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April 1, 2019

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In good hands at Annunciation House.
Amidst the growing number of asylum seekers arriving to border cities in Texas, shelters like Annunciation House never turn away families seeking refuge - via the Washington Post.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. - Psalm 46:5-7
The work of Mr. Garcia mentioned in the article is not new. Good people like him and many others have been welcoming travelers for decades. Now, with the increase of asylum seekers and those seeking a better life, their work is being highlighted by the media. And while the attention is good and fine, my worry is - as with many other crises du jour - will Americans forget about the families in need of our love and acceptance in the new few months? Will this crisis fade away to the background as a new election cycle begins? Oh friends, I hope not.

Last month I visited border towns in Texas with a church group, and while I had mixed feelings about having to witness the situation rather than simply believing what people have been saying for months now, what I did not have mixed feelings about is the need for Christians to respond to the crisis. There is more in the scriptures about accepting the sojourner and the immigrant than there is about caging them and separating them from their children.

South Texas felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone. I’m from the border towns. I grew up there. It’s where my family settled when they crossed. My family lives there. But seeing it through this lens took me to the deepest pit of despair. And yet I have - we (people with legal citizen status) have - the privilege of continuing to live our lives unafraid of a man in a green Border Patrol uniform, a check-in appointment with ICE, a routine traffic stop, or countless other everyday tasks that remind us of our status in this country.

When people come seeking some or any form of shelter and refuge, Brother Garcia never turns away a single person from staying at Annunciation House. This was the common response from nuns in respite centers and volunteers at sanctuary houses. In the midst of their worlds being turned upside down, new arrivals to this country find glimpses of hope in these places.

This is the holy work that God is calling Christians to. Our liberation and salvation is tied to how we treat and respond to the mother crossing with her 3-month-old baby. And while it is easy to say “it’s so much I don’t know where to start!” I say to you siblings in Christ…
You can start by donating to these organizations.

Annunciation House has purchased a warehouse to take in more people, and they are always in need of supplies.

Sister Zita at Las Posadas is raising money to building a bigger center. Every year for her birthday money goes get put away for this center. Her birthday was two weeks ago, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a belated birthday card.

Sister Norma and this respite center receive anywhere between 200 and 700 people a day and appreciate any and all help, like cleaning bathrooms, washing linens and clothes, and making snack bags for the next part of a person’s journey.
God of no borders, we confess that we don’t often respond to the needs of your people out of fear and maybe because we don’t know where to start. So we will begin with naming this to you. Give us the wisdom to know what to do next. And as cities rattle and as the empire builds divisive walls, we pray for the power of divine love to manifest in our actions and words. May it be so.
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