Hispanic Baptists seek ways to help border crisis

MCALLEN -- The crisis along the Texas/Mexico border regarding more then 47,000 unaccompanied children was on the hearts and minds of those attending Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas in McAllen this week.

"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, executive director of Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, during the Monday morning session. "We are here to express our commitment as Hispanic Baptists to provide assistance, awareness and prayer for those in need."

Hispanic Baptist President Bea Mesquias volunteered at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen on Saturday afternoon, along with several others from Convencion, to provide help to the many volunteers working tirelessly to care for unaccompanied children. Although they were unable to interact with the children, they could help fold clothes and clean restrooms.

"My prayer is that we can work with the government to help these women and children," said Mesquias. "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."

On Monday morning, several Hispanic Baptist leaders went to the banks of the Rio Grande River to pray for wisdom and God's sovereignty. Recognizing the difficult circumstances many are fleeing from, Julio Guarneri, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, prayed for the 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."

As the crisis grows in national attention, government leaders are traveling to the border region. Senator John Cornyn arrived in McAllen on Sunday and met with Albert Reyes, president of Buckner International, for a tour of colonias in the Rio Grande Valley.

During a press conference at the Convention, Senator Cornyn thanked the faith community for reaching out to help those in need along the border. He addressed the growing humanitarian aid crisis that requires a response from both the government and faith community.

"We need to choose to join voices that speak to justice and mercy," Rincones said during the press conference. "May we come to a solution and find ways to minister to the least of these."

To Find out more ways to get involved visit texasbaptists.org/forthechildren.

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