A Honduran woman sat with her young son outside the Holding Institute, a community center in Laredo that cares for migrants, as the sun began to set. It was a special moment of serenity in a place that also offers migrants some stability and safety.
The institute was founded in 1860 as a school for Mexican-American children who weren’t allowed in Texas public schools. It takes up an entire block in downtown Laredo and is filled with families just like hers.
The mother and her son were in a section where kids can play basketball or enjoy the playground and swing set.
“My dream has always been to find the best life for my son because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to him,” she said.
The woman didn’t want her name used in fear that speaking out would hurt her claim for asylum. She said after she crossed the Rio Grande with her son they turned themselves over to Border Patrol agents and were sent to a processing center, then transferred to another facility.
After being fully processed, she and her son were sent to a local church in Laredo, but the church was full, so they ended up at the Holding Institute instead.
The reality of global migration and the various push factors are an ever-present reality for us. Our ministry and mission context are stewarding presence and relationships along 460 miles of the U.S. / Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that over the first quarter of 2019, a total of 98,876 apprehensions of family units, unaccompanied children, and single adults have occurred as reported by the Del Rio, Laredo, and Rio Grande sectors.
As a conference, the definition of the humanitarian response mandate and systems of support needed grows sharper each week as the flow of migration increases.
Until May 12th, 2019, all the names placed on the stained glass windows were of men. Not one woman was named although women have worked side by side with their male counterparts since the establishment of La Trinidad UMC and the effort of the Methodist ministry through South Texas.
Rev. Dr. Roberto L. Gómez, the former pastor of La Trinidad UMC, noticed the omission and had a vision of having a stained glass window dedicated in honor of a worthy woman who made significant contributions to the Hispanic/Latino Methodist ministry.
Raquel’s name came to mind.
District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Robert Lopez details his volunteer time at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen.
First United Methodist Church: Del Rio and Principe de Paz UMC have joined forces along with 13 other local churches to reach out and assist those in need.
Shipments of nonperishable food and health essential kits have arrived from UMCOR and will be distributed very soon to refugees that will be released and who will be traveling on buses from our area.
The churches have received two shipments thus far of this humanitarian aid. They are expecting a larger third shipment which will be to be delivered to Principe De Paz United Methodist Church on Monday, April 15.
I swore I wouldn’t be ‘that parent’, but I didn’t make it past October of her kindergarten year. Of course, it was an early dismissal day, I had made adjustments to my work schedule, and then ministry happened…
Inspired by a guest lecture on ‘Border Stories’ by Bishop Robert Schnase at Texas State last fall, a group of students from the United Campus Ministry at Texas State spent their spring break in Eagle Pass with Mission: Border Hope.