Armonia was founded by Saul and Pilar Cruz in 1987 in one of the poorest communities in Mexico City: the Jalalpa ravine; a violent and impoverished neighbourhood to the west of the city

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Armonia now has three community centres in urban and suburban settings, as well as working with indigenous students in the mountains of the Sierra Norte in the south of the country.

This is what Saul and Pilar Cruz said in 2002:

“Working alongside the poor became the purpose of our lives out of obedience to Christ, compassion for the needy and feelings of holy indignations when we see that beings like us created in the image of God have to survive under humiliating conditions.”

 

Armonia organises schemes concerning nutrition housing and shelter, health and supports people in times of injustice and emergency. Armonia is able to respond to the practical and spiritual needs having built relationships based on service inspired by a need for justice. Through this kind of relationship the Gospel can be expressed in an honest and relevant way.

Armonia aims to transform communities so that they themselves can continue the process of change transforming poverty into life.

The work involved in this process has four main areas: Compassion, Discipleship, Transformation, and Self reliance. An example of this in action is Sergio:

Sergio was sitting exams last summer and he wanted to study at the National School of Music in Mexico City. He needed a miracle, 2,500 applicants but only 18 places. He had never had a formal clarinet lesson, all his tuition had been in an obscure mountain village, at the feet of an old Indian who passed on his skills (and his old battered clarinet). Sergio had been used to taking his clarinet around pubs and clubs to earn a bit of money, Then, still only 14 years old, he was found by Armonia and entered the life of the Oaxaca student residence in the south of Mexico with other students from the mountain villages. The audition at the College went well, but they were appalled at the quality of his instrument. They made it a condition of acceptance that he must acquire a better instrument. The message filtered out of Sergio’s need through the Armonia network. A few weeks later a USA volunteer handed Saul a box he had carried all the way from Florida. It was one of the best clarinets that money could buy, a Bossuet. Saul and Pilar gave Sergio the box and, tears flowed. He couldn’t breathe properly. Later he was accepted after he had sent the serial number of the clarinet to the college.

The first clarinet player of the Mexico Philharmonic came up to Sergio “I heard you play, you are going to be loved here, in the USA, and loved in Europe.”

“How are you going to keep yourself on the straight and narrow?”

“Well it’s probably up to these guys (introducing Saul and Pilar) they and the Armonia lot are family to me. I think they’ll keep me right on those things!”

Sergio now lives in Mexico City at the Presidents Community Centre and teaches younger children in the homework club when not attending classes. He writes a letter every week to Pilar to let her know how he is doing.

 

Pray for Armonia as they seek to transform fear into love, exclusion into reconciliation, force into compassion and poverty into life.

 

Saul and Pilar Cruz will be visiting Carley in October.