The Inn Project is nearing its one year anniversary on December 14th! We started last December when we received a call from ICE asking the question, “Can you house immigrants with children who are being released to go to their families?” It was Christmas time, the time when we remember that there was no room at the inn for Jesus. Where would we house these children and parents? Was there a church that would open their doors right away?
Two churches opened doors quickly: First United Methodist of Tucson, and later, Christ Church, UM. The first guest we received was a father, Jesús, and his children, from Honduras. Many people stepped up to volunteer, and UMCOR helped with starting funds. It was a harried, furiously-pulled-together plan, but somehow, it worked.
I remember that first December well. The families were tired and confused and hungry. They really wanted a shower, and then food, and then sleep. Some needed sleep first, so we watched their children so parents, weary from traveling across 2, 3, & 4 country borders, plus detention, could gets me much-needed sleep.
We heard their stories: the kindness of strangers in towns across their countries and Mexico; the scary times and the times of hunger; and the dangers they left in their own homes. Being migrant means moving because it is a matter of life and death, not because of any dreams for a richer life. It just happened…and in their stories you could hear the longing for home and for mama, and little brother…
Today I dropped by to see how The Inn Project was doing. There were seven families with many little children running around, and playing ball, and shyly saying hello. The parents were so glad and grateful for our hospitality. Deep facial creases and soulful eyes showed in their smiles.
Every time I visit, I get a sense of peace about my own life. They have suffered so much, and I have it so easy in comparison. And my heart opens up to their smiles, and their thanks, and their view of living. It’s Christmas time again, and The Inn Project is still housing guests who are seeking to connect with their families in the US. I’m wondering if you can help us keep our doors open for them? Perhaps there is a special Christmas offering or gift that can be directed their way? If so, send a check to The Desert Southwest Conference, with “The Inn Project” in the memo. I know the children, and their parents, would be so very grateful for whatever you can do.
Because it’s Christmastime. And we are trying to provide room at The Inn.
Jesús, from Honduras…
(fade to dreams…)