By Pedro Suarez
Recently in a report from one of our missions, I received the following story that, with Aura Suarez’ permission, I would like to share.
“At Misión Santiago Apostól at St. James Lutheran Church in Houston, where I have the privilege to serve, I have been able to develop a relationship with Yaquelyn, a young woman, and her family from El Salvador. They were the first family I met when I started working at St. James two years ago.
Recently, in our prayer circle, I was able to listen to her testimony. She talked about how
God, through the relationship she has established with the church, has helped her so much and empowered her to be a better person focus on the importance of education.
Since she was a young girl, she has suffered from a life threatening illness. Her father died when she was little. Encouraged by family and relatives, her mother moved from her native country of El Salvador looking for a brighter future for her and her children in the United States. Her mom left her and her brothers in El Salvador under the care of their grandmother and aunt.
After many years of hard work and sacrifices, Yaquelyn’s mom finally was able to bring them into the United States. After suffering through many difficult challenges, she can now think about her future and work towards her goal of continuing her education and attending college to become a pharmacists, to help others like her with chemical imbalances.
Through the Ministry of St. James/Santiago Apóstol, we have encouraged and supported her and her family, spiritually and on occasion financially. We offer ESL classes, advocate for her needs in the school system, and provide opportunities for her to grow in confidence and leadership. She is doing great in school, she is focused in her education, and her faith and trust in God has been strengthened day-by-day as she becomes a great leader.”
My sisters and brothers, I thank you for your generosity. It is because of your mission support as a vital part of your congregation’s ministry plan that we all are able to work as a team and make a difference in people’s lives. The life of Yaquelyn has seen a remarkable strengthening in her faith, through many prayers, through strong relationships, and the generosity of people like you.
We are reminded again of the words of Jesus in the Gospel according to St Matthew, chapter 25:35-40,
“[Jesus told his disciples] ‘…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. ’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? ’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. ’” (NRSV)
Again, I want to thank you for your important contribution, as part of this great team called the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. May God give you wisdom as you prepare your congregation’s mission plan for the coming year.
Your partner in Christ,
Rev. Pedro Suarez