One example of the UMC at its best
By Gil Hanke
I, and others who hold my position in other agencies of our church, met for a few days at a remarkable UM-affiliated ministry in El Paso, Texas.
The Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI) is eight blocks from a footbridge to Juarez Mexico.
About 80 percent of the 7-12-grade students live in Juarez, even though some are U.S. citizens.
Their day begins with an hour-long bus ride. They then go through Customs and pay 50 cents to walk across the bridge to arrive at LPI by 7 a.m.
The students work at the school for an hour before classes and an hour or more after class in order to defray the cost of the school.
Many students also participate in music or sports until early evening when they retrace their steps back across the border to their homes in Juarez.
LPI graduates are able to speak, read, and write in English and Spanish. They have taken math and science courses with some of the finest high-tech teaching resources found anywhere.
More than 90 percent of the graduates receive scholarships to attend UM or public colleges and universities in the U.S.
The rest of the story is that they all engage in a ministry of repaying or paying forward for the remarkable education they received at LPI.
As a denomination, we want to expand our ministries with the poor and to welcome younger and more diverse people into our churches. We also seek an improved understanding of immigration.
LPI is one of many places where that happens every day. I invite you to learn more about the school, and join me in supporting this remarkable ministry here.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men