Last weekend, MDiv and MHC students at Seminary of the Southwest experienced one of the hallmarks of the seminary’s immersive curriculum, visiting Laredo, Texas, to get a firsthand perspective on issues surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. The trip is the central component of the January course Encuentro: Mission in Latino Contexts, which considers the church in mission at the Texas-Mexico border and in Spanish-speaking congregations throughout the state.
The group included the MDiv junior class, for whom Encuentro is a required course, three counseling students, and Southwest faculty and staff members Dr. Jay Alanis, the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Hughes, Dr. Awa Jangha, the Rev. Al Rodriguez, and Dr. Stephanie Ramirez. During the weekend trip, they spent time at Casa de Misericordia, a women’s safe house, engaged in a dialogue with Border Patrol agents, worshipped at St. Augustine Cathedral, and visited the Rio Grande river bank itself in the context of the El Cenizo colonia – the term for low-income, unincorporated slum areas located along the border.
“The Encuentro experience provides a unique opportunity for students across programs to have fellowship and get to know each other in a special context of learning in Laredo, Texas,” Jangha said. “I always enjoy getting to know students better (both from MHC and MDiv programs) and being able to be with them on a small part of their formative cultural experience.”