Mennonite Disaster Service executive director Kevin King was listening to the immigration news from the southern border of the United States in early 2021 and realized that this was also a disaster revolving around hope and shelter, among other factors.
In April 2021, a group of MDS leaders toured the Rio Grande Valley. They arrived in San Benito, Texas, and saw La Posada Providencia (The Providence Inn).
They found a place that provided shelter. They saw a caring staff and a clean, well-run facility. They found an organization that was seeking to increase its capacity for providing God’s love to asylum seekers.
Shortly after that visit, the MDS board committed to helping La Posada Providencia. They set aside a significant amount of funding along with a commitment to provide as much labor as possible to accomplish a facility expansion.
I’ll not go through all the details of the construction. I’ll not talk about the difficulties nor the highlights as the work progressed. What I want us all to be aware of is this: I think God wants us to welcome the stranger, especially those who are seeking safety and refuge.
The work MDS performs does not change the winds that cause disasters. The work MDS has performed here in San Benito will not change the shifting political winds in the home countries of asylum seekers, or in the countries in which they seek refuge. Like other MDS responses, this work will provide shelter for people who have suffered through a disaster. Expanding the capacity of this place will enable La Posada to provide that shelter to more people than before.
I am honored and thankful to be among the MDS volunteers and staff who have been entrusted with this opportunity. I will continue to pray for healing in Venezuela and other parts of the world where the winds of chaos and persecution drive people from their homes. I will continue to pray for La Posada and other places where refugees are welcomed into the shelter of God’s love and care.
Carl Dube is a Mennonite Disaster Service project director.