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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Faith at the border

Small but strong, the Border Servant Corps works at the U.S.-Mexican border

When Janet Trebs neared graduation from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., she told a vocation counselor: “I want to do volunteer work for a faith-based organization that has a focus on community and Spanish.” The counselor put those three parameters into an Internet search engine, and out came an answer: Border Servant Corps.

Border Servant Corps volunteer Janet
Border Servant Corps volunteer Janet Trebs (middle) teaches computer skills to Irma Castañeda (right) and Naty Magaña.
Through the corps, Trebs now volunteers with Colonias Development Council, which tries to improve life in the colonias—communities within 150 miles of the Mexican-U.S. border that “lack basic infrastructure, decent housing and/or improved roads.” Trebs helps collect and process data to assess community needs. She also makes adobe blocks for housing material and teaches a computer class for women.

Border Servant Corps is a 10-year-old ministry of Peace Lutheran Church, Las Cruces, N.M. Its mission, as stated on the Web site, is to “provide an opportunity for volunteers to work for justice, serve their neighbor and walk humbly with their God” along the border. Volunteers commit to one year of service. Currently the corps has five full-time volunteers, with room for three more. Volunteers live as a community in Las Cruces and El Paso.


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