by Natalie Webb, Pastor
This morning Mama Linda, 15 year old Jewels, and 2 year old Cara (names changed to protect their privacy) -- the other half of our stranded Angolan family -- were released from an immigration detention center outside of San Antonio. Thanks be to God!
I had the unique and unexpected joy of being the bearer of this good news to our guests this morning. I thought they already knew (Moon had texted them with the help of google translate, but for some reason, it didn’t communicate), so I went into the Retreat Building asking if Mom and siblings had arrived, yet. The confusion on their faces was clear, so I did my best to communicate: “Tu Mama! (insert waving motion here to indicate “is coming”) Aqui! Hoy! She’s on her way!” The sweet Dad looked like he might pass out from happiness, and the kids all started jumping up and down. They grabbed my hands into the circle and we all jumped and danced and laughed and hugged and cried with joy. It was an incredible moment after a long, hard couple of weeks.
About an hour later, Mama & siblings arrived, and I got to stand back and watch this family, who had been split in half for over a month, embrace again for the first time. The long and tearful mama and daddy hugs were a perfect picture of God’s love and fierce determination to care for God’s children.
This family was forced to flee their home country (after multiple members of the family, including children, were threatened and tortured) and have spent the past 2 years walking through the jungles of Central America and through Mexico, trying to find safety and rest. Because of so many of your prayers, presence, and donations, they are well fed, clothed, and cared for. Because of the persistent work of compassionate lawyers working pro-bono, they are back together. Because of the dedication and incredible connections of the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, they have a place to go with resources and more permanent housing. Because of the fierce care and bravery of volunteers from Covenant and the San Antonio Sanctuary Network, they are surrounded by support and nourishment for body and soul. Because of the care and love Christ shows us, Covenant Baptist Church of Garden Ridge was called and able to extend Christlike care and love to these dear ones.
It takes a village. It makes a difference. THANK YOU all for the multitude of ways you reached out, showed up, and supported this family. They are just one of many families in need of this kind of support, and I cannot emphasize enough what a blessing and honor and learning experience hosting them has been. This is our sixth immigrant family to house and send on their way, and we’ve seen the face and image of God in each one of them.
If you or your church are in San Antonio and are interested in ways you can help house or partner with us in caring for other asylum-seekers in the future, please send me a message! If you’re not local, but you want to help, you can give to Covenant’s “Migrant Assistance Fund” by going to www.covenantbaptist.org , clicking “Giving”, then choosing “Migrant Assistance Fund” from the drop-down box. Every little bit helps. We hope you’ll all join us in continued prayer for this family, and for others like them.