by Greg Smith, CBF Field Personnel
From a transitional home, Ricardo* told me his story. Of being at the center of political power, of advising government ministers and overseeing the daily routines of powerful people. Of enjoying life with his family, watching his daughter grow, knowing security and accomplishment through hard work and sacrifice.
His story continued. Of being unjustly accused of corruption by the incoming president. Of being followed in the streets and threatened on the other end of the telephone line.
Of a government-orchestrated trial intent on his incarceration . . . or worse.
Of living in constant, maddening fear. Of fleeing to protect his family and himself. Of not seeing his daughter since the day he left over two years ago. Of the worry, tears and clinically diagnosed depression that resulted.
But thankfully it didn’t end there. His story continued as he spoke of the help offered him, the counseling he received, the asylum case he won, and the first glimmers of hope and new life he now saw.
The essence of all Scripture, Jesus said, was to do to others what we longed for them to do to us. The Golden Rule of Matthew 7:12. Ricardo longed for many things from others he could no longer do for himself: security, shelter, medical treatment, and even daily sustenance.
But beyond all this, what he deeply longed for and needed was the chance to tell his story. To plead his case before the government. To feel and know he was being heard, and in that knowledge to feel and know his life had value and meaning, that his story did matter — that, essentially, he mattered.
At LUCHA Ministries, Inc., we’re at the end of the migration route. We see folks who’ve arrived in their destination communities with the hope of settling down and beginning to build a new life. We offer immigration legal counsel, but also meet basic human needs as we help migrants settle into our community.
With gratitude and praise to God, we also recognize the life-saving ministry to intending immigrants and asylees along the US-Mexico border by churches, pastors and others supported by generous followers of Jesus (click here to read about Border Ministries through Fellowship Southwest).
But beyond these basic immediate needs also lies the longing to tell their stories and be heard by government officials, judges, anyone who can grant them hope and a future and a restored sense of life and self-worth.
Jesus calls us to do to others what we wish others would do for us. So let’s open our ears and listen to the stories of our immigrants friends and neighbors. Let’s pray for their chance to tell their stories for the opportunity to live and work in our country without fear or threat of violence. And let’s plead their cases before our elected officials to open all avenues for those at the border and those in our communities to tell their stories and be heard.
Let’s do for our immigrant friends and neighbors what we would want others to do for us.
* Name has been changed.