Border Pilgrimage/Peregrinación A La Frontera

LocationEl Paso, Texas, USA/Ciudad Juárez, México
DatesMay 2 - 8 , 2019
Registration Cost$625.00
Scholarship AwardScholarships available.
Application DeadlineMarch 20, 2019

The Experience

The Border Pilgrimage is a spiritual, educational, and action-oriented experience in El Paso, Texas, and Cuidad Juárez, Mexico. Through prayer, ritual, learning and volunteering this group will expand understanding about border communities, stand in solidarity, and join the movement 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.


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 July 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.


Sign of love 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

Accepted participants must plan to arrive at the lodging accommodations in El Paso by 5pm on May 2 (about a 20 minute drive from the airport) for introductions, a shared meal, and orientation. Program and activities will conclude by 10am on May 8. Various settings will contribute to the overall vision of this trip:

  • Cultural training provided by Hope Border Institute
  • Visit with migrants held in ICE Detention Center
  • Attend immigration hearing proceedings at the magistrate
  • Volunteer for Casa de Migrante and Annunciation House
  • Meet with migrants journeying through the region as well as local advocates and organizers
  • 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

Trip Leaders

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. 

Fundraising for Annunciation House

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.

How to Apply

Please follow this link to the application and complete by March 20, 2019. 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 this online reference form. A $10 application fee is required of all non-students. Scholarships are available for up to $525 depending on financial need. Please indicate whether you are seeking scholarship assistance on the application. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by March 22.

Ciudad Juárez, México

Additional Costs, Requirements, and Notifications

  • Each participant must be over 18 years of age or older, able to walk up to 15 miles, and able to complete moderate manual labor tasks required while volunteering.
  • Each participant must have a passport valid through July 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.


Contact us by emailing or call (503) 902 – 4820.