While formally founded in 1985 in Los Fresnos, Texas, our story begins much, much earlier than that.
In response to a calling to serve the least of these, and with the determination to bestow onto our immigrant brothers and sisters beauty instead of ashes, and joy onto spirits of despair, so were the beginnings of the SWGSM in late 1979.
The SWGSM now has a Board of Directors, and its bylaws are incorporated with the state of Texas.
Our mission is to teach the love of Jesus Christ by building a renewed wholeness and dignity in those who are broken, especially the refugees and those who are disenfranchised and displaced. Addressing spiritual and material needs is living out the good news of salvation.
We are driven by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to safeguard, honor and advocate for the dignity of all human life. We are committed to fostering justice and embodying the teachings of Jesus as we respond to the call of serving our most vulnerable and marginalized communities. As part of the global mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we welcome the stranger and we feed the hungry. We are dedicated to work both with our border communities ,and across ecumenical lines both locally and nationally, as well as other organizations and institutions. We aﬃrm our stewardship and calling to serve on the basis of need, not race, creed, or nationality.
Located 17 miles north of the Mexican border, the SWGSM is located in a four- county area of Texas known as the Rio Grande Valley. For all its beauty and rich soil, the Rio Grande Valley is plagued by intractable poverty, both rural and urban. This area has the lowest per capita income in the state of Texas and one of the lowest per capita incomes in the nation. It is here where we answer the call to serve our local communities and their needs, and those of our immigrant brothers and sisters who have recently entered the country.
SWGSM began as a cry in response to a cry. Here I am, send me. The needs are devastating, numerous, and immediate. Because immigrants and refugees arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they earnestly seek our help. We answer. They are hungry, they are frightened. We comfort. They bear marks on their bodies, testaments to the torture and oppression they experienced in their countries of origin. We provide safe shelter.
The US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Detention Center for Refugees and Immigrants is nearby, and they often refer refugees to our facilities as a safe shelter and temporary place until they obtain a court hearing in order to secure political asylum. Once they have a travel permit, they are able to be relocated to other places and be reunited with relatives, friends, or sponsors. Their time with us is from a few days to a few months.