Border Angels Celebrate Easter by Hiding Water for Migrants

For the faith-based nonprofit Border Angels, the Easter resurrection narrative finds its most meaningful expression in providing life-giving supplies for those facing death crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Yesterday, about sixty volunteers with Border Angels spent Holy Saturday of Passion Week walking in the footsteps of undocumented border crossers in the desert expanse between San Diego and Tijuana, leaving supplies for migrants along known migration routes. By providing water, clothing and nonperishable food items, Border Angels volunteers hope to prevent the death of migrants attempting the perilous crossing. An estimated 10,000 have died attempting to reach the United States since Operation Gatekeeper, a Clinton-era measure to curtail unlawful immigration.

Marlene Ferreras, a practical theologian and ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister, went on the Border Angels’ water drop and discussed the experience, which she described as “powerful.”

Volunteers gathered in the courtyard of the Border Angels San Diego office. Border Angels founder Enrique Morones provided a brief history of how the Southern border has become more militarized and dangerous to cross. Morones discussed push-pull factors that affect public policy and migrants making the risky journey north. He noted that the most vulnerable people journey through the desert routes. There is currently no wall in this area (President Trump plans to change this) because the terrain and the desert climate provides a sufficient deterrent for most. Temperatures can get as high as 120 degrees in summer and below freezing at night. Many migrants come fleeing war and a better future they envision because in their countries of origin they are suffering for a variety of reasons (poverty, drug cartel, lack of jobs, war, sexual violence etc.).

Border Angels organize their supply routes by collecting information from the coroner's office on dead bodies they find. They take these coordinates and plug them into Google maps by dropping pins and then they trek through to plan a route so they can bring volunteers once a month to make drops with water and supplies—bags filled with warm blankets and jackets, gloves for the cold and non-perishable items of food. Each month volunteers collect and catalog how many bottles are recovered empty, half used or not used. They clean up the trash they find.

“We saw signs of life out there,” Ferreras said. “The guide for my route pointed out where the supply bags had been opened and in some case everything was missing. In another, the supplies were strewn out. The traveling migrants only took what they needed.”

Ferreras learned about Border Angels when she took part in Posada sin Fronteras, a public Christmas liturgy at the border organized by several community organizations in Tijuana and San Diego. “I became involved because I had just left the Azure Hills Church to do my PhD and it was a time in my life where I felt God calling me to meet my neighbors and to trust the journey God was leading me in after Azure Hills,” Ferreras said. She heard Enrique Morones talk about Border Angels and extended an invitation for volunteers. Ferreras followed their organization since then.

“This is the first time I've gone out to the water drop and I went on this weekend because this was my way of celebrating life, death and resurrection,” she said. She wrote on the water jugs, "...para que tengan vida, y para que la tengan en abundancia. Juan 10:10 ¡Bienvenidos! (That you might have life and have it more abundantly. John 10:10 Welcome!)

"..that they may have life." Jn10:10. Wherever there is tomb, we placed water in hope of tomorrow-Resurrection.#borderangels pic.twitter.com/3lw8roCpwX

— Marlene Ferreras (@FerrerasMarlene) April 15, 2017

To remember is to faithfully enact!#HolySaturday #borderangels #WaterIsLife pic.twitter.com/ak2kRNbymy

— Marlene Ferreras (@FerrerasMarlene) April 15, 2017

Asked how she would respond to people in the Christian community who oppose providing aid to those entering the United States unlawfully, Ferreras pointed to Jesus. “The passion of Christ was people” she said. “I see Jesus doing nothing less than protecting the life of ‘law breaking’ people in his time and place.”

She questioned whose interest are served by laws that curtail immigration. “I think people need to educate themselves on the history of the U.S.-Mexico border and the militarization of the border—the fluctuation between offering work visas to migrants and the criminalization [of undocumented entry].”

Ferreras noted that the south has consistently provided cheap labor for the north. “These are not laws that are invested in the wealth, life and prosperity of a few at the expense of migrants who are looking for opportunity to work, provide for their families and flee life-threatening contexts in some cases,” she said. “As a person of faith I cannot ignore the desperation of people seeking ‘new life.’”

Opposition to helping the vulnerable and marginal does not surprise Ferreras. “That's what got Jesus—capital punishment. As a disciple of Jesus, I am not afraid of what is "lawful or unlawful"? I'm afraid of losing my courage to lay down my life for the sake of the most vulnerable. How can it offering a glass of water be condemned?” She points to Jesus’ words about that in Matthew 25.

“Yeah, I'm giving aid to people who ‘enter the U.S. in an unlawful way’ because Jesus makes no distinction between them and me (my parents who were Cuban immigrants were granted political asylum).”

Jared Wright is Southern California Correspondent for Spectrummagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7972
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When civil disobedience is good (which is a good share off the time . . . . ).

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I applaud what Pastor Ferreras and Border Angels are doing for the vulnerable and marginal among us. I do not believe that what she is doing is civil disobedience and that it is truly unfortunate that in today’s world, a political viewpoint has to be added to it.

If what Pastor Ferreras is doing is to make a political statement then, in my eyes, that would severely diminish the good that she is attempting to accomplish.

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I love what Pastor Ferreras is doing . It means a lot when we as Pastors take a stand on these issues .

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I found this account intensely moving. May God bless Pastor Ferreras and “Border Angels”, and all who do this kind of work. This is surely ministering to the “least of these my brethren”.

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And they said, “When did we see You thirsty and provide water for You?”

