Monday, July 9

Migrant workers

There are three Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA) pastors in the city where I'm living. One of the churches is located in the heart of agricultural fields: asparagus, squash, corn, etc. This church's congregation consists largely of migrant workers. People who have traveled for days, with their family, to come up to the Ensenada region for a better life. However, this better life often means working sunrise to sunset (5am? to 8pm?) either 6 or 7 days a week. Their families live in, what we would call, shacks: buildings that look like they'd top over if a strong wind or rain ever came through. Moreover, I was told that they receive minimum wage which according to another webpage is $57.46 pesos/day, which is approximate $4.25/day.

In most families, both parents work this schedule, leaving the children to fend for themselves. In my first week here, I had the privilege of babysitting a 2 month old baby girl, just so that her 7 year old sister could play soccer with the other kids. Seeing 7 or 8 year olds toting around their 2 year old siblings is not uncommon. They have the responsibility of caring for them while their parents are working. It's a bit shocking to see from our North American point of view. And yet God cares for each of these kids. He is the protector and champion of children. He is the father to the fatherless, which these kids essentially are for a large percentage of their day.

One good thing about this migrant community is that they genuinely desire to take care of each other. In some ways, it has a "it takes a village to raise a child" feel to it...they would support and defend each other. However, with most of the adults gone, the children are vulnerable. One such 14 year old girl was raped two years ago when she was home alone and is now the parent of a 2 year old...a child raising a child.

These children have woven their way into the heart of this one pastor. His small church has at least 75 children (and approximately 30 adults). He desires to have them know God, through regular Sunday school lessons. He also desires to start a before-school and after-school program to teach them English, help them with school-work and provide them a safe place to be while their parents are not home. And the more time I spend out at Pastor Reynerio's church, the more my heart is being tied to these children and this community. In fact, not knowing Pastor's Reynerio's before and after school desires, I mentioned last week to a coworker that an after school program is needed for the same reasons listed above. My friend Rachel turned to me after I said this and told me excitedly that this is what Pastor Reynerio has wanted.

I'm not sure what lies in my future in regards to this ministry. However I will continue to pray about this ministry potential and for the well-being and growth of these children.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mindy I love your heart and "nothing" in this post is a surprise to me! I can tell you are "home"....watching God's good and perfect will being accomplished! xxoo Debbi