After my slingshot ride across Texas, I landed in El Paso. El Paso is on the far western tip of Texas, and sits immediately across the border from Ciudad Juárez.

A friend of mine lives part time in El Paso, spending his days in Juárez working with disadvantaged youth. He works loosely with a few Christian mission organizations, but the bulk of his time is spent interacting directly with neighborhood or family groups in some of the poorer parts of the city. He disperses a few scholarships and donations from supporters, but his main passion (and skill) is in developing meaningful and supportive relationships with kids. Through these relationships, he’s able to keep an eye on their situations and help out when he can.

(The above is a gross oversimplification, but frankly, I don’t think I can adequately describe such a deeply personal and emotional form of charity. Where most people would give money, he gives time, and he gives abundantly.)

This visit is my fourth in the past two years. I’d love to give a heartfelt explanation of why I go, and what brings me back, but I won’t do that for two reasons. The first is that any grandiose and prosaic rationale I could spin up would be a disservice to the commitment made by my friend, who has given years of his life to these kids. The second is that I don’t entirely understand why I go myself, except that it gives me joy.

But let’s not overthink things. Here are a bunch of photos from the last week and a half.

The fish in this barrel shoot back.



Mud bath in the Rio Grande. The barrier in the background is the border.



Milking the shade.

Cool kids.



Exploring quarries.

Summer summit silhouettes.

Being attacked by cholla.

This photo was taken just before the girl behind me (Judith) jumped on my back, which caused me to reflexively clench my fists. An unwise reaction, given the circumstances.



The older boys don't often let their guards down.

Neighborhood church service.

Singing for supper.



Three amigos.

All photo credit goes to Jeff Boone.




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