“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
– A poem by Warsan Shire entitled “Home”
I wonder, what would it take for you to pack up your belongings and flee your home for another country? How much violence are you willing to endure? How much hardship and poverty would it take before you felt as though you needed to pack up and risk crossing borders in hope for a safe, better life for your family? How much hope would need to be lost in your government that nothing would ever change? People don’t “leave home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
Chances are, we’ve never really thought about it. It doesn’t seem like a reality for most of us living in the United States. But according to the U.N. Refugee Agency (in 2016), it is a reality for 65.6 million people who have been displaced from their homes. Of that 65.6 million 25.4 million have left their homes for other countries as refugees.
*“no one would leave home unless home chased you, fire under feet,
hot blood in your belly.”
The recent news reports that close to 10,000 people have just crossed the Mexico/Guatemala border and are heading north to the United States. Husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, children of God seeking a safer place for themselves and their families. Home is no longer a viable means for survival. Home is no longer a place where these people believe they can live safely, so they would rather risk everything in making the perilous trip north. They are risking, hunger, thirst, physical and sexual abuse, being taken advantage of, and possible denial at the U.S. border; all for the sake of survival.
*“who would choose to spend days and nights in the stomach of a truck unless
the miles traveled meant something more than journey.”
What should be our faithful response to these asylum seekers as followers of Jesus? What should be our faithful response as people called to “seek first the Kingdom of God?” Seeing this and being so far away can make us feel overwhelmed or disconnected. But don’t turn your head.
Can we, for a few moments, remove our political hats, our conspiracy theories as to why they are coming or who might or might not be paying them and consider what Jesus would want for our response to this humanitarian crisis? How can we live in the Kingdom of God first and now?
- Stop right now and pray – pray for every single one of these people as they travel. Pray for their safety. Pray that they have food, water, clothes, and shelter. Pray that nobody will do them harm. Pray for your brothers and sisters who are seeking safety.
- Pray for Mexico – They are caught in the middle of this movement. 7,000 people are requesting or forcibly moving through their country in hopes of making it to the U.S. Mexico border. Pray for the Mexican President, government, border patrol, and Mexico Federal Police. Pray that they have wisdom and treat these people with love and compassion.
- Pray that as these people reach the U.S./Mexico border that they will choose to go through the legal means of entry into the United States. Undocumented border crossing is not what is best.
- Pray for our Customs and Border Patrol that they will be able to discern truth. Pray that they will have compassion, grace, and mercy, while still upholding our immigration/refugee/asylum laws. They are in a very hard position.
- Pray for our President and government that they would administer just application of the laws, again through compassion, grace, and mercy. Pray that children will not be separated from their parents.
- Pray that no one uses these asylum seekers for their selfish political gain but would seek the welfare and safety of these people. These are vulnerable people, being driven from their home. Pray that anyone they come in contact with will speak truth to them about their situation and reality of reaching the border. Anyone attempting to use these people for their political issue, gain power, abuse, or take advantage of them should be warned…
“One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich both come to poverty.” – Provers 22:16
“Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will exact life for life.” – Proverbs 22:22-23
7. Give help where you can. I visited the border the last time an immigrant caravan came to the Tijuana/San Diego border. There was a big need for blankets, clothes, tarps, food, filtered water. We can let you know how to give, just contact us.
8. Speak truth to the situation. Do your homework to understand what is happening and do not settle for talking heads on the news. Look for people on the ground.
9. If some or many do make it into the United States, pray that they will find safety, good work to grow and contribute to society where they live. Pray for those that are turned away, that they will not lose hope, but find safety and peace where they live.
* “the dirty looks in the street
softer than a limb torn off,
the indignity of everyday life
more tender than fourteen men who look like your father, between
your legs, insults easier to swallow than rubble, than your child’s body
in pieces – for now, forget about pride your survival is more important.
i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the
gun and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore unless home tells you to
leave what you could not behind, even if it was human.
no one leaves home until home
is a damp voice in your ear saying leave, run now, i don’t know what i’ve
*excerpts from the poem “Home” by Warsan Shire (http://www.care.org/sites/default/files/lesson_1_-_home-poem-by-warsan-shire.pdf)
Grace and Peace to you all,