Pastor David Vasquez, a champion for welcome and Senior Faith Advisor to the #ActOfLove campaign, boldly reminds us how the plight of Central American families relates to our faith tradition. 1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us to stand firm and always give ourselves fully to God’s work, never thinking it is in vain.
Pastor Vasquez shares, “The plight of children on the move across the world has become familiar to us because of the growing number of unaccompanied children coming to our borders in search of safety, protection, and hope. They represent a much larger group of people on the move across the world, close to half of them children.
Drawing on our faith and tradition, we can respond to this situation with depth and perspective. The book of Ruth in the Bible begins with the phrase, ‘In the time of the judges there was famine in the land.’ The time of the judges was a time of political crisis when ‘everyone did as they saw fit in their own eyes’ (Judges 21:25), which is then paired with the environmental crisis of a famine. Like Naomi in the book of Ruth who leaves home and heads into the uncertainty of a new land, the children seeking refuge at our border are caught in a much larger systemic issue not of their own making.”
Our response must be informed by a faith that always sides with the outsider, the outcast, and the foreigner, and driven by a commitment to justice and mercy exemplified in our faith traditions and lived out in the liturgies and lives of our congregations.”
One shining example of a faith-filled response is Glocal Ministry Team at St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Salisbury, North Carolina. This team of tireless advocates made a difference when a resolution was recently adopted in their county calling on the federal government to stop allowing undocumented immigrants, including children, to stay in the United States. The Glocal Team, led by their facilitator GeoRene Jones, quickly mobilized Lutheran leaders to advocate against the resolution, and for compassion and mercy.
Here are GeoRene’s faith-inspired words that will hopefully inspire you to action, “People of faith who seek what God is doing among us will, when armed with the truth in the form of fact-based information, be instantly drawn by the Spirit’s tether to find ways to help. The trick is matching the desire to serve with the opportunity, and that’s where LIRS has been a huge help for us. The resources on the website are enough to set energy in motion. In short: PRAY, GET THE FACTS, and LET THE SPIRIT ROLL!”
We are proud that over 1,777 individuals and families have contacted our office wanting to become foster parents for children in need of love and safety. A caring home makes a big difference in the lives of children who have endured treacherous journeys and have survived violence and persecution.
As Congress resumes their work, please pray for them. Our nation has proudly stood as an international model for welcoming refugees with care and compassion. To honor this legacy, please ask our legislature to proudly uphold protections for children fleeing violence and ensure sufficient funding or the Office of Refugee Resettlement to serve all vulnerable migrants under its care.
Please visit our Action Center to find out other ways you can help support refugees and vulnerable migrants.