By Elket Rodríguez
Shared understanding of weakness and vulnerability prompted a Houston church to support a ministry to refugees in Matamoros, Mexico—just across the border from Brownsville, Texas.
As Pastor Eleuterio González responded to the COVID-19 outbreak that forced him to close an immigrant shelter in Matamoros, Pastor David Deulofeu prepared to bless González’s ministry with winter provisions—warm clothes, blankets, towels and bed linens—as well as food and school supplies.
“We wanted to be a part of what the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was doing in the border,” Deulofeu said. “We thought: Winter is coming, and there’s still a crisis at the border that’s not being discussed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we need to remember and help those who are hurting.”
Deulofeu is pastor of Templo Bautista de South Houston, a church of 284 predominantly Hispanic members. They understand firsthand the uncertainty and loneliness immigrants suffer during their journey.
“We know what it feels like to not have what you need and cry out to God to use people who have what you need to help you,” said Deulofeu, a Cuba native who suffered persecution under the communist regime. “Now, we have the joy of helping those who cry out to God for help.”
Donations provided by the Templo Bautista fit the needs in Matamoros like a glove, González reported. The need for quarantining brought on by COVID caused the government to close González’s shelter and forced immigrants in his care to relocate to rooms and studio apartments around the city.
In addition to supporting the immigrant families who lived in the shelter, González and Iglesia Valle de Beraca, his congregation, feed and protect thousands of immigrants who live in patched tents on the banks of the Rio Grande. They also feed and support another group of immigrants who have settled deeper into the city.
“I’m thankful to God for the help,” González said of the aid provided by Deulofeu and Templo Bautista. “We have already delivered many of the donations. Some of the things will be delivered this weekend.”
Fellowship Southwest provides monthly support for González’s ministry, as well as immigrant relief along the entire United States-Mexico border. FSW is increasing its support for immigrants in Matamoros in order to help them weather the pandemic. To contribute to FSW’s border ministry, click here.
Elket Rodríguez is the immigrant and refugee advocacy and missions specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Fellowship Southwest.