MINISTRY TO MIGRANTS ON THE BORDER
Again, we are faced with an ‘address to our nation’ presenting the migrants without any dignity, respect or compassion and depicting them close to being a ‘national threat’ even while many political figures and people along the border have presented a starkly different picture. A few weeks ago Sr. Natalia Mejia and I experienced just such a different picture.
We were at the migrant shelter near our house doing art with the children – and even some of the moms enjoyed an ‘adult art paper’ with a phrase from a psalm on it in English/Spanish. In fact, even a few of the teenage boys looked at the things we brought and also took that one! Then a young father brought his shy toddler son to the table in the yard where we were working. The boy hid close between his father’s legs as the father sat next to me and spoke the entire time ever so gently in his son’s ear and invited him to choose one of the animal masks. The son finally let his dad sit him on his lap and watched his dad color with the crayons that the boy picked out. After the dad finished coloring and put the mask on himself first, then the child let him put it on him with a big smile…such gentleness, patience, compassion, tenderness this father expressed to his young son – after walking so far for so long, going through many hurdles to enter our country, get his ankle bracelet, court date, etc. and now getting ready to leave that night for the east to be with family – here he sat – a loving father embracing his son assuring him ‘all was well’…I was deeply moved.
Last week, Sr. Rosa Mejia, RJM (far right) joined us, ministering each day to the parents, listening to their stories, being with them in their tears, praying with them, inviting them to know God’s presence. One mom told Rosa that she and her daughter had fled Honduras as her husband wanted to kill them. She later met a man who loves her and her 4 year old child. They want to be a family. As they sought asylum in Tijuana the police arrested him as ‘a single male’ right in front of the woman and child who kept crying out for him ‘daddy’. When the child saw her mother’s tears she told her mom that she was sure they would see her ‘daddy’ again because Jesus wanted them to be together…a child’s deep simple faith… While Rosa prayed with the adults in the dorm today a seven year old lying on a cot suddenly added his prayer of thanks for God bringing them safely to this shelter.
Sr. Natalia Mejia, RJM (seated), Sr. Norene Costa, RJM (standing center), and I (standing left) were doing Valentine art with the children when one of the 9 year old boys put the long string through the big foam hearts he just decorated, got up from the table and put one around each of our necks with a huge smile, and went off to do the same to his mother. What can I say…the ‘stranger’ welcomed us strangers into his/their lives very trustingly. Our faith sharing tonight at night prayer was filled with a humble stance of deep gratitude for the many gifts of God’s presence…
Thank you for your prayers and support of this migrant ministry.
– Sr. Rosie Nicholson, RJM