I am immensely proud of our NT-NL Synod, ELCA representation at the #TexasImpact #CourtsandPorts event this week. We had representatives from many conferences and congregations. We engaged deep learning and challenging realities.
We crossed over today from Brownsville to Matamoros to meet with asylum seekers and hear their stories. To witness their challenges as they seek legal entry into our country and face increasingly greater barriers. To be clear this isn’t about the 11 million (estimate) undocumented people already in our nation. That is a particular issue to be engaged. But not today.
Today was about people, the majority from central America, who are seeking legal entry in a system that is continually moving the bar on what that entry means. People living in tents literally 20 meters from the toll booth that took my quarter so I could re-enter Texas.
The word Obispo means something in this culture. Whether Catholic, Lutheran, 7th day Adventist, or Pentecostal. So I was asked over and over to say “Dios le bedinga” over people from infants to elderly. To bless sick children with fevers and no pedialyte.
These are people living in tents or less, hoping their asylum claims will be processed. All watching over their shoulders that those who would exploit them might see us give them something of value. So we were careful to try not to make the targets.
This was a theological and moral moment for us together. The partisan and fearful rhetoric in our political culture twists and manipulates human lives. Today I laid hands on, con permiso, the heads of dozens of people seeking hope from oppression and violence, and I said “Dios le bendiga, mi hermano/a en Christo.”
Not much more to say tonight. I am a seasoned pastor and have seen much. But this reality will need much more time and reflection. For tonight I ask your prayers. For those who see no better option than tarps and tents. With no bathrooms or running water. For little children like mine with a fever. For justice and equity for those who seek legal entry and find only barriers and frustration. More to come. #NTNL #CourtsandPorts #InMissionTogether