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‘ Once you are [in Mexico] you are able to immerse yourself and to learn from the facts and not the

media, which only tells part of the story.’ — Omar Mixco, Young Adults in Global Mission country coordinator for Mexico

Stallings thinks Christians should “engage in the

political process with care and responsibility,” aware that America’s policies can have a major impact on countries south of the border.

That all may have life Heidi Torgerson has seen the impact of immigration for years as a missionary in Mexico and through a variety of experiences on the border. Now director of global service for ELCA Global Mission, she believes immigration is more than a political issue— it’s a spiritual one. “In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that he came so

Earlier this year, the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Mexico group spent a week on the U.S.-Mexico border, learning about U.S. border policy, the life of migrants, and work being done on both sides to aid migrants and connect communities divided by the wall.

Photo: Josh Stallings “The privilege of my citizenship, the navy blue

booklet that allows me to enter this and countless other countries as I please, and the seemingly arbi- trary luck of my birthplace challenge me every day.” What surprised Kaplan was that despite animosity

between the nations, she has been treated like family. “They have nurtured me, cared for me, and invited me into their traditions and culture without reserva- tion or expectation of reciprocation,” she said. “Their kindness, openness and acceptance have shown me what true Christ-centered service looks like.”

We can educate ourselves Stallings works in Apizaco at a shelter that provides food, clothing, medical care and housing for Central American migrants for up to two days. Despite growing up in Texas near the border, Stallings said he didn’t know anything about life on the other side. He said he now knows “[U.S. Americans] can

educate ourselves about the reasons that people are immigrating to our nation. We can work to receive these neighbors with more compassion. We can engage in the political process.”

that all may have life, and have it abundantly,” she said. “I don’t think Jesus was talking only about an abundant spiritual life in this passage. He was talking about life right here on earth, an abundant life where all are able to live with dignity, with assurance of safety, with enough resources to provide for one’s family’s basic needs.” Earlier this year Torgerson joined the YAGM

Mexico group in a prayer vigil on the U.S. side of the border to remember the lives of migrants who have died in this country while trying to cross through the desert. “When our foreign and economic policies rob

this kind of abundant life from our neighbors in countries south of us, we’re not just talking about political issues,” she said. “We’re talking about theological issues. We’re talking about sin that’s been built into the structures of our government’s policies. “If we believe that Jesus desires abundant life

for all, then our call as Christians is to learn about, name, denounce and work to actively dismantle the structural sin that keeps our neighbors from sharing in the abundant life that Jesus promised.”

To learn more about Young Adults in Global Mission, visit To read about the ELCA strategy to accompany migrant children and families, visit

Favre is an assistant professor of Pierce College in Los Angeles and a freelance theater critic.


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