Saturday, August 22, 2009


So it has been three weeks since we posted our first entry, but from here on out a bi-weekly post can be expected. Every other weekend or so, we will keep you updated on our shenanigans here in hot and dusty El Paso.

It has been an eventful past few weeks. Our road trip from Minneapolis to Houston was long, but fun, and long. We received great hospitality in Kansas City from Jeff and Michelle, and Chris also got to catch up with his former roommate Alex, who also lives in KC.

Next, we stayed at a beautiful and peaceful retreat center outside of Hot-Hot-Houston for about a week. There we learned and discussed what our year will look like. We also learned what it means to be a Jesuit, how they live, pray, commune, as well as what they eat for breakfast and what they smell like.

From there we hauled arse across Texas and arrived at our new home just outside of downtown El Paso; 1522 E Yandell Dr El Paso TX 79902 to be exact. Our first two days were spent being oriented to the city and our job placements by our very helpful support people, as well as being fed meals big enough to necessitate a long nap and various methods of pressure release.

Chris is feeling very welcomed at Sacred Heart Church, especially by his goofy and wonderful supervisor, Brother Pete. Chris has his first few projects lined up already. The church purchases food from the West Texas Food Bank and distributes it to struggling members of the community each Friday. Chris participates in this and will be handling and spending some grant money to enhance this operation. Along with Meg, one of Chris and Leticia's housemates who also is serving at the church, Chris will start giving job skill workshops to unemployed members of the neighborhood. He is still learning his role and job description at the church, so more details to come. And he has his own office!

Leticia will be assisting mainly Hispanic individuals in their process of applying for legal residency and US citizenship. She is working on Project SHINE, which recruits local college students to teach free citizenship classes in exchange for college credit. She will be the intermediary between the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) and the organizations that will be providing these free classes. Leti will also have the opportunity to teach conversational English and citizenship classes to adults a couple days a week. And she has her own office! And a cute pencil cup with flower prints! Oh my God!

Our new house is also very nice and accommodating. We are excited about doing some gardening and landscaping.

Looking forward to a non-existent winter. Ha ha suckers!

-Leticia & Chris

P.S. You thought we wouldn't mention it . . . but we are still in need of financial support (not applicable to those who have already donated to us). Also, the Donate Online link is now functioning properly (Sorry for the inconvenience). Thank you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Almost There

We've got about a week before we leave our home that we have come to love here in Minneapolis, and head for a home that we will come to love in El Paso. (yeehaw, or andale arriba!)

On August 11 we will begin our year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. The JVC is a Christian social service organization that connects non-profit agencies with volunteers, and also provides those volunteers with spiritual direction and support through community.

During our search for a new way to follow Jesus, we found our values to be lined up with the JVC's main values of living simply, keeping faith, doing justice, and building community. On top of this, we feel drawn to use our energy to come alongside the marginalized population among us.

We will be working with the Hispanic border population in a couple different ways. Leticia will be volunteering with Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services as a legal assistant. She will work with people to help them attain citizenship, housing and employment. Chris will be volunteering with Sacred Heart Church's Job-Readiness and Community Outreach Programs.

We will be living in a house in downtown El Paso with two or three other Jesuit Volunteers. Our housing, food, and basic necessities will be provided by the agencies with whom we volunteer. However, we have been asked to raise a bit* of money to aid the agencies in order to make this all possible. The Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services and Sacred Heart Church will benefit from this financial contribution, and will be able to devote their resources to those in need.
*$500 each!

If it is possible for you to contribute to our service, you can do it in a couple of different ways.

  • Donate online
  • or send a check payable to Jesuit Volunteer Corps to:
PO Box 3126
Houston TX 77253

(please be sure to note our names in the memo :) )

We will be sharing our experiences and pictures in this blog and we look forward to keeping in touch while in El Pasito.

We are very grateful for your time and your contributions. Muchísimas gracias.

Leticia & Chris