Den gracias al Señor, porque él es bueno;
su gran amor perdura para siempre. Salmo 118:1 (NVI)
The most meaningful part of our ministry is hearing the stories of the people we work with and seeing how God is at work in their lives. They deal with many struggles and challenges, and at times things seem quite hopeless in their lives. But often, their faith is what keeps them going. As you read these personal accounts, please say a prayer for each one of them.
Eduardo* has spent most of 2014 behind bars, separated from family and friends. Recently he shared how he’s grown closer to God during this time. “[God] has given me a spirit of forgiveness, not bitterness. I know that’s got to be God — I couldn’t have done that alone.” Eduardo believes his incarceration has been a gift, a chance to grow in his faith and to become a better person. He has also been able to study and recently passed the GED exam. “I’m going to be a better person when this is behind me,” he says. “I have so much to be thankful for.”
For Ahida, this is a very special Thanksgiving, because she has her whole family with her in the US. Her two daughters recently arrived from El Salvador and one has made her a grandmother; baby Ashley was born in September. Read their story HERE, Two Young Immigrants Fleeing Violence Find Refuge — and Ministry — in U.S.
Marisol*, one of our DREAMers, will return to her studies at Bluefield College come January. Thanks to efforts by the school and to a generous donor, her outstanding balance has been paid and she can continue her education. “I am so blessed, so very blessed,” she says. “This is an answer to prayer, like a miracle.” She is one of three DREAMers from LUCHA who are studying at Bluefield College, a Baptist college in Southwest Virginia.
“Every time Francisco* gets in the car to go to work, I’m afraid he won’t come back home,” says Rocio, a young wife and mother who has recently applied for US citizenship. “What if he gets stopped, detained, has an accident? What will happen to us, to our family, if he’s deported?” Such is the life many of our families face every day. We are thankful for the executive action taken by President Obama that will protect parents of US-born children from deportation.
LUCHA is blessed to have a committed staff of ministers — people who probably don’t consider themselves either staff or ministers. For the most part they are average folks, volunteers who care for children, teach English, fill out paperwork, give people rides, and pack up food at the food bank. They give hugs and offer encouragement, pray with and for our families, and help provide access to medical and dental care. And most importantly, they take the time to get to know our immigrant families and to listen to their stories. They serve in programs like Bridges of Hope, Study Buddies and Bible Buddies, Project ¡Adelante!, Cinco Panes, and other initiatives.
And then there are folks like you, who may not be able to volunteer with us but who support LUCHA through your gifts, prayers, knowledge and expertise, and your words of encouragement. We are so very blessed. Thank you!! God is truly good, and his faithful love is evident in the lives of everyone who is serving and being served. Happy Thanksgiving!
*names have been changed