Congregation: Misión Mesa Abierta, Kenner, La.
Occupation: Construction worker
I believe God always provides and never abandons nor forgets us, no matter what. I believe in God’s great love for us that never fails. God is full of love and mercy. We are all God’s children—no matter the color of our skin or our nationality. We are all family, part of God’s creation and created in God’s image.
I decided to declare sanctuary at First Grace United Methodist Church, New Orleans, because, honestly, it was the last option available to me. Since 2013, I’ve been advocating for my day in court against an immigration system that is in desperate need of reform. I’m currently under an order of deportation that is out of my control. Living in sanctuary has been one of the most difficult times of my life. However, I’ve been able to make it with the support of my family, my Christian community, friends and those who are involved in the sanctuary movement. Although I’m the first person in the Deep South to declare sanctuary, I know that I’m not the only one living in this kind of situation, nor will I be the last. In all of this, I feel that my decision to take sanctuary is congruent with my faith—to stand up against injustice and to advocate for God’s justice at work in the world.
I pray to almighty God that the whole world may learn to love our neighbors—no matter who they are—because life is too short to live it filled with hate.
“I feel that my decision to take sanctuary is congruent with my faith—to stand up against injustice and to advocate for God’s justice at work in the world.”
My Lutheran faith sustains me during times of so much pain and sacrifice. It’s only my heavenly father who gives me strength to continue each day. The Lutheran family is my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I feel very blessed to be surrounded by so many angels and the whole Christian community. Through my faith, I’ve come to learn that I’m a son of the almighty God and he never abandons his children. My life is in God’s hands.
I try to raise my daughters in the faith by showing them the path of the God who loves them as his creation, who gives us the breath of life, and by showing them how honored I feel that God has blessed me to be their father. In 2009, I received the blessed birth of my oldest daughter, and with her birth my life changed completely. She became the reason for standing up for myself. In 2015, God blessed me once again with another daughter. I consider myself to be very blessed by God through the life I’ve been able to share with my family. I continually pray to God for their health, as well as praying for wisdom and for work so I may provide my daughters with the best life possible.
My church family at Misión Mesa Abierta continually supports me in prayer. I feel very blessed to be a member in a diverse congregation where we all praise our heavenly father together and pray for each other with our whole hearts.
As a leader in the Congress of Day Laborers (an organization of immigrant workers founded after Hurricane Katrina), I advocate for the welfare and common good that benefits all of our communities, particularly the immigrant and migrant worker community in the New Orleans area.
As a congregational leader at Misión Mesa Abierta, I enjoy helping set up the worship space, especially the altar, and I feel at home there. I feel happy in God’s house and accompanied by my family in faith.
I share my faith by praying for my family, friends and the whole world. I also share my testimony with others in how God has been faithful in my life. And most importantly, I share my faith by loving the family God has blessed me with.
My favorite Bible story is when God liberates the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt by using the leadership of Moses, and demonstrates power to the people by opening up the Red Sea for them to cross over onto dry land in order to move them into the promised land.
My favorite memory in our congregation is from our celebration of our one-year anniversary. It was an amazing moment to see my whole family together and happy as we praised God alongside our church family and Pastor Rachel Ringlaben as she taught us God’s holy word. It reminded me how we are to continually look to God to feed our spirits because without God, we are nothing.
I’m a Lutheran because from the beginning Protestants have protested against injustices and advocated for transparency in the church, especially in the teaching of the Scriptures, so that God’s word is accessible to all of God’s children. It’s God’s word that frees and saves us!
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