Today our group went to visit La Posada Providencia. This is a a 24/7 emergency care center for refugees/immigrants seeking asylum and petitioning for legal refuge.
We met with Sister Margeret and Sister Teresse. These are two of the three women who are wonderful teachers to these people who came from Ethiopia, Cuba, Brazil, and a few other countries. They not only teach them English, but also how to integrate into the American society. They have school for them daily where they learn about American history and social skills. The sisters even teach them to use their resources wises. They learn how to recycle, how to compost, and even how to use coupons.
When we arrived we had a small orientation and introduction to the refugees, (to whom the sisters refer to as the clients), and the sisters had all of us as a group say The Pledge of Allegiance and sing, yes sing, America the Beautiful.
We were then introduced to the clients individually and were able to hear a few stories of those from Ethiopia. One story that stood out to us all was from Daniel.
Daniel lost is parents at the age of 3 and was raised by his grandmothers. He was arrested in his country for standing along side his brother several times for having an opinion about his government. He then fled his country and walked 50 days to South Africa where every time he'd just be getting on his feet financially he would be beaten and robbed. He then fled to Brazil and then finally arrived some time later in the states. He first thought when arriving here was FREEDOM.
Daniel has made a temporary home for now with the sisters yet he calls each one of them Mother. It is an honorary title where he comes from that means to be held in high esteem.
We came to volunteer and to work and yet we had more fellowship time with all the clients because the sisters felt this was of most importance. At the end of our time Sister Margaret shared with us how the client Daniel had gotten an infection while in a detention center he was held in for several months. This was a room he shared with approximately 70-80 other detained male immigrants.
He was given eye drops that caused a terrible cyst to grow on his eye. He is in need of immediate surgery as it is growing very rapidly. He was scheduled for surgery and the doctor had specifically told the guards to make sure Daniel did not eat prior to surgery. Of course they didn't and the surgery had to be cancelled. The surgery is not cheap and Sister Margaret knew of someone who said if they could raise half he would match and pay the other half. Sister asked us to be involved with fund raising. By the time we left we had raised enough money between our church funds and personal funds so Daniel could have the surgery ASAP.
God has been so good on this trip! It was an awesome experience as we have made incredible friendships and have established wonderful relationships with everyone we have journeyed with on mission.
Please pray for our long and safe journey home early tomorrow morning.