This week’s guest post is by Christ Church parishioner Melissa Crawford, member of the Mission Team.
Dear Christ Church,
I had the privilege to travel to El Paso, Texas/Juarez, Mexico last week with a small team from our church to participate in Abara’s Border Encounter. I was excited to learn more about immigration and the realities at the border, but a few days before the trip I felt like I had made a huge mistake- that my heart would not be able to handle the pain, suffering, complexity, and overwhelming needs I would see on this trip. By God’s grace, with prayers for the Lord’s help and mercy filling my heart, I managed to board the plane.
On the trip we were able to listen to and learn from those with first-hand experience of the immigration complexities- from educators, church leaders, shelter directors, volunteers, migrants, and even personnel from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.). Each of these conversations were very informative and helpful in understanding complicated laws, processes, and issues, but more importantly, they illustrated how each human is an image bearer of God; how each person is not a statistic or their job, but a reflection of the creativity, love, and goodness of the Lord.
In all honesty we did see an incredible amount of pain, suffering, complexity, and need. Daily, there are thousands of people who have traveled thousands of dangerous and unfathomable miles seeking to enter the US in search of safety, opportunity, and a better life for their children. Their stories and current realities are heart-breaking. But, there was also so much beauty and sacrifice. We were able to witness so many humble saints, using all of their meager resources, and working non-stop to love and care for those fleeing oppression, danger and extreme poverty. We heard stories of strangers providing food, shelter, protection and resources to help those in need.
I would encourage each of you to also go on a border encounter trip. It will not only help you better understand what is going on at the border and what is being done about it (and what can be done about it), but it will also stretch your faith and deepen your walk with God as you wrestle with all that you learn and experience and seek to understand what it means to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.