Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
Traveling as individuals, migrants are vulnerable and exposed to kidnappings, extortion, rape, murder, and disappearances. Now they embark on the road in groups to protect themselves and each other.
There are networks of shelters throughout the migrant route. In Guatemala City, one shelter, Migrant House, is close to the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala. It welcomes migrants and offers humanitarian aid (clothing, food, mats, psychologists, pastors, priests, young people, and even a hairdresser), creating an oasis in the desert of this tortuous pilgrimage.
María, mother of a 7-year-old daughter from Tegucigalpa shared, "I bought and sold cucumbers, but many times they did not sell and spoiled. My grandmother raised me and was my only family. Now, I have three daughters. I’m leaving my land to find work and help my grandmother. My two girls, 12 and 9, stayed with my grandmother.” Between tears and sobs, María said, "I have to support my grandmother and consider my girls’ futures. I want a better life."
"When I saw others leaving, I decided to try, too. So far, it has been difficult. When we reached the border of Guatemala, we crossed the mountain. The hardest part was walking all day. We stopped when it was raining to shelter the children while we got wet in the open," María continued.
The director of Migrant House said that after war, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans expected their governments to be allies of the needy. Instead, they established a market model that favored private industries. Mass human migration is the cry of the poor and excluded who will no longer endure violence and poverty.
Hope is in awakened people who hear and live the gospel in which Christ, the migrant, announces redemption and invites others to follow. We walk with them, and we accompany María and her daughter on this pilgrimage. Let us unite in this journey and offer what we have to transform the borders of death into bridges of life.
Ricardo Mayol serves with the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (CECG). His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.