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Pastor Wes in Tucson

Monday, October 31st

20 Hoosiers (seventeen pastors, two leaders of the Wabash program and one of the leader's spouse) have arrived at the Redemptorist Center outside of Tucson. It is currently 7:10 pm Tucson time, 10:10 pm Indiana time. Have a headache and feel ready for sleep. We still have a brief meeting to help prep us for tomorrow ... everyone was hoping to be released to our room for rest.

Arrived in time to see the sunset. It was beautiful. Climate reminds me a lot of Southern California. Seems like a very American city in the desert southwest.

Hoping that tomorrow provides time for rest.

Tuesday, November 1st - All Saint's Day (Day of the Dead)

Naturally, I awoke well before dawn this morning, my internal clock still set on Eastern time. The good news is that I got a wonderful view of the rising sun this morning, coming up over a small strip of mountains to the east of Tucson. Well before the sun came up, though, the city was already coming to life.

We are staying about twenty minutes outside of Tucson at a Catholic retreat center in the foothills of the Saguaro National Forest. Beside the forest must be a pretty important traffic artery into the city for by 5:30 am Tucson time, there was a stream of trucks and cars winding their way down into the valley, likely on their way to work for the day.

Our plan for today is to go visit the San Xavier del Bac Mission in Tucson, and to learn more about the history of this place. It seems a far cry from the days when Spanish missionaries would have erected white steeples over this desert land.

Being that it is All Saint's Day, and - in Mexican culture, the Day of the Dead - we are also planning to visit a Catholic cemetery. I know relatively little about this part of Mexican/Latino culture, so it should be eye-opening.

Here at the Redemptorist Center, a kind man named Peter welcomed us last night. He was somewhat distracted, though. It just so happened that two immigrants from Mexico had found there way to this center after traveling days through the deserts south of here (Tucson is about 60 miles north of the border). Peter said their experience was harrowing and excruciating and that at one point someone held confronted them in the desert, and had held a gun to their head. I am not sure why the person had confronted them ... could be part of the drug cartel violence, but also - perhaps - a vigilante of justice? It will be interesting to here more from Peter. He did say that occasionally individuals who have illegally crossed the border do find their way to this retreat center.

Definitely miss my family and home. After these ten days, I think I will kiss the ground when I set foot on our farm again.

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