Seeing the border crisis through Jorge’s eyes

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The immigration crisis’ victims have many faces, but some are harder to see than others, reports Jorge Zapata. God loves all of them equally, and Jorge spends every day trying to make sure they know it.

Jorge is associate coordinator of CBF Texas and director of Fellowship Southwest’s Immigrant Relief Ministry. Jorge was born in Mexico, immigrated to the United States as a child and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He’s spent almost his whole life along the border, except for two brief ministry stints away.

Through Jorge’s extensive relationships with pastors and congregations, Fellowship Southwest has supported ministries all along the crisis zone, from Brownsville, Texas/Matamoros, Mexico, to San Diego, Calif./Tijuana, Mexico. Jorge has led us to work with the churches that already are serving immigrants on their doorsteps. Mostly, we’ve helped them buy food, but we’ve also purchased supplies necessary to shelter people far from home, crammed in a church building. We even built showers for a tent city in Tijuana.

Besides serving the refugees, Jorge has enabled us to minister to the ministers. Day by day, he consults with, prays with and cries with pastors and other volunteers whose churches, funds, patience, health and energy have been stretched to the limit by the ongoing crisis.

Those are the expected and slightly unexpected victims of this crisis. Hundreds, probably thousands, of them know Jesus loves them because they’ve seen how Jorge loves them.

But Jorge also is expressing the love of Jesus to other victims, who sometimes get painted as villains.

“I am starting to minister to agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” he reported. “Many of them are on burnout. They say for every new agent U.S. Homeland Security hires, four agents resign their posts.”

Family members of Jorge and his wife, Rosa, work for the border patrol, and agents also worship with them at their church. They see the stress of agents who work long hours at their jobs and who also serve the refugees out of their own Christian compassion. They know from direct observation how the strain of the work puts extreme tension on marriages and how children suffer when their parents work long hours under stress.

And so their hearts ache when these victims of the immigration crisis receive harsh treatment from fellow citizens. The Zapatas know they, too, bear the burden of an international crisis.

“We are serving both sides of the border with the refugees in Mexico and here in the U.S., at the same time ministering to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection families,” Jorge said. “My desire is that we can see both sides of the coin. The children who are refugees need our help and support, and the children of the U.S. border patrol need our help and support as well.

“Keep praying for our border crisis and all who are affected and involved in ministry. God is doing great things on the border.”

To support the Fellowship Southwest Immigrant Relief Ministry, led by Jorge, click here.


Jay Pritchard