Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Mission Musings


Life Lessons and Love from Family

Celeste Caton is a Global Mission Fellow with Global Ministries, serving the Northwest Conference of Iglesia Metodista de México (Methodist Church of Mexico) in Playas de Tijuana, México. What follows is an edited portion of her January 2015 blog.

My mom, dad, and brother made it from Boone, North Carolina—my hometown—to Tijuana where I am now serving. We were incredibly blessed to be able to spend a week together here in Mexico! It was an amazing week full of introductions to my friends, who have become my second family, eating wonderful Mexican cuisine, and helping my family to experience my work at the shelter and with the El Faro Border Church.

Celeste Caton (center) with her mother (left), father, and brother.
Celeste Caton (center) with her mother (left), father, and brother. Photo: Celeste Caton

Making the Service Connection

After dropping my family members off at the airport in San Diego, I felt like my heartache and tears would not stop. But, as I started my journey back to Tijuana, that same heartache began to leave me with an overwhelming sensation of guilt.

Here I am in Tijuana, working and serving with people who dream of seeing their families again. For many of them, the next time they will be able to be with their loved ones is completely unpredictable—maybe not even possible. I, on the other hand, have no trouble crossing the border into the States, and my family has no trouble crossing the border to reach me.

Recently, one of the guys at the shelter who has children living in the United States told me that, while doing construction here in Tijuana, he had a few free moments to relax. So, he lay under the trees on an ideally beautiful day and imagined himself back in the United States doing this same thing—but in the presence of his children.

Another man who was standing nearby said he wakes up every morning hoping this has all been a nightmare. He cries because all he wants to do is be with his family.

My heart is left troubled. I celebrate the opportunity to be with my family. I plaster the pictures all over Facebook and I share the highlights on Instagram. But my friends at the shelter cannot do this. They can’t post pictures of themselves with their family members because the pictures don’t exist.

So, how do I celebrate what I have, while recognizing that not all people have this same opportunity? I honestly do not know. Our realities are incredibly different. And in moments like this, this realization comes back to me like a slap in the face.

So my prayer is that my heart, mind, words, and actions will be filled with the grace, understanding, humility, and consideration to process all that is beautiful, challenging, and messy at the same time.

This blog was also featured in New World Outlook magazine, May-June 2015 issue.

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