And He said unto them, “Whatsoever ye did unto the least of these, you did unto Me.”

Go thou and do likewise.

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This is a bold and compassionate initiative by the Border Angels. They have preferred to save the lives of those genuinely seeking a new lease on life in America, knowing that some with criminal intent could also hear about, and make use of, their water drops. I think that these angels could proudly STAND at the" Judgement bar "toe -to-toe with even the founding prophetess EGW who caved to segregation laws by advocating racial segregation within her SDA church.

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we feed and water not to be saved but because we have been saved.

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Sounds like a wonderful thing to do. Let us not forget that in a spiritual sense God’s people are all immigrants, “strangers and pilgrims” seeking a better land (Heb. 11:13). Compassion for the stranger is a universal Biblical principle.

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When an act of charity is done, our Lord exhorts us; do not announce it with trumpets in order to receive recognition. Don’t even let your left hand know what your right hand did. Those who reject this mandate have no heavenly reward because they have already received their reward in full from other people. When I see this Border Angel thing all over FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I get the message clearly: “look what I did…incredible, huh? Isn’t it amazing what I did? Can you believe I even did that?”

Because Marlene is very publicly a Hillary-lover and Trump-hater, this is most likely an expedient gesture of protest, if we are willing to be honest. I mean, right?

It would be better to invest the resources in close proximity where there is just as much hunger, thirst and desperation. Help out the needy school children, help out the legal immigrants that are barely making ends meet, or aren’t, invest in the orphan and the widow living right down the street.

If you want to do something noteworthy in the economy of the Lord, do it for your “enemy”. Do it for a Republican! Bring some water to the coal miner, bring some coffee and doughnuts to the men who are building the XL Pipeline, verbalize your support of the men and women in the armed services or the ones dressed in blue that serve and protect the neighborhood, and wonder all the time if anybody is thankful.

What are the chances???

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Very well stated Kristan. the text you cited from the Sermon on the Mount, has always been one of my favorites. We learn from The Desire of Ages that when Jesus was a child he often shared his food with those who were less fortunate. But I doubt that anyone would have ever known it if she hadn’t been shown in a vision. He did it quietly, and with no ulterior motives. There is a family in my State which has given millions of dollars to various projects around the State. But there is a catch–the family name must appear on the building. I have very little respect for that kind of philanthropy.

It is interesting that Marlene emphasizes one aspect of the teachings of Jesus–feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty but conveniently ignores the admonition to render unto Caesar what is his, and to obey the laws of the land. And in the time of Paul and Jesus, the laws of the land were quite harsh.

I’ve long ago grown weary of the false light in which this issue has been portrayed by the left. I know of no one who is opposed to immigration. But I know lots of people (including legal immigrants) who are opposed to people cheating the system, entering the country illegally and then expecting all the benefits of citizenship.

The interests of all law-abiding citizens who understand that if a country doesn’t control its borders it will soon lose its sovereignty.

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@kristan_yeaton

Well stated by both of you. Was wondering where the support is for those following the law? Where is their encouragement for doing the right thing? Following the law of our land is an indicator of the type of citizen they want to be is it not? Why do we welcome those that first break our laws, have no motivation to learn our language or acclimate to our culture? What is their incentive when the back door is held open by those that mean well but are in fact helping to kill the golden goose. To your point above, if we have no control of borders we lose the capacity to not only help those that skip the law but more importantly those that aspire to be under a system of laws (read constitution) that what make our country great and are enforced. The law abiding/respecting immigrants are those wanting borders and laws that protect them. Just like Mexico’s southern border does.

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As an emergency physician I provide care to people who have chosen to break the law. God asks us to be compassionate to others. That is all.

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Yeah, it’s great: Let them know immediately upon arrival it’s all handouts.

Lord, have mercy.

Merciless! God did not command us to provide only for those of whom society approves. There was no IF or BUT when Christ taught us to show compassion. Consider Matthew 25:

39When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ 40And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ 41Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.…

In PRISON? Even in prison?

“Illegal immigrants” are God’s children, and just as dear to Him as anyone else. Jesus taught us to care for them unconditionally.

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Not really a good analogy, Tkclem.

While walking down the street I notice a man crawling through a window of a public building - obviously trying to rob it. He falls back out and breaks his leg. I will of course help him. But as far as assisting him in robbing the place - providing him with a crowbar, would make me an accessory to the crime.

You, as an emergency physician, assisting people with the after effects of their bad decisions is not the same.

I notice this wasn’t an issue (not like now anyway) when the former President deported more illegal immigrants than any before him. Which tells me, as always, this is nothing more than politics dressed up as religion; throw some Jesus quotes in there, and voilà.

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It is good to help those in need of sustenance, but is it good to encourage those who are breaking the law ? I don’t think that God wants us to encourage breaking the laws of the land or He would not have told us to render unto Caesar that which is his. I have mixed emotions about this topic. My common sense tells me it is wrong to aid and abet lawbreakers but my heart tells me I should give aid where it is needed. Why can’t these illegal aliens come to the USA the right way? My parents were immigrants as is my husband. They came here legally and supported the family by working hard and no handouts. This is not a perfect world, is. We help those in need but who will help them when the land is over run with those who refuse to work and come here just for the handouts?

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illegal immigration is STILL illegal. Helping the needy is biblical, but pandering to this political cause is wicked and short-sighted. People are not crossing the boarder from a Godless, communist regime like former East Germany, or worse - North Korea, they are coming here for the freebies. Illegal immigration should not be encouraged among God-fearing people.