CBF Field Personnel / offering for global missions

Blessed Birthday

By Sue Smith, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel

We arrived at the migrant shelter along the Mexican border with the U.S. just in time for the party. Miguel* was celebrating his fourth birthday that day, and we had stopped with the leadership team from the shelter at a supermarket to pick up a birthday cake and soft drinks—a real treat for that day. Miguel was beaming as everyone gathered around to sing “Happy Birthday” and to wish him well. There were no presents, balloons or banners. But today, cake and Coca-Cola were enough. A gathering of his make-shift migrant shelter family and friends all shared hugs and best wishes as his mom bustled around serving birthday cake to everyone.

Miguel helps his mom cut his birthday cake. He is turning four-years-old at his party at a shelter along the border.

Marcos,* Miguel’s dad stood to the side, with his nine-month-old son riding on his shoulder. Marcos couldn’t stop the flow of tears. “We had nothing— have nothing—for Miguel’s birthday,” he said. “It was going to be just another day, but look what’s happened, how happy he is. We’re so blessed!”

The family had fled their home in Honduras nearly a year ago, seeking safety and security. They have been waiting in Mexico for their opportunity to enter the U.S. Marcos’ two teenage sons, Miguel’s half-brothers, are already in the U.S. seeking refuge. One of them was kidnapped and tortured before leaving Honduras, leaving his face severely disfigured. It bothers Marcos that he was unable to keep his older sons safe in Honduras, and he prays that Miguel and his younger brother will never have to know this type of violence. He hopes these little boys will know only birthday parties, the love of parents and the kindness of strangers who come together to serve God by feeding and housing migrants along their journey. That will make all the hardships they’ve endured worth it.

“We left Honduras with around $180 U.S. dollars. By the time we crossed into Mexico, we had exactly eight dollars left. That was it.”  Marcos recalls seeking shelter in churches and sleeping on hard wooden pews. The couple’s second son was born along the journey, somewhere in Mexico. As the tears leak from Marcos’ eyes, he can’t stop praising God for taking care of his family throughout the journey, for bringing “good people” into their lives at crucial points when hope was easily lost. They take things just one day at a time.

Now, Marcos has hope. The residents have just received word that the U.S. will soon begin allowing refuge-seekers, who have been waiting patiently to be processed, to enter the U.S. “We have a number, so it won’t be long now!”

Today, Miguel is beaming as he celebrates his birthday. His mom serves birthday cake to everyone while his dad and baby brother stand off to the side, and there’s plenty of Coca-Cola as well. God is good.

Sue and husband, Greg, Smith serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in Fredericksburg, Va. To learn more about their ministry, visit cbf.net/smith. 

The Offering for Global Missions provides for the long-term presence of field personnel like Brooke and Mike. The theme for this year’s Offering is “A Place at the Table for Everyone.” In Luke 14, Jesus teaches us to invite those least expecting and, in society’s view, perhaps least deserving of invitation. CBF field personnel serving in countries around the world invite and are invited to the table as they cultivate beloved community, bear witness to Jesus Christ, and seek transformational development. 

Learn more about the Offering for Global Missions and access free digital and print resources at www.cbf.net/ogm.

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