October 2014: Children on the Run
“Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Psalms 80:7
The United States faces a perfect storm of humanitarian crisis. Unaccompanied and separated children have crossed the border at unprecedented rates, the unanticipated result of foreign policy. Because they are on U.S. soil, our government has a legal, not to speak of ethical, obligation to provide protection, due process and basic needs to this wave of immigrants. Each child has the right by our own laws, to a fair hearing. This obligation was codified by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. That law says the children cannot be immediately sent back. Due process must be followed.
Global Ministries, along with Honduran partners, Christian Commission for Development and the Evangelical and Reformed Church of Honduras, are responding to the crisis in Honduras. Both organizations work in the education sector providing training and counseling for youth affected by violence; training that will help them get jobs and avoid involvement with the gangs, the “maras.”
Christians have a moral and ethical responsibility to keep children safe. In the end, this new “surge,” these new children may prove to be the salvation of the United States, just as other immigrants have been. Hondurans are hardworking, independent and extremely family-oriented, the very qualities we value. I am reminded that the Samaritan was a foreigner who stopped to help a stranger in need.
Here in Honduras, the crisis is unfolding and I sympathize with people who want to escape. Please understand that leaving one’s homeland is not easy and is never a first choice. Hondurans are drawn by fear and a need to escape violence, but even stronger is the need for hope.
Don and Maryjane Westra serve with the Christian Commission for Development and are based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Don’s appointment is supported by One Great Hour of Sharing and both appointments are made possible by Disciples’ Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission and your special gifts.