I’ve heard people on both sides of the aisle arguing about the issues at the border. Democrats and Republicans are shouting about the injustices, and the nation feels as divided as ever. And yet, we can all agree on one thing – something needs to change.
But while many of us call for change, few of us ever do much about it. Our Facebook posts become echo chambers of like-minded individuals reiterating our beliefs without any real conversation taking place. What we are bold enough to say to each other over the Internet, we would never say to someone’s face.
As Christians, this is frankly unacceptable. When we participate in these activities, we sound like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, those who had no compassion on their fellow man for their beliefs. We aren’t raising awareness – we are sharing our beliefs so loudly that no one wants to listen. Jesus made a difference in His time by having compassion on others. We are called to do the same.
Jesus wanted all people to live and live abundantly – Americans and non-Americans. (John 10:10) It’s our job as the Bride of Christ to work with the Lord to make that happen. One of the ways we can do that is to volunteer. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17) So, to serve the Lord, we must serve each other.
But more specifically, we must serve the poor. “Poor” is defined in many different ways, but in a situation like the one at the border, it seems like everyone involved has a poverty of some kind – poverty of resources, poverty of support, poverty of love. But we can change that.
While we as Christians begin praying for the needs we see, many of us may feel called to do something beyond that, whether it’s to give financially or find a way to volunteer our time. That’s what happened back in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Dr. David Vanderpool realized he couldn’t sit back and just offer his prayers (while important and impactful). Watching the news, he saw the destruction and saw thousands of people in need of medical attention. Seeing the limited supply of medication and the injuries, Dr. Vanderpool and his son packed up as much equipment and supplies as they could and headed for Mississippi.
He responded similarly in 2010 when Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake, which changed the course of his life. The poverty and need were so great that he and his wife were led to sell his medical practice and move to Haiti fulltime to provide a long-term, holistic, sustainable solution – which they have done in LiveBeyond.
Bring that servant attitude back to what we face now in the U.S. Regardless of where you stand, there is a way for you to actively get involved. Perhaps for you that means volunteering for an organization. The Border Patrol Foundation has a way for you to do that andto support their efforts.
If you believe that families seeking asylum should be better provided for on this side of the border, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has several organizations to choose from that need your help.
Maybe you are passionate about people looking to become citizens in the United States. Change will not happen with you watching the news – check out one of the many organizations listed on the US Citizen and Assimilation Grant Program, all working to help immigrants naturalize effectively.
Volunteer with a local library or church to teach English as a Second Language classes. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to come when an enthusiastic teacher offers their time.
If you are concerned about the education level of incomers and you have a college degree, then consider volunteering to teach GED classes. These are beneficial for not only immigrants but those typically in the lower strata of society seeking to improve their lives.
Regardless of your beliefs about the situation, there is something that you can do. Now it’s our job as Christians to do it and show compassion on others to make a difference.
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10
Devin Vanderpool is the Director of Communications for LiveBeyond, a non-profit humanitarian organization founded by David & Laurie Vanderpool in 2005 dedicated to providing clean water, medical care and adequate nutrition to the poorest of the poor. To learn more about how LiveBeyond is transforming lives in Thomazeau, Haiti,
Hear the latest news from Haiti, read posts about faith and community development, and find transcriptions from the LiveBeyond podcast.