As we begin the season of Advent and anticipate the celebration of God coming to live among among us, I am remembering a powerful experience of Immanuel. In early October, I and other General Ministries representatives -- including our own General Minister and President, Rev. Teresa Hord Owens -- were in South Texas where we were indeed powerfully reminded of Immanuel, that God is always and ever with us.
We met an amazing five-week-old baby girl whose mother named her “Emmanuel.” Emmanuel is a beautiful child, and her mother loves her so much, and we understood why: her small fingers, her tiny nose, her eyes staring at us as we held her in our arms. She is an amazing gift to her mother and to this world, for she is a powerful reminder of God in our midst.
(Rev. Terri Hord Owens holds a child who is being hosted by Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries. Photo: SGSM)
You see, her mother (whose identity is hidden for her protection) had to flee the Republic of the Congo because of severe violence, and she was able to escape her country. During her journey she was sexually assaulted. She is currently seeking protection and asylum along our borders. She has gone through so much to get here, and yet, she has a long way to go, still. In the midst of her struggle, her child is her love, her child is her sign that God is yet with her, her “Immanuel.”
Emmanuel and her mother are being sheltered by a Week of Compassion partner, Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries, supported by your Week of Compassion gifts. We are assisting the mother and child in their request for refugee status. That is a long process, so in the meantime, your dollars to Week of Compassion are taking good care of both of them—providing food, clothes, legal assistance, and medical attention.
It is a long and difficult journey ahead for Emmanuel and her mother. But they are not alone on their journey. Your financial support to Week of Compassion witnesses to a Church that is walking with Emmanuel and her mother as they seek a community of peace and transformation. The money you give to Week of Compassion enables us to stand with the millions of people around the world who are displaced by violence, by political conflict, by economic oppression, and by natural disasters.
Because of your gifts to Week of Compassion, they are not alone.
Your gifts are signs of God-with-us, of Immanuel. Offering clean water, providing medical supplies, protecting and caring for people like Emmanuel and her mother. By the sharing of our resources, along the way in our journey, we are reminded of our God—a God who is ever with us.