A Message from David...
586 — It is 586 miles from El Paso to Austin, TX. 586 is the area code for the northern metropolitan area of Detroit. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians destroyed the temple that Solomon had built. 586 is typically the number of homes that Casas por Cristo will build in a year and a half…but not this year. With the misrepresentation of the situation in Juarez presented by our national media, the mass number of team cancellations and the lack of new team registrations, the number 586 now has a new significance. At our April Pastor’s meeting we had to tell our Juarez pastors that we would not be accepting new applications from families in need. Today, 586 is the number of families that are on our waiting list. These families are waiting, holding out hope for the promise of a better life, a better home, a better future. Holding out hope that they too can be the beneficiaries of the love of Christ.
Over the past few weeks, I have personally led two groups through a build in Juarez. And these builds have been some of the best experiences in all of my time here at Casas por Cristo. Since the added military protection has arrived in the city, the mayor of Juarez reported that crime has dropped by nearly 98 percent. That is a staggering figure and one that I found hard to believe until I saw the situation in Juarez for myself. I saw children playing in the streets and families out in front of their houses enjoying cool nights outside. The atmosphere in the city was one of calm. Tom Hawks, a recent trip member from Salina, KS put it this way:
“To anyone who is considering whether they should join Casas por Cristo in building a home in Juarez, please don’t let Satan stop you from doing God’s work. Not only will the life of a family in Mexico be changed, but your life will also be changed. Your faith will be tested, your eyes will be opened and our prayer is that you will be found faithful. Life in Juarez was as normal as in the past. Children were playing in the street, business was being conducted as usual and people were happy to carry on with normal life. The only difference I saw from our past trips was that there were a few more Mexican Army soldiers patrolling the streets of Juarez.”
I have also come to look forward to the random military check points. That may sound strange, but let me explain. The people and community of Juarez are very familiar with our ministry and very respectful of our teams. But the added presence of the Mexican military brings soldiers from different parts of Mexico that have never heard of Casas por Cristo and have never seen groups of Americans coming to serve their people. These random check points have become an opportunity for me to spread the ministry of Casas por Cristo and through these discussions, the soldiers are beginning to know us and the love of Jesus Christ that we share. Their impression of Americans is also beginning to change. They are beginning to see people that love their fellow countrymen. In this way, our influence is growing in a very unexpected manner.
I also took time over spring break to welcome our first teams that were building in Ciudad Acuña. What a blessing. This community has welcomed us with open arms and is excited about what we are doing. I invite you to come and join us in this quaint sleepy little town on the Mexican border. You will find it to be quite a different atmosphere from the one that you have experienced in Juarez. And at the same time, you will find that very familiar love and appreciation from Mexican families receiving the blessings and provision of Jesus Christ.
586 — it is a number that can be much more than a hurdle…it can be an opportunity. You have the opportunity to change the lives of 586 families. It is still not too late to plan and register a trip for this coming Summer or Fall. Help us to continue to share the love of Jesus Christ. Help us to continue Building Homes…Changing Lives…and Saving the Lost!
~ David Robertson, Executive Director