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Cover Story August 12, 2004

by lyle e davis


“It was humanity at its most depraved,” said Pastor David “Chappie” Walden, of his first visit to Tijuana’s notorious La Mesa Prison. “A modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.  There were drug deals going down right in the open, inmates slamming heroin into their arms, people running around nude, sexual acts going on right in front of you as well as other inmates, women and children . . . the air was redolent with the smell of marijuana . . . it was the closest thing to a human cesspool I had ever seen. And  then I learned that there are Americans in Mexico’s filthy jails and prisons, all in a near hopeless situation; and there was no one to minister to them.”


It was 1995 and Pastor David Walden had come to La Mesa Prison via a rather circuitous route.  He and his wife, Sandy, had gone to Tijuana at the invitation of a Mexican attorney who had been ministering to the La Mesa Prison inmates for the past 10 years.  When his host brought him into La Mesa Walden was shocked to see 7000 men, women and children massed together in a prison designed to hold 1500.  Today, Walden says the population has doubled.








Editor’s Note:  Since the election season is upon us, we could not resist posting the following piece for the benefit of our office seeking readers (and their supporters)



The Confession


A parish priest was being honored at a dinner on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his arrival in that parish. A leading local politician, who was a member of the congregation, was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner, but he was delayed in traffic, so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.