Hispanic Baptists seek ways to help border crisis

As thousands of unaccompanied children cross the border, convention calls for aid.

By Kalie Lowrie

The crisis along the Texas/Mexico border caused by an influx of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children into the United States so far this year captured the attention and concern of participants at the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas in the border town of McAllen.

“It is necessary for us to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis affecting tens of thousands finding themselves abandoned and in need of basic necessities,” said Jesse Rincones, the convention’s executive director.

hispanic baptists600“We are here to express our commitment as Hispanic Baptists to provide assistance, awareness and prayer for those in need.”

Convention president Bea Mesquias and other Hispanic Texas Baptists volunteered at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen prior to the annual meeting to support volunteers who are caring for unaccompanied children. Although they were unable to interact with the children, they helped fold clothes and clean restrooms.

“My prayer is that we can work with the government to help these women and children,” Mesquias said. “They have food and clothing and shelter, but they are in need of hope. I pray we can find ways to share the word of God with them and that God will protect them during this difficult time.”

Several Hispanic Baptist leaders stood on the banks of the Rio Grande to pray for the immigrants and a solution to the crisis. Recognizing the difficult circumstances many are fleeing, Julio Guarneri, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, prayed for the children’s home countries.

“We pray for the situations in Central America. We cannot begin to imagine what conditions would push a mom to cross an entire country with their baby in hand, riding on trains, risking their lives,” Guarneri said.

“We cannot imagine the kind of poverty or violence that they face. Father, we know that they have enough hope that would bring them here. Father, we pray that you would be in the situation there and that your shalom, peace, would be with them.”