Area Code-Southern Border

The words “Unaccompanied Minors” weigh on me. A decade ago we met and spent time with such a family of siblings from another continent. This time the Unaccompanied Minors are from countries such as Honduras. We have a fourteen-year old Compassion child in Honduras.

My wife asked me if I ever thought about Allie coming to live with us. Yes! I don’t know if it was a dream, a vision or my story-writing imagination in which we got a phone call from the southern border saying Allie was being transported to our house. I asked, “Is her mother with her? Her sister?” No, just Allie.

Whatever the source of that interaction, I began to calculate raising/nurturing a 14-year old in our small house. Days before that I wondered—for the first time—if I could build dormers on the south roof and how it would increase space. Was I being told about changes to be made? It is different to think of this person camping along the border with hundreds/thousands—which is a crisis for everyone—than to think of a teen whose face I recognize standing on our porch carrying a back pack.

“Buenos Dias!”

I have opinions about immigration policy. I cannot hear stories of child sex trafficking without feeling protective of Allie and fretting about her safety. OMG! If she stays in Honduras, the violence is widespread as is COVID and the on-going Dengue Fever. It is one thing to send workers (or money) to Honduras. It is quite a difference to have a Honduran child delivered to your doorstep.

My thinking and study is, and has been, wrapped around Seizing the Season which took me to Deuteronomy 26-28.

“When you have entered the land the Lord you God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the first fruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket….” (Deuteronomy 26:1-2)

This is followed by directions of where to take that basket and how it is distributed.

“Then you must declare in the presence of the LORD your God, ‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, just as you commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands’” (Deuteronomy 26:13).

The Living Bible Translation says,

“Then place the produce before the LORD your God and bow to the ground in worship before Him. Afterward you may go and celebrate because of all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration (26:13 LBT).

My reaction to that is, what foreigners do I know well enough to invite to the celebration? An Illinois community where we’ve worked several times was feeling over-run by skate-boarders—teens hanging out in front of downtown businesses. Understandably, business owners wanted them gone. They were chased from several gathering spots and ended up at a church parking and front steps. The board took seriously their responsibility regarding insurance, liability and debris. The youth leader was gleeful. His mission field had been delivered to his door!

Should we be viewing the “hordes at the border” as opportunity? Since no one asked me; since I have no ideas or resources, I guess I can dream as outrageously as I want. Whatever the reason for the cover-up and forbidding of news people at the border, the Unaccompanied Minors are being used. They are seen as potential voters, sex-slaves, cheap laborers by some. Those with purer hearts view them as needing what America can provide. What does love require of us? What could be the Kingdom response? When we pray “…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done…” what does God’s heart-driven vision-plan call for? Those questions are not intended to be rhetorical. What would a solution from the heart of God look like? You can bet on the fact there are other principalities and powers and kingdoms that have plans for the immigrants that will take the Unaccompanied Minors into bondage.

Freedom/liberty has three elements: Winning, ordering, sustaining. Deuteronomy lists detailed ways liberty must be ordered in the Promised Land such as the correct use of weights and measures and labor relations for “fellow Israelites and foreigners living in your towns.” It is an extensive ordering—“You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain” (25:4). If the “devil is in the details,” you can safely assume Yahweh has a love-soaked directive and owner’s manual for such needs.

After conversations with business owners and managers it appears to me that there is a growing nation within our own borders made up of multitudes who do not know how to do life. They see themselves as victims and dependent with no hope for a shot at the dream. They have been on my mind as I ask what the season is that we must seize. This country has been on this road before. With regional and national spiritual awakenings have come gathered dreamers to offer solutions and strategies such as Sunday Schools, YMCA’s, holistic schools, trade schools. World Vision and other mission programs grew out of the Korean War era. We were personally touched by the Boat People of the 1970s. There have been entrepreneurs through the centuries such as Guinness and Cadbury who saw their employees’ wellbeing and growth their mission field. We can believe that God will raise up visionaries for the current crisis-challenge.

There is no inevitability. Looking at the thousands at the border, I assume some are coming to eat at the trough of American generosity. I believe a greater number are seeking a place to work and achieve—a land and environment where talent is rewarded and merit is encouraged. I have to believe that among the immigrant seekers are individuals and families that are committed to a biblical worldview and a concept of morality and individual freedom that replicates the longings of the best Pilgrims. I know some of them.

This is the season to welcome the foreigners to the celebration and teach them what it means to be an American as our Founding Fathers envisioned—

“In Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity….”

And experience with us, “…a new birth of freedom.”   Winning, Ordering, Sustaining.

Seizin’ The Season! Outrageous, but a Kingdom idea.

Do you know the area code for the southern border?

©2021 D. Dean Benton

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