When the bus drops the refugees off from the detention center, the first thing we do is offer food. One of the refugees told me that in the detention center she and approximately 20 women and their children were held together in a room a little smaller than the rooms we provide. She said she was there for four days. While at the detention center, she was given a burrito three times a day and some water. The children were allowed to have juice or milk with their burrito.
As they are standing in line waiting for us to complete their intakes, I meet with each person and cut off the paper bracelets they were given in detention. They are grateful to have them removed and it gives us a chance to start to develop a positive relationship. The refugees can see that we are there to help.
One person over the age of 14 from each family is required to wear an Electronic Tracking Device on their ankle which they are unable to remove. They will wear this until their court date which could be in several days or weeks. They are unfamiliar with this so we tell them they can shower with it but they cannot submerge it. Many of the women have tight jeans which are the style. To remove their jeans to shower, they have to cut their jeans in order to get them over the device. We don’t have enough women’s pants to replace the cut jeans.
Yesterday a small child arrived at the site and was very ill. Her father said her nose had been bleeding on and off and she eaten almost nothing for the past four days. He had only been able to get her to take occasional sips of water. We called the doctor who recommended we take her to the Emergency Room where she was later admitted to the hospital. We are praying for her recovery – please join us in praying for all who become ill on the journey.
My prayer today is that we are able to develop relationship with those we serve and show them that they are valued children of God. We cannot necessarily solve all of their concerns but we can provide a ministry of presence, a ministry of love. You too can provide a ministry of love with your prayers. Please continue to share this experience with me.