Peace in the valley

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The wall

Located in the valley of a desert, Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora is a place where hardships are suffered but the light of God shines. It is a land of harsh heat during the days and cool, brisk nights. The sun is ablaze at high noon and the stars shine bright during the stillness of night.

I have witnessed first hand from migrants the difficult journey that they have embarked on. I have shed tears with them, I have laughed with them, I have prayed with them. I have walked along a portion of where they walk in order to cross the border. I see their faith lift up not only their own spirits but their brothers and sisters around them. I do not think I have ever witnessed God’s wondrous works in such a way that I have witnessed in this border town.

On a long drive back to our house tonight, I couldn’t help but reflect on my life. From as far back as I can remember to the present, the amount of blessings and opportunities I have been given is humbling. The support of my parents and family is unreal. I would not be the person I am today with out my friends, neighbors, classmates, teachers, and family. I want to thank all of you who read my blogs and for the comments and prayers. I really do appreciate the support especially on this part of my journey.

Sitting here, looking up to the stars shining bright on this suffering earth I feel hopeful that one day this world, this country, this Nogales will be a better and safer land. Many people we have interviewed talk about the youth of the world. I can see what they mean by how the youth of this world are our hope. Looking into the eyes of my fellow classmates and others that I come across, I see the hope, the vision, and the will to make our world better. My hope is to tear down barriers of race, gender, religions, and countries. The wall that stands no more than 5 miles from where I am right now is a symbol of a corrupt, divided human race.

Even in the shadows of the mountains around, God is here in the people of Nogales. You can see it in theirs smiles, their eyes, and their attitude towards life. People here do not have that much but what they do have is God and for many, that is what sustains them. The migrants especially have this sense of strength and hope that radiates off of them. It amazes me how strong in faith they are even in life’s toughest situations. They still believe and trust in God.

Cross painted by migrant
Cross painted by migrant

My prayer is for these migrants who risk all they have to try and live a better life. For the world and all of its cuts and wounds that bleed and blister. For an end to all divisions and divides that cast shadows on the earth. And for the strength and courage that I see in the people of Nogales and the migrants who pass through it.  Amen.

7 thoughts on “Peace in the valley

  1. A.J. – Great posts here! Sounds like you are learning a lot through your experiences in the Southwest. I think most of us aren’t aware of all the people moving back and forth across the border to make a living or escape some unknown hardship. Keep up the great work.

  2. Gratitude for what blessings we have, brings glory and praise to God. In our lifetime, we will meet those who have more than us and those who have less than us. The important thing is to live a life of gratitude for all the blessings we receive from Him. Thank You heavenly Father for all the blessings You have given us. Please continue to touch the heart of AJ and all the people he meets on this journey.

  3. I’m moved J.J. You captured so much of what I think so many of us are feeling. So happy to have you on this trip!

  4. AJ – What a beautiful picture and message. Your words have touched me deeply. I can sense that you have experienced not only a journey of travel… but of the soul. It is another building block to add to a strong foundation that will shape you as a person. Safe travels! We love you!

  5. Wow AJ! A very moving blog! I can tell your time there has been life changing! The Lord has so given you a heart for these people. I love that! want to know more!
    Reflecting on your life, taking the time to be thankful for what you already have and all the good things God has already done and the blessings you have today gives a whole new perspective…it renews your mind, affects your attitude, and causes your joy to overflow. Continue to be thankful, and be ready. God has so much more for you!

    Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
    Colossians 3:16 AMP

  6. You have been blessed with many opportunities in life and it is through those experiences that you have build a foundation of who you are today. They say it takes a village to raise a child and you had wonderful neighbors, friends, teachers and family that have helped you on this journey. Life is about the experiences..not the material things in life…The people live a simple life…one of faith. Looking forward to you coming home..We love you!

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