COVID-19 / Fellowship Southwest / immigration

COVID-19 afflicts Fellowship Southwest’s immigrant network

By Fellowship Southwest

The COVID-19 pandemic has spiked along the U.S. Mexico border, and now it has come calling on Fellowship Southwest’s ministry to refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

FSW’s Immigrant Relief Ministry has been built upon a network of pastors who feed and protect immigrants from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, explained Marv Knox, coordinator of Fellowship Southwest. Due to the nature of the ministry—serving refugees in burgeoning tent camps and crowded shelters—social distancing is almost impossible. 

The pastors’ compassion to serve people Jesus called “the least” compels them to minister closely and personally, Knox said. Although they wear masks and seek to practice careful hygiene, their exposure is persistent. 

Rosalío Sosa, coordinator of 14 immigrant shelters in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, contracted COVID-19.

The second weekend of August, pastors Lorenzo Ortiz and Rosalío Sosa quarantined themselves pending COVID-19 test results. Ortiz operates three shelters—in Nuevo Laredo and Saltillo, Mexico. Sosa coordinates 14 shelters in the state of Chihuahua, mostly in Juarez.

One member of Ortiz’s family, who has been active in the immigrant ministry, tested positive that weekend. Although Ortiz and his spouse, Oralia, were asymptomatic at the time, their close exposure led them to test and quarantine. Aug. 12, Ortiz found out his test result was positive.

“We feel the peace of God, and we feel good,” Ortiz reported in a post on a social media app shared by members of the FSW border network. “This sickness should not last long, and we will keep you informed. Thank you for your prayers.”

Sosa began demonstrating symptoms of the disease, including congestion and a persistent cough, during a trip to the Rio Grande Valley. On Aug. 12, his test results also came back positive for COVID-19.

“I will stay home and take care,” he promised. 

Sosa’s health is vital to FSW’s immigrant ministry on the border. Aug. 6, he participated with a delegation of FSW pastors who met with a representative of the Instituto Tamaulipeco para Migrantes (Tamaulipas Institute for Migrants) in Matamoros. 

In addition to Sosa, coordinator of Red de Albergues para Migrantes (Migrant Shelter Network), other FSW representatives were Jorge Zapata, associate coordinator of CBF Texas and director of FSW’s Immigrant Relief Ministry, and Elket Rodríguez, immigrant and refugees advocacy and missions specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and FSW. Zapata later tested negative for the disease; Rodríguez has been tested and is quarantining as he awaits results.

Please pray for these servants of God, who have given so much time and effort of their lives to minister to many vulnerable people, Knox asked. Now more than ever, they need intercessory prayers. Ask God to protect their families and the people they serve, as well as to provide healing and a quick recovery. 

If you would like to support Fellowship Southwest’s Immigrant Relief Ministry, click here.

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