Reach Across to Helo

Reach Across to Help and Take Hold of Jesus

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans4 Minutes

You’ve heard the news and the political wrangling about the “crisis at the border” – and surely have your own opinion. The producers of the documentary, Across, invite you into the lives of three mothers and their children who ran from the violent darkness in Honduras and Guatemala. It shares the experience of a small Mennonite church that answered the call God placed on their hearts to reach out to help. The transformation their ministry has brought to their own lives is an inspiration for all.

Located less than a mile from the bus station that many asylum seekers are sent to, the San Antonio Mennonite found itself called into the ministry by virtue of its location – and a “Hospitality House” God entrusted to them. They have now hosted families from around the world, and in fact, dedicate nearly 70% of the church budget for the hospitality house ministry. Their house includes 10 bedrooms and “a very large table” where meals are shared and community is built. Residents receive help with:

  • compiling the necessary documents to verify their identity
  • documenting the danger they fled
  • understanding the legal process
  • finding healing.

The ministry focuses less on “fixing” a problem and more on uniting with God and others. Garland said the benefits to his congregation have been incredible. They intentionally set aside the “ego of the church” to experience the power of life in Christ. “We are not the Savior. All we do is offer back to Him what He has given to us.”  The church found that in reaching out to be the hands and feet of Christ, they were, instead, anointing the hands and feet of Christ.

Garland explained that the refugees have experienced the crucifixion of all their earthly hopes and dreams. They have been pierced through and have a faith that resonates with the life of Christ. Entering into a pursuit of God with them – as brothers and sisters rather than “saviors” changed everything. The rhythms of faith that sustained the immigrants in their suffering are those all Christians need to pursue to fully enjoy fellowship with Christ and one another: hearing from God through Scripture, praying, fasting, worshiping – and even mourning the damage of evil together.

Those of us in relative peace often do not know how to press into all that God offers. Our refugee brothers and sisters have much to teach us. Pastor Garland shares an insightful conversation in a rural church in Honduras. Invited to speak, the local pastor inquired whether Garland knew how to pray “the strong prayer.” That pastor understood, as Garland and his church now do as well, that seeing with the eyes of the heart (Ephesians 1:18) comes at a great cost. Many believers never enter into the power of that prayer – don’t let that be your story.

Listen to Pastor Garland’s heart and let your heart be ignited to know God more fully and reach out to help others.

To learn more: visit the Across Documentary.