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“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35
By Monica Sarmiento
Hunger fuels migration to the United States from Guatemala was the subject of a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security that attributed the increase in the number of Guatemalan families arriving to the United States to hunger. Years of poor harvests and drought have driven people to desperation and to flee their homes.
According to the report, most arrive from Guatemala’s Huehuetenango region in the mountainous western highlands where 7 of every 10 children are malnourished, affecting their growth and development and limiting their God-given potential.
Guatemala is a major exporter of vegetables to the U.S. and yet many of the people of Guatemala can’t afford to serve these vegetables to their own families. In this position, Guatemalan parents are forced to risk their lives on their way to the U.S., only to be turned away at the border.
This is heartbreaking and begs the question of what it means to love one another as Christ has loved us. What should Christians do in response to hunger and injustice? Are we failing to love when we see so many turned away at our borders? Or is it more than this? Is it also the lack of attention to drought and disease, education, water, sanitation and other elements of development. God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:17), so surely, we share love through clean water, health care, agriculture and deep caring.
We give you thanks for your great love that blesses each of us. You watch over us and meet us wherever we are in our journey. Perhaps along the Jericho Road we are the traveler in need of help, sometimes we are the Samaritan or perhaps we are the Levite, but You are always with us.
We pray for all immigrants, refugees, and persons who flee their homes in search of food and safety for themselves and their families. We pray especially for Guatemala and the people of Huehuetenango. Give them enough to eat and restore their lands and help us to be kind to one another.
We pray for justice in our land, that refugees will be protected, and immigrants welcomed with respect and dignity. As we commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, we ask for your continued guidance God, that we might embrace our distinctiveness and live together in peace.
Monica Sarmiento is the executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
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