Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

I could only imagine what was to come as I prepared myself to enter Juarez for the first time in about twenty years. Is it what I thought it was? Is it what I heard? As I drove across with my uncle, a sense of calmness hovered over me; yet, I was anxious to see how different Ciudad Juarez was from the United States. Once I crossed over, the first thing I saw were the people standing near the border begging for money as they held their hands or cups out. Secondly, I realized how roughed the roads were and how careful we had to be to not let a tire fall into the big dip. It was heartbreaking to witness how dirty the streets and broken down the buildings were. The driver drove as if there weren’t any street regulations. Almost at every stop light, there would be someone walking in the middle of street selling candy, roses, or even windshield wipers. In just a few minutes of being in Juarez, I was amazed at the difference from where I live in Georgia.

The drive to my parents was about 25 minutes from the border. As we entered into the street where my parents lived, I saw my Ma walking down the sidewalk. I jumped out of the truck and went straight to hug my Ma. Tears rolled out of both of our eyes because it had been about eleven years since we last saw one another. A couple minutes later, I walked down the street to find my Pa. He recognized me and walked toward me right away. As we hugged, he apologized over and over for leaving Alma and I at a young age. I felt torn apart; yet, I was built at heart. Alma and I were finally reunited with our parents. After many years of persevering without them, we had tears of joy because we knew that only the Lord made this possible.

My Ma has been affected by her diabetes lately, so she did not work the week Alma and I were there; my Pa took the responsibility to set up their tent. The street I saw my parents on becomes a flea market type of place Monday-Wednesday. Thus, my parents sit out in the heat and cold selling clothes and other products they have to bring in their income. Thankfully, my Pa is a handy man, and that way he also gets calls from neighbors who may need house repairs. He is able to make a little more money in that sense.

My grandmother was the reason we got to go because she is sick. She cannot walk anymore, and she has lost sight. She also has Alzheimer’s. I was betwixt, happy and sad to see her, but I am thankful we did see her again.

For returning to Mexico for the first time in 20 years and seeing my parents for the first time in 11 years was an experience words cannot convey. Even after returning to El Paso, I was amazed the immigration officers were kind to my sister and me. I thought it would have been different, especially after hearing that they can be quite rude. However, thanks to my wife and her parents who had various people praying for us, our experience crossing the border with DACA was at eased.

Thank you to all who have stood by us, Shalom!

-- Dream Big; Take Action 

Juan A. Terrazas

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Wayne Gretzky

*"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." Abraham Lincoln*