Hundreds of Migrants Receive Christ Along the US-Mexico Border

October 30, 2019 • US-Mexico Border

Over the past three months, Samaritan’s Purse worked alongside ministry partners on the border to serve migrants in Jesus’ Name.

As migrants face harrowing circumstances along the U.S.-Mexico border, Samaritan’s Purse has worked to minister to them in Jesus’ Name. Our months-long response on the U.S. side recently wrapped up after working together with ministry partners in Del Rio and Laredo, Texas. We helped operate respite centers for those cleared by authorities to enter the country.

One of our staff prays with a migrant woman and her son at the shelter in Del Rio.

One of our staff prays with a family at the shelter in Del Rio.

At these centers, we shared the Gospel with more than 3,000 migrants from nearly 20 different nations. We praise God that more than 300 of them accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior thanks, in part, to the work and witness of our volunteers from 32 states and one Canadian province.

“We meet physical needs to earn the right and opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ,” said Shannon Daley, North American Ministries program manager in Del Rio.

At that location, U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities dropped beleaguered migrants off at a center that was operated by Samaritan’s Purse together with the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition. Here volunteers welcomed weary travelers into an orientation room with international flags painted on the ceiling. After transportation was secured to their U.S. sponsor, migrants were given clothes and shoes as well as the opportunity to shower and enjoy a meal. Chaplains staffed the dining hall and many migrants heard about God’s love for them as they ate.

“It was almost like a sanctuary in our dining hall,” Shannon said. “It was a protective place where people were ready to be raw and open about what they needed.”

One Sunday morning in September, Shannon sat in that room with a Guatemalan woman and her 14-year-old and 8-year-old sons. Newspaper clippings and documents still wet from the journey through the Rio Grande River lay drying on the table around them. One article pictured her husband in a body bag on the sidewalk in front of their home in Central America. More than 18 shots had been fired at him in that tragedy four years ago.

She’d testified about the crime in court only to later receive death threats from the people who killed her husband. She fled to the U.S. for her family’s survival. She had arrived at the center fearful, but four hours later, after spending time with our staff and volunteers, she felt safe and praised God for the relief she received.

A Journey Ending in Hope

Roughly 180 miles to the southeast in Laredo, a migrant from El Salvador named Miguel arrived at a respite center with his son, Pablo.

“I am happy I came across this place,” Miguel said. “They have given us clothes. They have given us food. They pray for us—and they bless us.” As they continued on their journey, Miguel said, “To all the people who are a part of this place, I hope God blesses you greatly for all that you do for us.”

Samaritan's Purse staff and volunteers, along with Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains, were at the shelter in Del Rio caring for physical needs and providing spiritual support.

Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers, along with Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains, were at the shelter in Del Rio caring for physical needs and providing spiritual support.

On average, the migrants stayed in these respite centers for two to four hours before moving on. They typically arrived scared, but after receiving physical and spiritual help, they left grateful. For example, one day as roughly 40 migrants left the Del Rio center they were waving and taking pictures of the volunteers out the windows of their bus as they departed.

“So many people had a religious background, but no relationship [with Christ],” Shannon said. Yet on their journey to the U.S. as they experienced divine appointments and heard the Gospel, their hearts were opened to having an intimate connection with the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Our purpose is to help people in Jesus’ Name,” Shannon said. “We had people all over the world coming to us. Often, we give excuses why we can’t go around the world, but the world came to us.”

She explained that thousands of migrants who heard the Good News through Samaritan’s Purse during our three-month response are going to new communities around U.S. as well as staying in touch with those in their homeland. As they share about what happened to them, Shannon said she hopes, “The Gospel is going to spread like wildfire.”

As Samaritan’s Purse concludes its response on the U.S. side of the border, please pray for God to continue to use the work of our ministry partners to further His Kingdom among migrants.

Note: Samaritan’s Purse continues to work through partners on the Mexican side of the border, helping meet migrants’ needs as they await the next legal steps of their journey.