By Annette Pacheco
This is the last of four blog posts from participants in the recent Immigration Immersion Experience hosted by American Baptist Women’s Ministries. See bottom of post for information about another upcoming opportunity.
First of all I would like to thank God and AB Women’s Ministries for giving me the opportunity to be part of this unforgettable experience.
In the past, I’ve had some friends from Central America who told me remarkable stories about how they made it to the States. One thing I learned from listening from them that there would be a lot of walking, and I heard about the San Diego Border Patrol, Border Angels, Casa Del Migrante (Migrant House), Casa de Debora (Deborah’s House), and Dreamer’s Moms. I was glad that on the Immigration Immersion Experience, we had the opportunity to visit all of them.
At the Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, Mexico, we had the opportunity to interview three men. I just listened their shocking stories of being deported. A 23-year-old man touched my heart greatly by telling me how and why he got deported. He was so positive about going back for a second try, but he refused to go alone. This time he plans to bring his wife. His goal is to be able to get a Visa for his twin babies. With tears falling down, I said to him, “May God be with both of you in every step you make,” and I prayed for them, wishing them the best.
What impacted me the most was the 20-foot high fence that is referred to as “The Wall.” We joined a “water drop,” a practice where volunteers journey into the desert to leave water bottles for migrants crossing the border. I hid bottles of water in the desert along the border. I also had to stop for awhile to pray for everyone who would now be able to drink some water on the very difficult road. Water could save lives. The lack of water is the primary cause of death for people who have died while crossing these desert regions. Every year, would-be immigrants steal across the U.S.-Mexican border and over the years, thousands have died from exposure to either extreme heat or cold, or wounds received in the snake-infected desert. It is hard to learn that most of the people who have left their countries and have been separated from their parents, many a;sp separated from their spouses and children, suffer from hunger, injury, and the risk of death to attain their goal of a better life for their families (economically and/or for safety). They left behind fear, anxiety, depression, hunger, domestic violence, poverty, the reigns of drug lords, and more; they have not given up their hopes and dreams.
Everyone who participated in this experience, I’m positive, are not the same…including myself. When you see God’s hand in each of many volunteers working together, from different entities, just to help the people in need, wow! This is a good reason to pray every day for these people, including missionaries from all over the world.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is hosting a second Immigration Immersion Experience in August/September, 2016. Click here for more information.