God’s presence needs us

Small acts of kindness make a big impact

Sep 2, 2019 by

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While bad news spurs some people to action, it is just as likely to make us feel helpless. But if you think there is nothing you can do, you are wrong.

The Associated Press reported Aug. 21 that the Trump administration is seeking to end an agreement limiting how long migrant children seeking asylum can be kept in detention. A legal settlement sets it at 20 days, but the White House wants to extend it to limit what it calls the “catch and release” practice of discharging children and families from detention while asylum cases are processed.

Poor conditions and overcrowding sparked concerns when it was revealed that in some cases children cared for toddlers without adequate food, water and sanitation. One Border Patrol station near El Paso, Texas, has a capacity of 105 children, but when lawyers visited June 1, they found 676 children.

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” said Jesus (Matt. 25:40). That sentiment might double in the case of kids.

The Department of Homeland Security is not yet allowing people offended by this situation to barge in and substitute for the parents that children need. But Mennonite Central Committee Central States’ immigration detainee kits have proven a tangible way to reach out and lovingly touch someone upon their release from detention. The response from across the U.S. and Canada has been remarkable.

While a backpack of items like shoelaces, toothpaste and underwear makes a difference, even a simple note for someone in crisis has more impact than one might think.

When Pastor Gloria Villatoro’s husband and co-pastor was deported in 2015, she could have felt like God abandoned her. But she knows she walked with the Lord.

“I have felt [God’s presence] through the people who have surrounded us — our conference minister, the churches around us, the friends, the families, the call in the morning or the text in the middle of the night, ‘we’re praying for you,’ or the email, all these little things,” she said. “I have seen God through all this, and it’s so important when you know someone going through harshness.

“Sometimes we say, ‘Oh, I can’t help that person,’ but if you just make a phone call to say ‘I’m thinking about you and praying for you,’ that makes a huge difference. The moments I have felt alone or not so happy, when I receive a text saying, ‘I am praying for you,’ that lifts me up. I’ve seen God’s love through people.”

When life seems bleak, God’s not waiting to act. God is waiting for you to act.


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