for God.”
The signs reflect the sentiments of the residents of this violence-weary metropolis. A factory worker named Ramiro Mendez with a sack full of groceries watches from the sidewalk, transfixed.
“It’s good what they’re doing because of the violence there is,” he says. “I hope no one hurts them.”
It’s all about context, right?