The Centro Comunitario Del Espiritu Santo (The Community Center of the Holy Spirit) is located in the poorest part of Juarez, Mexico just across the border from El Paso, TX. It is a center which was founded approximately 30 years ago to support the community which had originated around people who were working the dump to salvage items of value. This is the poorest area of Juarez, and while the dump has been closed for many years the community remains. The work of the mission has evolved as the needs have changed. One of the first services provided was building small coffins for children lost to a continuing cholera epidemic. These simple coffins enabled parents to bury their children with more dignity than just wrapping them in plastic bags. Fortunately this service has not been needed for many years.
As the name suggests the mission has a strong religious foundation but is based on following Jesus rather than any affiliation with a specific church. Today the most significant need of this community is the feeding of children who do not have enough to eat. Other needs include daycare for children while parents are working, schooling for children without the necessary documentation required for public school, and a dental, eyeglass and medical clinic. They also support special needs that arise by the members of the community. These special needs may arise from victims of abuse, alcohol and drugs. A recent addition to their services is evening classes for adults, so they can finish their education. They also supply small weekly food boxes for people who may be unable to get out of their homes due to age or illness.
The center was founded by Frank Alarcon, a man from El Paso, who left his home to live at the mission. Frank passed away in 2011 but set up a governing board prior to his death. The current Director of the mission is Maria del Pilar Machuca Borrego (Pilar) who worked with Frank for several years prior to his death. A daughter, Bernice Alarcon Hernandez, is on the board and is the primary fundraiser. Virtually everyone, including Pilar, works at the mission without pay, and the mission receives no government support from Mexico. The mission is supported by a few areas in the U. S.. Northern Colorado is one of the main areas of support. Funding is primarily accomplished by fund raisers here in Colorado, a church in the state of Washington and a church in Michigan. The funding is somewhat erratic, but they proceed with a strong faith that God will provide. They exist to serve the poor in God’s Name.
Trinity partners with Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and area farmers to collect money and food for the mission each November. Last year that effort raised $12,000 and collected 7,000 lbs. of food for our less fortunate brothers and sisters in Juarez. And for the past three years in October, our parish has sent mission trips to work at the mission. There are many opportunities at the mission to interact with the children and work on projects. You need not be a skilled craftsman to be a liaison for Christ during one of these trips. Please contact Steve and Nancy Teksten (396-5304) for more information if God is calling you into service.