(ANS – Tijuana) – Some people believe that Thanksgiving can also be spent helping people in need, giving thanks to God by extending our hands to the less fortunate who belong to God’s family. Why some American teens and young, of the Salesian Youth Ministry in the Province of the United States West (SUO), decided to spend the day of celebration and the following weekend at the service of the migrants gathered in Tijuana.
Juan Carlos Montenegro, Coordinator of SUO Youth Ministry, narrates his experience:
This weekend in Tijuana we experienced homelessness generated by immigrants deported from the United States to those seeking asylum from Central America.
My reflection is not intended to explain why this situation is happening but rather to reflect on how blessed we are and on the opportunity we have to help our brothers and sisters in need.
I was standing outside of the camp where many Central Americans were placed, and I could not help but feel powerless. There was nothing I could do to help them. In front of me I saw families who were seeking a better life than what they had in their own country. Endless lines of young and old waiting for food. Over 100 small tents were pitched where our brothers and sisters spend their time waiting for an opportunity to get an appointment with the USA immigration office to see if they can find asylum.
The Mexican people are doing everything that is in their hands to support them. They have placed mobile offices to help them with their immigration status and provide them with jobs so they can do something while they are waiting for their appointment with the USA government.
Meanwhile the Salesians at “El Desayunador” are providing food, medical assistance, free phone calls to their country, free haircuts and clothes for those in need. The center is also in contact with the Mexican and US governments for any assistance that can be provided in this difficult moment. The Salesian oratory, St. Francis, provides a place where immigrants can find jobs as well.
These few days spent serving those in need have really opened my eyes to the wider world outside the US and helps me appreciate how blessed we truly are! What an amazing experience God has given through this trip to Tijuana!
The question in my mind and heart is: What can I do to support our brothers and sisters in need? How can I help to change this society? Are you aware of your blessings?
Source: InTouch – Don Bosco West