My faith encouraged me move on
by Sainiana Tamatawale (Fiji)
When I arrived in LA I was told that we will go for an exposure with Ariel in Anapra & El Paso. When the plane touched the ground in El Paso I said to myself this is it ‘yes this is my home’. We were welcomed by Kevin Mullin at the airport. He told us about the place as we came closer to the border checkpoint I saw soldiers & policemen. I sat quiet & looked around to observe what will happen here. Kevin looked at me and said don’t worry all will be well.
Over the bridge I saw the signboard which said ‘Bienvenidos al Mexico’. Something made me believe that I have really crossed the border to Mexico heading to see where I will be assigned. I forgot what people told me how dangerous this place was. Now I am here to see the reality of life in Anapra. Fr. Mick Donnelly was in the house when we got there. Then we walked down to the church. There were police patrol trucks in every corner of the street. People just live a normal life. The two priests & Ariel gave me courage from their advice & support. I was observing a lot, sightseeing the place where they took me. I’ve met some of the parishioners in the church. They are very welcoming people. Hearing them speak in Spanish urges me to learn & speak Spanish. When I hear them speaking in Spanish the Tagalog language kept coming to me.
When we were told to experience crossing the border bridge, I felt tensed at first. I saw a long queue of people lined up to go to El Paso. When I got through to the other side I felt ok & safe. I had no problem.
The mass at the border fence on All Soul’s Day was really touching. To me it was very symbolic. The mass was attended by both Mexicans & Americans on both sides of the fence.
I had a good experience of the exposure trip to Anapra. It has helped me reflect & plan for my pastoral work in the parish after language course. I also met the two priests in El Paso, Dennis O’Mara & William Morton. They took us around the area. It was great time with them during my one week exposure in the US/Mexico border.
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