It was late on a Wednesday evening and the woman’s voice on the other end of the phone sounded forlorn. She was anxious with questions and despairing when I was unable to provide the answers she was hoping to hear. Over the previous few days, my colleagues and I had become accustomed to these calls. The effects of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy had hit every major news outlet. We all had witnessed young children being pulled from their mother’s hands and the desperate voices pleading officers to call a phone number that they had previously memorized and practiced.
“What can I do?” The woman asked, “How can I help? I have a room in my house for a child at the border. They should not be in those cages, lying on the cold floor.”
I gave her the contact information for a few partner organizations near the border. “We do have an Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program,” I told her. “But the children at the border have families and the first priority is to reunify them with loved ones. At this time, we are not receiving any cases from the border,” I told her.
After a dozen of these calls, it was obvious that our community members were feeling helpless. They needed an outlet, and these children needed to know that they were cared for and loved by so many in our country. Our staff brainstormed and researched and found that it was impossible to physically reach these children or parents waiting in detentions and processing centers. Nothing would be allowed in, no greeting cards, no games, no blankets or comfort of any kind.
But there is one thing that cannot be censored or stopped: our prayers.
LSS/NCA is participating in the Visual Faith Workshop on August 3 in Springfield, Virginia. Our staff will be hosting a table where participants can learn more about refugee resettlement efforts and foster care for refugee children as we pray and meditate on Bible verses that remind us the value of demonstrating love to our neighbors and welcoming the stranger.
During the event, prayer cards will be available for children and adults to color and send messages to the families on our Southern border. Although we are unable to physically send the cards to holding centers, we can still spread our prayers and compassion through your help.
Here’s how you can participate:
Download a free prayer card: Do your kids need a summer craft project? Prayer cards are a great way to teach them about current events through the power of compassion and kindness. Ask them to color a prayer card for a refugee or immigrant welcoming them to our communities.
Display your prayer cards: Ask your congregation or faith leader permission to hang your cards in a Sunday school classroom, a display board, or meeting place. There may be someone in your own church community that would benefit from your message of welcome.
Share on social media: Tweet, post or pin using #WelcomeInColor. Share your prayer cards or Bible journaling margins, and encourage others to lift up their voices for those in need of friendship. By using #WelcomeInColor, LSS/NCA and Visual Faith boards will be able to share and repost your image. Together, we can ignite compassion and welcome those who seeking refuge.
Autumn Orme, LSS/NCA Communications Director