Happy New Year from SPO Arizona and asuCatholic! As we enter 2018 and look forward to an event-filled semester here at Arizona State, I’d like to fill you in on what we’ve been doing here lately.
Early in December, students (including myself) and staff at asuCatholic drove south to spend the first week of our winter break serving the community of Nogales, Mexico. Much like the trip last spring, we spent time at HEPAC, at the San Juan Bosco shelter, and in the community walking door-to-door in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Nogales.
This year, however, we had a new mission theme: “Father… I pray that they may all be one, as you Father, are in me and I in you… so that the world may know that you love them as you love me.” Instead of focusing only on the service work itself, the goal of this mission trip was to unite two groups of people in solidarity by, to borrow a phrase from HEPAC, building bridges across borders. We placed more of an emphasis on personal interactions with the people of Nogales, whether it was walking through the neighborhoods, inviting the community to join us for mass, spending time with the ill and disabled in their own homes, or visiting the immigrants at San Juan. Even with what little Spanish most of us had, the people in Nogales were so patient and generous, and almost always offered to make or give us food at the houses we visited.
We were also fortunate that the mission trip overlapped with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the largest and most celebrated day in almost all of Mexico. The level of excitement and celebration we witnessed downtown and in the Nogales Cathedral was unlike anything most of us had ever seen.
I gained a lot personally from this mission trip, but if I had to sum it up in one point, it would be that I left Nogales with a great love and appreciation for Mexico as a whole, and a deep desire to return.
Pictures (and videos) from the trip can be found at the links below. We hope you will keep us and all the students at ASU in your prayers as we enter this new semester!
- Connor Companik