Written by Amy Lester (New Orleans, LA)
It is impossible to forget when your eyes are first truly opened to the world. For me, that was 2003. I was a 14-year-old living in white suburban privilege, with no knowledge of a world past the end of my block. That first year in Reynosa exposed me to so much. I returned for several years, and under the patient tutelage of Faith Ministry, I began to absorb and learn.
It’s been 10 years since I was last here. Ten years since I mixed concrete in the street, sang Unidos, Unidos or cried within a circle of friends dedicating a home to a family I barely know. A lifetime of moments has filled the minutes between that last border crossing and today. The city has changed. I have changed. And yet, it feels like a homecoming.
Working in Reynosa is an experience not easily left behind. The grit from the roads, dust from the concrete, sweat from the sun beating down over your back are never truly scrubbed away. Laughter echoes in your ears, warm spices hold to your tongue and love pulses through your veins. This place has a way of seeping into your heart and flowing through you forever.
Step onto a job site and strangers with whom you can barely communicate become family. The walls you erect together become the tools to dismantle the ones created within. Understanding is earned side by side. You try and fail, learn and master – your body becoming an instrument of change in this world to be wielded far beyond the single week you reside in Mexico.
Faith Ministry is the face of a people dedicated to community and sustainable growth. Their story is a song that fills your soul – the scraping of trowels and rhythm of shovels keeping time. Harmony in labor. Faith through love. Community cemented with a belief that change can happen, one at a time.
If home is where the heart is, then Faith Ministry is my home. And I can’t wait to come back home again.