Rev. Randy Barge, Moderator of the Presbytery, Olney Presbyterian Church
One of the things that touched me was the memorial wall of placards and flowers left in response to the tragic shooting in early August that took that lives of at least 22 people. It drove home for me the belief that much of our current immigration rhetoric is steeped in fear and hatred of people who are different from us. But seeing all the expressions of sympathy and love at the memorial wall, helped to affirm my belief that the forces and powers of hatred and fear do not have the last word. Throughout our stay, we met people, most of them young people, who are committed to bringing the love and justice of the Kingdom of God to bear in their care and concern for asylum seekers and others. We met people like the young college student giving a year of her life as a volunteer at the Oscar Romero shelter in El Paso. We met people like the Presbyterian pastor and his son, both Mexican nationals, whose church, despite its meager resources, sponsors a shelter for asylum seekers forced to wait in Mexico due to a recent change in U.S. Policy. And of course, we were hosted by a wonderful group of young people from Abara, who helped us to make sense of much of what we experienced at the border. I was deeply touched and inspired by all of them.