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PC(USA) partner in South America recounts dangerous journeys that migrants are undertaking


It’s a challenge to help the humble

September 9, 2023
“The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.’”
— Matthew 25:40 (God’s Word Translation)

The wild Darién Gap jungle near the Colombia and Panama border (iStock photo)

Reading and seeing the testimonies of thousands of migrants who have survived crossing the Darién Gap jungle on foot, their exposure to hunger, bug bites and infections of all kinds, getting lost without being found, being victims of extortion, robbery and sexual abuse by mafias on both sides of the jungle under the complicit indifference of the authorities is a social scandal and degrading to human dignity.

Entire families, adolescents and young people from Latin America migrate, like Ruth and Noemí, hoping for better living conditions for themselves and their own relatives, fleeing the rampant poverty that exists in their countries, fleeing hunger and misery, from lack of employment, meager salaries, etc.

Persistent poverty that is exacerbated by socio-economic discrimination, where few families continue to accumulate wealth, dispossessing the vast majority of their lands to extract minerals from the subsoil, pollute their rivers making their crops or fishing inefficient, and deplete their forests and jungles, leaving lands almost unproductive and where the protest and claim is repressed by the military and police force. All of this is favored by laws and legal norms that legalize usurpation, destruction, repression and accumulation in exchange for a little tax and perks to congressmen, officials and rulers.

The misfortune expressed in the lives of the people (including babies) who managed to cross the Darién Gap jungle is just one of the social faces of this Latin America; there are many suffering and dying faces and lives like Christ on the cross in Haiti, in the original peoples of Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and more, also in the millions of doubly discriminated and marginalized women as well as people who are different from the patriarchal and traditionalist schemes of the continent.

The mission of God that the church in Latin America must fulfill is challenged by these realities. Jesus Christ sent us into the world to proclaim and build the kingdom of God with actions that make justice, peace and life in abundance come true: feeding, quenching the thirst and clothing the humble is not only an act of love for our neighbor, but it is also an eschatological challenge that we must imperatively face. Otherwise, we will be unknown as heirs of the kingdom.

Standing in solidarity with people who suffer because of repression (prisons, torture, groups of people in extinction, genocide, etc.) and because of their migrant status is to do God’s will and continue on the path of Christ in his practical love for those who suffer.

Assuming the eschatological challenge in carrying out the mission, which the church must fulfill, is to face and confront the economic and social powers that dominate and impose their laws onto the humble in our countries, even more so now that economic blocks are being built (the demonic wants to strengthen itself) in order to optimize its riches that, like Mammon, is opposed to the kingdom of God.

The mission cannot be indifferent to these realities or ignore them, since they are realities that express contempt for human dignity and the destruction of their environment, are opposed to the will of God, and take precedence over the gospel of the kingdom proclaimed by Christ who he incarnated among the poor, totally removed from the powerful.

We are called and sent to bless the humble and suffering, to cry and walk with them, to help and support them in lightening their burdens.

It is up to us to be blessed or cursed by God. It will depend on how we assume and carry out the mission in the eschatological dimension demanded by Jesus Christ.

Pr. Enrique A. Alva Callupe is a member of the Iglesia Evangélica Peruana and member of the Executive National Council of the denomination.

Today’s Focus: Dangerous journeys for migrants in South America

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Elizabeth Little, Church Consultant, Charlotte, Board of Pensions
Ann Logan, Payroll Specialist, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)

Let us pray

Lord, help us find new and challenging ways to support our neighbors as they seek to provide for their families. Amen.

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