Listening with Open Hearts: Reflections from a Border Trip (Part 3)

 In Telling a Better Story

The last week of June, Women of Welcome (WoW), a community dedicated to diving into the whole of scripture to understand God’s heart for the immigrant and refugee, led a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, hosted by Abara, with a group of 15 women. During the trip, these women heard testimonies and stories from people who live and work on the border serving immigrants and refugees. We asked a few staff members and participants to share a little about their experience. This is the final part of the reflection series. 

Jenny Groen’s Reflection

I recently visited the southern border of the U.S. with a group through Women of Welcome. We were led on an immersive and educational visit by Abara Frontiers.  We spent time in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. I went on this trip because I wanted to better understand what was really happening at the border, but also I wanted to know how the church could show up in this situation. I have often found myself frustrated with the church’s response or lack of response to people seeking refuge through migration. I went into this trip wondering, “Where is the church?”. I came out of it with a very different answer than I had anticipated.

Where is the church?

The church is in fathers fleeing violence, leaving home and country, sacrificing self to save family.

The church is in mothers walking over impossible terrain, enduring unimaginable hardship, carrying their babies, for months on end to reach safety.

The church is in countries where people pass through, offering refuge to the weary.

The church is in Mexico, at the border, opening its doors to welcome, love, and care for the displaced.

The church is in women who have lost everything, but struggle to survive one more day and give glory to God for each breathe.

The church is in all the places we forget to look. This is where we see the true gospel being lived out, where the unconditional self-sacrificial love of Christ is lived and not just talked about. Where faith is clung to because it’s all there is some days. Where true peace & joy, beauty & hope radiate from.

The church is in people. In refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. In shelter workers. And if you choose to get close, you will see it. The church, the radiant bride of Christ, whose light refuses to stop shining no matter how much darkness surrounds it.

And once you see it, you will know that the church is not lost, it’s just not in the places you have been looking.

Jenny is the Willmar Area Coordinator for Arrive Ministries. She lives in Willmar, Minnesota with her family. This reflection was originally posted on the Arrive Ministries website, which you can view here

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