|Source: Baptist Standard|
As migrants continue to congregate at the U.S. Mexico border, one congregation is seeking to be a witness of light and positive presence at the border.
Bluegrove Baptist Church of Henrietta, Texas, along with the Wichita Archer Clay Baptist Association have been active for just over a year through their mission trip opportunities to minister to the needs of the people.
While at the border, the church engages in assisting migrants with visa paperwork, distributed tracks, distributed food, and provides Spanish language bibles. Robert Blackmon, pastor of Bluegrove Baptist Church, recalled seeing a young couple in their 20s with a baby on their lap receiving a diaper change.
“It was something we all do normally as a part of being parents,” said Blackmon, himself a father of two toddlers. “They were there, and then they were gone.”
The couple was among the hundreds receiving assistance through the church’s partnership at the border.
“We knew it would be a lot more helpful if we knew how to talk to people. There were missed opportunities because we couldn’t communicate clearly,” said Blackmon.
Recognizing the need at the border the group began organizing monthly relief trips to assist families.
Shon Young, an associate pastor of missions and youth at City Church Del Rio, a local congregation that has partnered with Bluegrove, said, “Just because immigration isn’t in the news doesn’t mean the work isn’t happening,” he said. “These folks hopped in and filled needs while meeting people where they’re at. A lot of English-speaking churches wonder how they can get involved and there’s always a way.”
An estimated 150 individuals come through the Del Rio processing center each day. Young remarked the individuals are often tired, hungry, and restless. Last year, Young helped organize meals to feed 22,000 people through Del Rio. U.S. Border Patrol after a call for assistance went out to local congregations.
There are also heartbreaking situations.
“Recently a mother and daughter were trying to cross the river and the daughter, 7 years old, drowned,” Young said. “I’ve seen that over the years, and you never forget it. We’re there to show them the hope we have in Christ at that time of loss.”
The presence of “church people” helps lower anxiety, he added. Help is secured and a witness given.
The interaction is blessed in both ways, Blackmon testified.
“You can tell when people show up that they’re not sure what kind of place they’re coming to, as they’ve been to all kinds of facilities,” he said. “After a while, they relax and start to smile. When our people see that, it becomes infectious.”
Source: Baptist Standard