UMC in Mexico Supports Ukrainian Refugees

Source: United Methodist News

The United Methodist Church in Mexico is responding to the Ukrainian refugee crisis by seeking to provide support for those seeking asylum in the city of Tijuana, at the northwestern border of Mexico.

According to the United Nations, hostilities between Ukraine and Russia have led to the displacement of more than 10 million Ukrainians.

In partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, local churches are providing food and other aid to many of the refugee applicants.

According to Bishop Felipe Ruiz, Episcopal Leader of the Methodist Church of Mexico’s Northwest Annual Conference (CANO), approximately 800 meals a day are being provided.

The local Methodist church building has been transformed into a meal preparation site that is also housing approximately 25 people, mostly pregnant women and children, when a nearby shelter became overwhelmed.

Bishop Ruiz said, “In the ‘John 6:35 dining room,’ around 800 meals a day (400 breakfasts and 400 dinners) are being prepared for distribution, along with other food provided by other churches and organizations, in one of the city’s shelters where 1,800 people are currently being housed.”

Additionally, the building is being used temporarily to provide logistical support to the group of volunteers who are serving the refugees. Doctors, nurses, drivers and others can rest and get cleaned up after working for long periods.

“Until now, we have been working with CANO’s own resources, but recently, we have received the approval of an economic aid from UMCOR, in the amount of $10,000, which will serve to increase our service capacity, taking into account (the) constant increase in families arriving,” Ruiz explained.

The focus of volunteer groups have been on providing medical, spiritual and emotional care.

“The majority arrive very sad for everything they have gone through, but here they feel peace,” Ruiz said. “However, the language barrier makes it very difficult for us to communicate. I think that on average, out of every hundred people who arrive, hardly one speaks English, and when our people, who only speak Spanish, want to interact with them, we have to do a double translation to be able to communicate.

“However, we try to pray with them and have put up a banner in Ukrainian that says, ‘Let us pray for you,’ so that we can offer them spiritual support in the face of so many difficulties they have suffered,” he said.

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Source: United Methodist News