Have you ever wondered what freedom looks like…well here is an opportunity to look right inside where many would consider their passage to freedom. In 2006, I rode in this van from Altar, Mexico along a 60 mile dirt road to Sasabe, Mexico. I was able to join a group of individuals traveling from all over Mexico and Central America to Altar, Mexico; the last stop along their journey before they crossed into the United States of America.
You never know what is trapped inside a smile…it can be a mystery. I am not sure why my new friend did not want to smile for the camera, but she definitely did not lack the ability to smile.
Most people have a perception of poverty based on the outside looking in. Do we as white privileged individuals really know what poverty looks like, feels like, and sounds like?
If you find your way inside the La Lomita Mission along the Rio Grande River in Mission, TX; your will find relics along this altar of faith and maybe freedom. As I walked through the door, I found myself in a worshipful position, quietly walking down the center aisle observing each pew.
La Lomita Mission’s doors were wide open for any and all to visit, worship, pray, and reflect. This day’s reflection, the intersection of faith and freedom.
The moment I met Victor Ramirez…I knew I wanted to capture his smile, his face, his personality! Victor is a pastor at Nuevo Vino in one of the Colonias near McAllen, TX, planting a church to help the Latino and Hispanic populations navigate this new world called USA. He was born in Mexico leaving the construction business he started because of the violence and cartels. He left it all finding his next calling to pastor families, helping them navigate the legalization process, provide them food, supplies for shelter, and a big bear hug when needed. His face has so much texture, so many wrinkles and valleys that share his story…he just makes you feel warm. His face is a beautiful…representation how Christians can serve those in need…with love. As I shook his hand one last time, he asked me to come back. I will miss my new friend and hope his ministry grows!
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I had the tremendous pleasure of spending time with Javier Perez from Buckner Ministries. He is from Colombia and arrived in the US on a student visa as he worked on his undergraduate degree in Texas. He now has transitioned to a work visa; along with his wife…they are fearful of the mixed timelines as they try to renew and stay to continue their work. He shared that he is concerned that under the pending executive order, he could be deported because his income level will not meet the new, pending guidelines. His salary is not considered as a high income earner to qualify, he is a minister. He shares in this meeting this question, “As Christians, is it our job to keep people out of the country or welcome into the kingdom of God?” #immigration #Canon #5dmarkiii #CanonBringIt
Last night in one of the Colonias near McAllen, TX…we visited a family who fled Mexico in fear. They found refuge and are slowly rebuilding their lives. This little boy giggled with me as I took his picture, all smiles and no worries! Happiness is contextual, regardless if our homes have dirt floors or not…happiness comes from a sense of peace and joy. I was joyful to capture this little boy’s face and his little dog. He helped me remember that fear is a state of mind; we should be careful not to place our fear in places that show love. His father loves the US and has brought his family here in hopes of becoming legal, to work hard, and find their American Dream. Remember, we are all Americans…some are fighting to become United States Americans.
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Our last night on the border with CBF of SC learning about an undocumented family, fleeing Mexico violence and cartels threatening their lives. Their house may not look like ours with the dirt floors, yet they are hard working and happy for the safety of their family unit. This picture is from one of the Colonias supported by Nuevo Vino Church, who has helped this family with supplies to continue building their house with a safe place to sleep for their little ones. #immigration #CanonBringIt #canon #5dmarkiii