Youth Perspectives on Border Perspective

Youth Trip 2021

Border Perspective was started by Yonathon Moya in 2017 and serves families on the U.S. and Mexico border. The program aims to equip leaders, advocate for biblical justice, and mobilize the church on service-learning trips along the South Texas border.

10 high schoolers and 6 adult mentors from TLLC traveled to San Juan, TX in early July to spend a week with Border Perspective. We got a small glimpse into a week in the life of the Moya family. It was exciting, exhausting, and educational.

Upon arrival, we were barely settled in and were asked to help clean up after the Sunday food bank ministry that had just finished up. It was a very dirty (some would say disgusting and gross) job but the kids made quick work of it. It was followed by orientation and a delicious taco dinner from Pastor Eunice Moya (a.k.a. Pastor Moya).

On the first day our group was split into two teams. Team 1 stayed at the camp and helped prepare ingredients for soup to be served at a migrant support facility. They then cleaned the kitchen and sorted the produce for the food pantry. Team 2 left camp to do lots of heavy work clearing overgrowth at a nearby property that will become the new worship location for Pastor Moya’s congregation.

youth kitchen help

On the second day Team 1 went to the migrant support facility to help sort clothes for distribution to the families processing through there. Team 2 spent the morning cleaning at the camp, making soup to deliver to the migrant facility, and making lunch for all of us. Most of them joined Team 1 for the afternoon. Part of Team 2 stayed back to make dinner for everyone.

clothes sorting

Dios Vive Aqui! (God Lives Here!)Today’s tasks were all about helping the Moya family with preparations for a local event that included Christian musicians and speakers at a venue located near an historic pumphouse next to the border wall. Our teams split up to tackle lots of cleaning and set up. They also packed food for the food pantry distribution that happened later that week.

border wall

Our final day at Border Perspective started with a tour of the inside of the newly acquired church building. We heard the inspirational story from Pastor Moya of how her husband Hugo Moya acquired the site, his vision for the church, the work that had gone into it so far, and of the tragic accident on the site that led to his death just 3 months ago. Most of our group spent the day doing heavy land clearing around the property then taking it all to the dump. A few of us worked a couple hours sorting clothes to be donated to the migrant support facility then joined the crew.

moya church

yard work

We are especially grateful to the Moya family in showing such amazing hospitality to our crew and for showing us what true selfless service looks like. Thank you to Pastor Moya for her undying faith and commitment to continuing the mission her husband began, not to mention her amazing cooking. Thank you to the Moya children, particularly Sabas who guided our group all week and is working so hard to keep the camp going (especially sketchy septic tanks!) at the young age of 21!

Reflections from some of the youth who participated:

“I think the trip to the border was super eye opening and definitely gave us a perspective of what other people’s lives are like. We experienced how much people in need can be impacted just by us simply cutting down some grass. We learned to be grateful for the life we have and to live in the moment we are given.”

“The food was delicious, The labor was tough, The worship ceremony was loud. And the driving didn’t feel like the 5 hours it was. It felt like 2 hours with a couple naps.”

“The trip to San Juan, TX was super fun. Being able to work with the youth from our church to help the Moya family and Border Missions was a great experience. Working with the Moya family during the trip has helped me understand how desperate the situation is at the border, and how people are lacking simple necessities, like food. They also opened my eyes to how much people are willing to sacrifice for others.”

“I would say that the trip provided a unique perspective into the actual lives of people that live near the border. I went in expecting to be addressing the crisis more directly through work at the migrant center. However, the trip was interesting in that we got to help people that live in and support the border community.”

“The border trip was really fun!!! I loved that I was able to help and see what was really going on there. The media does not really show what it is like. I really loved how I could see that the work I did really helped people.”

“It was really hot and required a lot of manual labor. But it was nice to help out a family who really needed it. Also the food was really good.”

“The trip to San Juan opened my eyes. I’ve’ been down there hundreds of times, but this time impacted me differently. I got to see how a different ministry worked, how food distribution is run, and I even got to sort through rotting fruit. I got to connect and really impact a ministry that was helping hundreds of migrants and locals.”

“I really enjoyed the border trip. We went down to San Juan where we spent 5 days helping out and interacting with the asylum seekers and migrants. The experience was very eye opening and something that I will remember for a long time.”

“I saw god when we entered the church, I learned to play “fancy slapjacks”, and I will always carry the ability to hook up a trailer with me.”

“The trip was a lot different than I thought and I think that impacted me because I had to learn to be flexible. A lot of what we did was volunteer work. One day went to a clothing warehouse similar to Good Will and we sorted clothes. After we had sorted through a lot of clothes we started to head back. We had to exit the building through the first floor where we saw hundreds of families laying on small twin sized gym mats waiting to be processed. Stepping on to the first floor felt like stepping into a whole other world because where I live I’ve never seen anything like it. This experience definitely had an impact on me and showed me how fortunate I am to have been born and live in a pace where I don’t have to worry about finding a place to sleep or getting my next meal.”

big chair

If you are interested in supporting the Moya family and the Border Perspective missions, please contact Deacon Bri for more information. You can also visit their website

Watch THIS VIDEO about the origins of Border Perspective.

Read THIS ARTICLE written by a reporter about Hugo Moya and the history of his ministry at the border.

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