By Marc Wyatt
Kim and I are currently on an Off Field Assignment in Wilmington, North Carolina. Beginning this summer we will start a new assignment in the Pacific Southwest along the US/Mexican border. Our reassignment comes after 15 years of mission service in Canada. We miss our friends in Canada.
We recently received the following email excerpt from a friend up in Canada.
Dear Marc and Kim,
You probably have already heard this news but I wanted to tell you how excited we all are that Jackie and her children are all now Canadian citizens.
A group of us went with them on Friday morning to witness their swearing-in ceremony – Jackie was so happy, she was just glowing. Osny was just as excited although his acceptance as a Canadian citizen is still 2 years away.
The Citizenship Judge was wonderful, he gave high fives to all the children as they came up to accept their certificates but he hugged Davidson. We could not see their faces and we wondered why the judge hugged him and no one else. Jackie later told us that Davidson was crying.
It was only afterwards that I thought about just how important this moment was to Davidson; he was, at the young age of 14, the one who probably carried the greatest load as they fled deportation in the U.S. Yes, Jackie did something I could never imagine having to do as she drove her young family north, probably in a terrified state of mind, leaving everything behind, without her husband and not knowing exactly where she was going or how she was going to get into Canada. It was Davidson who had to step more fully into the role of eldest with his younger brothers and sister. He had to provide the emotional support for his mother in his father’s absence. You will remember Osny had been deported. Undoubtedly Davidson became translator and navigator as well. What a load on his young shoulders. That is why he was filled with tears of joy.
It was a wonderful, happy day as a few of us from church joined them for lunch after the ceremony. On Sunday, the congregation gave them a rousing applause as their citizenship was announced. We all celebrated after the service.
Thank you for everything you did for this family in their early days in Canada and throughout your time here. You are missed so very much!
Did you know that nearly 400,000 asylum seekers are currently being held in detention awaiting decision from US Immigration? That’s more people than most of the cities in North Carolina where we were raised.
Sometimes we are asked by Christians if those we have served were legally or illegally in country. I think the real question they are asking us is: How should they respond to immigrants in their own town? Good question!!
Jesus taught, ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matt. 25:35-36
Frankly, it isn’t up to us to determine a person’s legal status. We don’t know anything about internationals when we first meet them. We only gradually get to know their stories as we begin sharing ours with them often around our kitchen table. We are on mission and it really is only up to us whether or not we will smile and say hello, extend a helping hand and begin a new friendship. For us we choose to focus on the person not his status. After all Jesus didn’t let us in on how he came to be in need of a place to live or why he was in prison; only that when we love the one in need it is wonderfully and to our surprise, him.
Attending the CBF General Assembly June 23 – 27 in Atlanta? We invite you to attend the Internationals Mission Community workshop: A Christian Response to Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The workshop led by Jesús Romero, Director of ISAAC Project (Immigration Service and Aid Center) San Antonio, Texas will provide you with a Biblical basis for a Christian response to the issue of immigration reform, give a legislative update on the issue, and suggest a set of practical ways in which you and your Church may engage immigrants and immigrant communities in a Christ-honoring way.
Marc Wyatt, and his wife Kim, are CBF field personnel serving on the Internationals Team. To learn more about their ministry, click here.