Recent Rio Grande Valley Visit

no one leaves home unless

home is the mouth of a shark

you only run for the border

when you see the whole city running as well

– from “Home” by Warsan Shire


About a week ago, I was privileged to join a group of almost 100 religious leaders from across Texas in the Rio Grande valley. Our trip was led by the interfaith advocacy group, Texas Impact (of which the ELCA synods of Texas are members…as are many other denominational bodies and faith traditions). We learned about life in the Valley on the US side of the border. We learned about the asylum process for those seeking to come across the border through Mexico. And we crossed the bridge from Brownsville into Matamoros to bear witness, ourselves.

Just across the Gateway Bridge (an easy passage for someone like me who holds a blue booklet…a U.S. passport…which I did nothing to earn), I met a young mother, with a fourteen-month-old on her shoulder – naked but for a diaper, some rubber shoes, and a small beaded bracelet…a tiny token of love in what felt like a loveless place. She came from Honduras and has been camping for a month with no running water or air conditioning and will have to survive under the watch of the cartel for a month more before she can even come to our immigration courts to ask if she might be considered to enter into the hope that is life in the United States. At each hurdle she passes…she will have to come and go…into and out of the U.S…which will make securing any kind of legal counsel almost impossible.

How we respond to migration has been a question nearly all of recorded human history. The Bible speaks to it extensively. Yet, we still have not come to any simple answers. Those of us who visited the border are being asked by Texas Impact to now go with them to Washington, D.C. to share with legislators what we have seen and learned.

I will be in our nation’s capital on September 24 & 25. In addition to bringing my own reflections and witness, I would also be honored to bring yours. There will be paper and some options for form letters for your reference in the Narthex on September 15 & 22. Whatever you feel called to share or ask, I will bring with me.

It is complex to engage in matters of public policy from the perspective of our faith. We will not always agree. And yet, Jesus will keep calling us to love our neighbor…not because it is simple…but because we are all beloved children of God. May we be bold to answer that call.

– Pastor Carolyn