August 19, 2022 — Douglas, AZ

On May 24, 2022, ABIGAIL ROMAN AGUILAR, age 32, was brought to the Copper Queen hospital in Douglas, AZ after he fell from the 18 foot wall and was seriously injured on his face by the concertina wire that was rolled in three huge circles on the wall, to discourage migrants from seeking their dream of a better life for their children and family. Upon leaving the hospital, there was an altercation with the Border Patrol agent who was accompanying Abigail, and he was stabbed in the chest two times and died near the McDonalds in front of the hospital. Abigail’s death is being investigated, at the moment, by the FBI and the BP Office of Professional Responsibility.

An inspirational group of men and women from the organization Witness for Peace, a transnational grassroots movement that builds solidarity to resist U.S. and corporate policies that contribute to violence, poverty and oppression in the Americas, joined by about 20 Douglas residents and friends from Tucson, prayed for consolation for the family of Abigail and genuine peace and justice for all in our divided country.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”. Psalm 46

August 9, 2022 — Paul Spur, Hwy. 80 West

Today , we remembered ROBERTO COVARRUBIAS RAYGOSA, AGE 41. We imagined that maybe Roberto was an abuelito, surrounded by his young nietecitos or maybe Roberto was on his way, to some place en el norte, to meet his new born nietecito. All we do know is that Roberto had a dream that he thought was worth risking his life for.

Roberto’s dream, that gave him courage to face the hardship of days in the unforgiving desert, died on the side of a lime mine outside of the town of Douglas, AZ.

We gathered today, from many places, to honor Roberto’s dream for a peaceful life, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. We prayed for Roberto and his loved ones he left behind and pray that, one day soon, the scales from our eyes will fall and we will see that we are all one .

July 19, 2022 – Central Highway, near Douglas, AZ

Under the scorching July sun of the Sonoran desert, an incredibly committed group of young women and men, sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee and the Mennonite Mission Network, of Goshen, Indiana, gathered to remember and pray for a young man, close to their age, who perished near the homes of Douglas residents, because he had no water.

All we know is that KEVIN LOPEZ TORRES, age 20, died of hyperthermia on May 27, 2022, all alone, far from home and exhausted. We don’t know if Kevin knocked on doors asking for water and was refused, or if he had no strength to do even that.

We prayed that Kevin be at peace and that his mourning family has laid him to rest in their village. May God have mercy on our country and turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.

June 30, 2022 — Hwy. 80 near Silver Creek

Three months ago, a 28 year old woman, SUSANA CORNEJO CORNEJO, climbed a 30 foot border wall, walked for days in the Peloncillo Mountains, but did not arrive at her “pick up spot” on Hwy. 80. Susana was found the day she died about 5 miles from Hwy. 80.

Something urged SUSANA CORNEJO CORNEJO to risk her life crossing numerous mountain passes, walking uncountable miles, suffering hunger and thirst in an unforgiving and overwhelming desert terrain. We can imagine what may have inspired Susana to take this treacherous journey–-young children who lack sufficient food, basic education and needed health care; inability to find employment that pays a living wage to support her family; desire to be reunited with her loving family. We honor Susana’s courage and generosity and we pray for her family she left behind.

Today we welcomed interns from the Border Community Alliance, a bi-national educational program situated in Ambos Nogales. We know that these vigrant and committed young people will return to their communities to witness to this tragedy of unnecessary death, that continues to occur in our borderland.

Border Wall — Douglas, AZ — June 10, 2022

What a horribly sad day today! We remembered GRISELDA VERDUZCO ARMENTA, age 31, who died on April 11 of this year, hanging upside down from the 30 foot wall, near Douglas, AZ. Griselda suffered a torturous death, as she risked her life for the future of her two children.

We were able to place beautiful flowers at the spot where Griselda breathed her last, thinking of her children.

May Griselda rest in the arms of her loving God and may the family feel the consolation of God and friends, who accompany them “as they walk through the valley of death”.

May 26, 2022 — Chiricahua Mountains

SILVESTRA ESPINO GARCIA, age 31, walked for days before she collapsed in our beautiful Chiricahua Mountains. Today we honored Silvestra’s dream to build a more stable and happy life for her family. This dream ended in these vast mountains, but we will carry Silvestra’s spirit with us forever. Her dream now lives within us.

We were accompanied today by a Spirited group of seminarians from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. May they return to the Seminary to share Silvestra’s dream with those they encounter.

San Pedro River — May 18, 2022

As we walked along the shaded area of the San Pedro river, we tried to imagine the pain of this unidentified migrant’s family. A son has disappeared from their lives. Probably they have no news of where, when or how this came to be. An open wound, an eternal wondering, no closure. We trust that our ceremony of remembrance brings some healing to those he loved and who loved him.

We from Douglas AZ, (along with women from Union Church, Berea, Kentucky and members of the Congregation of Notre Dame from New York and Toronto) gathered to honor his life, to celebrate the dreams and hopes he carried on his journey north. His remains were found just 6 months ago. Did he leave behind a wife and children? We prayed for his family…. we wish we could tell them of the beautiful place where he died.

San Pedro River — March 18, 2022

What would make you leave your country, your land, your home, your friends and perhaps even your family to begin a treacherous journey, of numerous days, through hostile terrain? Would you make this choice?

ENRIQUE LOPEZ CARRILLO, age 44, a son, perhaps a brother, probably a spouse and father, and perhaps a grandfather, undertook this treacherous journey, succumbing to tortuous dehydration near the San Pedro River.

We ask ourselves: why did Enrique risk his life crossing the unforgiving desert of Arizona? Who did he leave behind at home in Mexico? Who was he hoping to be joined with, here in the US? Even though we don’t know the answers, we are convinced that ENRIQUE knew this is what he was called to do, what he had to do.

Today, we were accompanied by an incredibly committed group of parishioners from St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church in Spokane, WA., who undertook their own journey to the tortured Arizona/Mexico border to see for themselves how our racist immigration policies cause unbearable suffering to so many.

As long as we live, he too will live:
For he is now a part of us as

We remember ENRIQUE.

March 10, 2022–Mile 31Geronimo Trail, east of Douglas, AZ

Carmelo Cruz Marcos’ life ended tragically the night of February 19, 2022. We drove at least an hour to plant a memorial cross in the mountainous area where he died, shot by a border patrol agent. Praying especially for his family, we imagined Carmelo’s hope to find work that would bring greater stability to his growing family of three young children. We prayed that our ceremony of honoring his life of 31 years would bring some comfort to his family and we resolved to continue to speak out for the reforms in immigration policy that could make it possible for fathers like Carmelo to find employment legally. Students from the Moody Bible Institute joined us. Their vision for justice and a world without violence strengthened our crying out to God, whose compassion, we pray, will bring healing to the anguish of a fatherless family and to the family of the border patrol agent responsible for this death.

Geronimo Trail, Douglas, AZ — February 1, 2022

Jose, you were only 28 years old. I have 5 children, ages 22 to 29. They will always be my children. I can’t imagine sending any of them on a journey such as the one that brought you to this mountain, just north of the border. My heart aches to think of you dying alone and in the cold. What were your last thoughts? I pray that you knew how much your family must have loved you, were proud of you and now miss you. As I held the cross with your name, I felt the weight of your suffering, wanting you to know and feel a mother’s comfort. Julie Wendelberger, Wauwatosa, WI