I didn’t know deserts looked like this…

Today I finally went into the desert! And let me tell you, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I went out into the desert with four friends (five if you include our good friend Yupi!) of mine from the local church and C.R.R.E.D.A, an organization that helps those with drug and alcohol addictions. We went into the desert as a part of Agua Para La Vida, which goes out along well traveled migrant paths to fill tanks of water for their use. Many migrants travel thousands of miles to reach the border in hopes of crossing over into the U.S. This is an incredibly challenging journey that sadly causes the deaths of many migrants each year. The hope of Agua Para La Vida is to have water for those migrants in hopes of keeping them from dying of thirst.

This is the truck we took into the desert, with a large holding tank full of precious water.
This is the truck we took into the desert, with a large holding tank full of precious water.

While our friends Raúl and Rosendo were filling the tank at our first location, we went on a walk through the desert, similar to the walk that many migrants have made over the years. And it was a hot walk. And surprisingly enough, there wasn’t that much sand (not at all what I thought a desert would be like).

A gorgeous view right? Not exactly how I thought a desert would look.
A gorgeous view right? Not exactly how I thought a desert would look.

As we walked the relatively short walk to the border, we saw many signs of those who had gone before us; a torn shirt, an empty packet of beans, footprints in the sand. We also discussed those people who decided to make the trip in hopes of creating something better for themselves and for their families. It was worth seeing just a part of what countless people had experienced to seek the land of opportunity.

The border with flood gates up in case of flooding during the rain. Can you tell which side of the border we're on?
The border with flood gates up in case of flooding during the rain. Can you tell which side of the border we’re on?

Once we returned from seeing the border and praying for those who had attempted the journey, whether they succeeded or failed, we sat down and reflected on our journey. Rosendo, a pastor with Frontera de Cristo, reminded us of the story of Moses, and him leading the Israelites out of the desert in hopes of reaching the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. He talked about how many people, not just from Mexico, but also Guatemala, El Salvador, and other parts of Central America view the U.S. as the Promised Land. They believe that it is a land flowing with milk and honey, where all dreams come true. He also then reminded us how in America that isn’t always the case. It is a place of hard work, filled with the new giants of our time; border patrol, walls, and hard journeys. I hope to one day be able to proudly say that instead of building walls to keep those out of our ‘Promised Land’, we work together with people of all places and faiths to create a Promised Land that covers our earth, allowing all those to have opportunities to better their lives. And remember, everyone needs some help to guide them back home.

A picture of Yupi, our faithful guide showing us the way back to the truck.
A picture of Yupi, our faithful guide showing us the way back to the truck.
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