From the Border: Associate Patrice Harty

Monday, Nov. 12, 2018: I am very blessed to be spending two weeks in El Paso, TX at the Centro San Juan Diego, a refugee shelter that opened here several weeks ago. While I won’t have photos of our guests, out of respect for their privacy, their faces and their stories will be forever imprinted on my heart. Yesterday, Maryi, a very small 4 year old, jumped into my arms as she was leaving for the bus station with her mother for their long ride to Pompano Beach, FL where they will stay with a cousin while awaiting their asylum hearing. Her hug and sweet little kiss will be with me forever as I pray for her safety and the safety of all those traveling to be with family or friends who have sponsored them. Loving God, I pray that we will see Your face in each of our brothers and sisters whom we welcome this day and every day.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018: Today I noticed this picture of the Last Supper hanging on the wall above the blankets and quilts donated to our shelter to keep our refugees warm. What a perfect spot! Eucharist comes from the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving... gratitude.” The people here are certainly sacrament to one another as their love in action transcends borders, language, and culture. The barriers that may otherwise keep us apart melt away with warm hugs and sweet smiles. And so tonight we pray, “Lord make us your bread, then break us up and pass us around. Amen.”

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018: While walking this morning, I saw this white pumpkin amid a field of orange ones. I thought of how each of us is unique and yet the same. The white pumpkin was unexpected, just as were many of the stories I have heard these past two weeks from the guests at our refugee shelter. We are the same as our immigrant brothers and sisters in our desire to be valued, to be respected, and to be loved. As I leave, I am filled with gratitude that God has stretched my heart and allowed me to serve those seeking safety here, as they flee the violence and unimaginable poverty in their country. Tonight let us pray, “Lord, heal our blindness and help us to see You in each person we encounter. Help us to love one another as you have loved us. Amen.”