Mexico border churches team up with Texas district to serve migrants
A Work & Witness team from the West Texas District served at the southern border in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico. The team consisted of 14 people representing five district churches.
The team worked during the mornings with local congregations at the district convention and camp. They helped prepare the land for the construction of a dining room, and they landscaped and built the reinforcement structures for the building.
Over the past year, several churches in Tapachula have been supporting immigrants who have entered Mexico and are waiting for their documentation, either to stay and work in Mexico or to continue their travel to the U.S. or Canada.
The West Texas team joined the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries medical clinics that have been serving these migrants by playing with the patients’ children. The medical clinics helped many people who otherwise would not have access to medical and dental care. In addition, members of the local church offered haircuts.
“It was interesting to hear their travel stories from their countries of origin (Haiti, countries in Africa, Cuba, etc.) to South America and then through Central America to reach Mexico,” said Shelley Webb, a member of the Work & Witness team.
Team leader Steve Pettit preached in two services on the topic of modern slavery. This issue has not been widely discussed in southern Mexico, so leaders were interested in knowing ways to help this global crisis.
In addition, Pettit spoke with leaders of Mexican churches working with Haitian immigrants about the culture and people of Haiti. Pettit served as a missionary in Haiti for two years.
“Pastor Socorro has opened the church (for Haitian immigrants) every Sunday for a place of worship,” Pettit said. “They organize a service at 8 a.m. followed by a breakfast that their people pay [for]. It also transports about 70 of them every week, and does it on its own and all this before its own service at 10 o'clock.”
Shelley Webb said some of the churches in the West Texas District plan to return to the Southern Border District to continue building the relationships that have been initiated through this first team.
The Texas team included four youth, including Bailey, 17.
“It was only a week,” Bailey said. “A week of work in the camp. A week of playing with the children. One week to try all the new and genuine Mexican food. But in that week, I saw God in the world more than I've seen him in my whole life. I saw passionate people and lovers of God everywhere I looked. I saw an energy in Tapachula that I wanted to take home. It was only a week, but it was the experience of a lifetime.”