El Paso church ministers to refugees; suffers loss in mass shooting

Pastor Sosa with one of the new freezers

Pastor Sosa with one of the new freezers

An El Paso congregation continues to experience the joy of serving others in Jesus’ name, even as it suffers the grief of incalculable loss.

First, thanks to your generosity, Iglesia Bautista Tierra de Oro can maximize how it serves refugees and immigrants in Juarez, Mexico, and in El Paso, as well.

Pastor Rosalio Sosa recently requested assistance from Fellowship Southwest to purchase freezers for the congregation’s ministry to immigrants. Sosa and other members of the church have been delivering food to refugees in both El Paso and Juarez, supporting a total of 17 immigrant shelters.

Because of recent immigration policy changes, about 70 percent of immigrants are remaining in Mexico, rather than crossing into the United States. IB Tierra de Oro’s ministry had been feeding 60 to 70 refugees per week in El Paso and about 200 to 300 in Juarez. The numbers are tapering off now, because immigration has slowed due to extreme temperatures in the Mexico/Southwestern desert. But because he is familiar with the ebb and flow of immigration, Sosa knows the church’s ministry volunteers must be prepared for an influx of immigrants at any time. The freezers will allow them to purchase food in bulk more economically, and also to store food, so plenty is available when needed.

Fellowship Southwest provided funding for two new freezers. Jorge Zapata, associate coordinator of CBF Texas and director of Fellowship Southwest’s Immigrant Relief Ministry, helped Sosa purchase the freezers online, with prompt delivery.

The impact of these freezers will stretch all the way across the length of Mexico, to the state of Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border. Pastors from the United States, including Fellowship Southwest partner Juvenal González from San Diego/Tijuana, are committed to helping churches on Mexico’s southern border learn how to serve refugees who pass through their homeland. In the photo below, Sosa, Gonzalez and a Mexican pastor are pictured with a minivan and four pickup trucks loaded with food before heading to Chiapas.

Left to right: Juvenal Gonzalez, Rosalio Sosa, a pastor from Mexico

Left to right: Juvenal Gonzalez, Rosalio Sosa, a pastor from Mexico

Your contributions to FSW’s Immigrant Relief Fund allow us to support ministries like these in El Paso so they can more effectively serve people in great need. If you would like to donate, click here.

But tragically, this community of servants at IB Tierra de Oro felt the full impact of Saturday’s mass murder at the Walmart in El Paso. Several of the victims had deep connections with the church.

“The (church) family is in total devastation and needs our prayers and support,” Zapata said.

This church that pours out of themselves to serve their neighbors is now also grieving in the wake of this tragedy. Join us in keeping them in your prayers as they minister to each other and to their community. 

Jay Pritchard