These first few weeks of 2020 have us launching into the new decade with the same vigor and commitment as in decades past, because we know that through Christ all things are possible. Whether you are new to our mission or a loyal and long-time supporter, we are grateful for the interest that guided you to open and read this email.
We have several refugees who live in SWGSM-provided housing, whom we support completely, and and many others who receive transitional support. We care for them and send them on to sponsors once they receive from our government a “credible fear” status that puts them in the queue for an asylum hearing. (The wait time now is 6 to 9 months.)
As a recent example, we welcomed a Honduran woman who suffered greatly in her journey to the United States. She had to travel many days on a train known as “La Bestia” (the beast) standing up day and night while holding her younger daughter in her arms. She had never seen a doctor and was 8 months pregnant. We immediately took care of her, and she delivered a boy. In her gratitude for all the things the ministry had done for her, she gave her boy the middle name Francisco, using my first name. What a blessing!
Update: What is happening along the border?
The estimate of the number of persons on the Mexican side of our border, persons who have traveled from other nations to seek refuge from violence, is 25,000. They live in “tent cities”, as pictured below
A tent city near Matamoros, Mexico, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas
We partner with Team Brownsville, volunteers who journey daily into Mexico with food and other supplies to help sustain these refugees. The photos below show a group crossing the border, and a meal that is being served there.
Mission Work in the Rio Grande Valley
The needs are great. We celebrate that volunteers came from Montana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and other states as well as Texas in 2019 to help us serve. We celebrate gifts like our Mike’s Kids annual delivery, and dollars/goods from donors throughout the U.S.
Would your group like to consider SWGSM’s Compasion Campus as a place to host a retreat or complete a mission together? We can house up to 85 people and have meeting rooms, a chapel, AV equipment and anything else you might need for your group. We are also only 20 minutes from South Padre Island, offering beach fun, reflective walks by the shore, and first-rate bird watching. Please call us at 956-233-5198 if you would like more information.
How Can You Help?
· Donate. Providing your financial support allows us to ensure all of our operations continue: housing families seeking asylum; providing these families all of the care they need; collecting and distributing necessities to refugees who are in the Valley only for a short period; buying bus tickets. Donate online or send to SWGSM, PO Box 273, Los Fresnos, TX 78566.
· Send supplies. A huge need is packaged underwear and socks for men, women, and children; all sizes. Light-weight totes are also needed. Send to our street address: 28259 Pereira Compassion Rd., Los Fresnos, TX 78566
· Use our Amazon Smile link for shopping: Use this Amazon Smile link for any shopping you do with Amazon (not just donations): https://smile.amazon.com/ch/75-2763826. Amazon will donate .5% of the purchase price to SWGSM.
· Visit us. We would love to introduce you more personally to our ministries! Consider scheduling your group to stay at Campus Compasion for a retreat or mission trip.
· Visit the refugees who are in your communities – welcoming the stranger.
Always: raise your prayers to our Lord for people in desperate need.
Please know that more is needed, and that any gift is appreciated. More than anything, we covet your prayers as we all launch into this new decade. God bless you.
Your brother in Christ,
Rev. F. Feliberto Pereira
Founder and Executive Director