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El Paso, Texas / Ciudad Juárez, México

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Nov 13 2019 - Nov 19 2019


All of the day



Border Pilgrimage / Peregrinación A La Frontera

The Border Pilgrimage is a spiritual, educational, and action-oriented experience in El Paso, Texas, and Cuidad Juárez, Mexico. Through site visits, volunteering, and spiritual practice this group will learn more about border communities, come to a deeper understanding of migrant people’s experience, and strengthen engagement for immigrant justice. Our experienced partners at Hope Border Institute have assisted in preparing activities, teachings, and various opportunities on both sides of the border to deepen resolve for engaging in advocacy and relief response.

Each day will include a rhythm of contemplative practice, engaging learning and outreach environments, guided reflection and dialogue.

The cost of this pilgrimage is $675, but there are scholarships of up to $575 available.

We are looking for people interested in the intersection of spirituality and action with a focus on immigrant justice. Because there will be multiple border crossings into Cuidad Juárez, a valid passport is required (valid through December 2019). Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, able to walk up to 15 miles, and able to complete moderate manual labor tasks required while volunteering.

Accepted participants must plan to arrive at the lodging accommodations in El Paso by 5pm on November 13 (about a 20 minute drive from the airport) for introductions, a shared meal, and orientation. Program and activities will conclude by 10am on November 19. Various settings will contribute to the overall vision of this trip:

– Cultural training provided by Hope Border Institute
– Visit with migrant people and volunteer at shelters and community centers in Juárez, México.
– Attend immigration court hearing proceedings in El Paso, TX
– Hear from local advocates and activists
– Visit Tornillo, TX, site of the 2018 child migrant tent detention facility
– Tour of the historic Hueco Tanks
– Guided pilgrimage prayer walk along the border

Sign of solidarity for the children held in the detention camp in Tornillo, TX

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Because God is always with you.”
Joshua 1:9

Ben Lindwall is the Executive Director of HEARTBEAT, based in Portland, OR and has been leading spiritually oriented trips for over a decade. He is a certified Spiritual Director and is also certified in First Aid. Ben made the pilgrimage to the Isle of Iona in Scotland in 2011 and has since been mentored by John Philip and Ali Newell.

Ilka Vega is the Community Engagement Specialist at Hope Border Institute. She is originally from El Paso, TX and Cd. Juarez, Mexico area. Pilgrimages are an essential part of her upbringing. She has made five formal pilgrimages to Taize, France and Iona, Scotland and tries to implement similar spiritual practices and reflections in her travels and daily life at the border and in her work for social justice. 

Annunciation House, an organization in El Paso with a long history of providing direct respite care to migrants, has requested financial donations to support their ongoing efforts. Part of the Border Pilgrimage mission will be to collectively respond to this request. Participants will be guided in setting a fundraising goal, reaching out to their own social networks, and inviting financial support. Please note: funds will not be used for the individual expense of the participant. Heartbeat will receive donations and send all of the funds to the Annunciation House.

To apply, please complete an online application. A teacher, mentor, advisor, or religious/spiritual leader who can comment on the applicant’s ability to engage in the experience and participate with the group must also complete an online reference form. A $10 application fee is required of all non-students. Scholarships are available depending on financial need. Please indicate whether you are seeking scholarship assistance on the application. All those interested in attending must complete an application whether they are seeking a scholarship or not.

Ciudad Juárez, México

  • Each participant must be over 18 years of age or older, able to walk up to 10 miles, and able to complete moderate manual labor tasks required while volunteering.
  • Each participant must have a passport valid through December 2019.
  • The group will make multiple crossings into Cuidad Juárez, Mexico and make use of taxi transportation. All applicants must review government warnings associated with crossing into Cuidad Juárez, Mexico.
  • Each participant will need to bring money for lunch each day and two dinners (average of $10 per meal for a total of $80).
  • Each participant will need to purchase individual travel insurance (approximately $40 – $70).
  • Each participant will need to provide medical insurance information.
  • Each participant will need to complete pre-trip study work including reading articles and listening to podcasts.
  • Each participant will need to bring any gear needed to complete the packing list (see below)
  • Each participant will need to affirm our Pilgrimage Community Commitments and Conflict Resolution Process as well as our  Code of Conduct Commitments if participating in a rally, demonstration, or protest.
  • Each participant will need to carefully read and sign Heartbeat’s Release and Indemnification Waiver.

Laundry is available on-site. Please pack an outfit you feel comfortable wearing during cultural events and visiting detention centers as well as two outfits for volunteer work/hiking.

– Socks
– Underwear
– Comfortable sports bra
– Pants
– Shorts
–  T-shirts
– Long sleeve shirt
– Sweater
– Lightweight hiking shoes that can also be used for volunteer work
– Light sandal or flip flop
– Rain jacket
– Warm beanie/hat
– Hat to shield from the sun

– Work gloves
– Dust mask
– Water bottle
– Backpack (smaller daypack size)
– Earplugs
– Laundry detergent (powder, small pack)
– Journal and pen or pencil
– Camera phone and charger
– $80 to cover lunch each day and two dinners

– Personal and emergency medication
– Sunscreen
– Toothbrush and toothpaste
– Soap
– Shampoo/conditioner
– Pain reliever (Ibuprofen and/or Tylenol)
– Feminine products