Helping our community through Radical Hospitality is a central mission of Crystal Springs Mennonite Church, a rural church near Harper, KS. One way we can show radical hospitality is by helping local migrant families, undocumented children, and others as they pursue their dreams. Many of our local families struggle with legal paperwork, housing issues, language barriers, and even the fear of being locked up or deported. At Crystal Springs, we look for ways to undo racism and advance positive intercultural transformation. We want to help the families in our community so that they will not be victimized by the broken U.S. immigration system.
We are currently assisting 2 young people with the application and lawyer fees for their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legal paperwork. Below is the story of Elsa. For her protection, we are not using her real name.
Elsa lives in a big family with all her brothers and sisters and both parents. America is all Elsa knows, as her parents brought her here when she was just 1-year old in order to have a better life than what they had in Mexico. Because she came here at an early age, Elsa doesn’t have any memories of Mexico.
Just like any typical American girl, Elsa has dreams and goals. She would like to attend college and pursue a pre-law degree with plans to become an immigration lawyer so she can help other immigrant families navigate the complex immigration system. However, Elsa recognizes that she can’t get past the hurdles of her undocumented status. “This is just the one obstacle I can’t get over. Without papers, I can’t really accomplish my dreams.“
Getting her legal status updated with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process is the first step to getting a social security number and a driver’s license. “I try to do everything the legal and correct way, so if an opportunity presents itself to me, I am ready.”
Currently, there is no one in her entire household that can legally drive. She has already been pulled over once with a warning. The next time she is pulled over, she could go to jail. Elsa works for a business that employs undocumented immigrants but she is not protected by the same wage and hour laws as citizens. This is the only work she can get because she doesn’t have the correct paperwork. Elsa’s entire family is at risk of exposure and eventual deportation. Even worse, her family is at risk of being broken up because of our immigration system.
Elsa’s family cannot afford the cost of filing the DACA paperwork and the associated legal fees. The Crystal Springs congregation, through our Radical Hospitality Initiative, is assisting Elsa and another young person financially and also helping them to connect with trusted legal advisors.
Through this work we hope to show Jesus’ love to these young people and, in the future, possibly others. How exciting to be partners in a ministry where we help local families and children by enabling them to further their education and pursue their dreams!
If you would like to join Crystal Springs in their Radical Hospitality initiative you may send your contribution to Crystal Springs Mennonite Church, c/o Nathan Ediger, Church Treasurer, 775 NW 55 Ave, Harper, KS.
Submitted by Pastors Josh Patterson and John StainbrookPosted on May 13, 2021 in Weekly Word