Home.

So, it’s been kinda quiet over here on My Gringa Life – sorry! My Real Life has been a bit insane this fall. The biggest news being that, as of this morning, we officially closed on our first home! We are thrilled and terrified – the normal mix of emotions for most first time homebuyers ūüėČ

I am beyond excited for what this means for our ministry as a family. Ever since our wedding, we’ve cramped youth groups and small groups and families visiting into our tiny apartments.¬†We recognize that the Lord provided this house and our desire is that He would be glorified with ministry that will happen within it’s walls.

I stumbled upon a beautiful blessing and couldn’t resist sharing. May this be our heart’s desire each day we are gifted with this home:

Dios mío bendice mi casa, para que sea un hogar de amor y de la paz.

Bendice la puerta abierta como dos brazos extendidos que dan la bienvenida.

Bendice las ventanas que dejan entrar el sol cada ma√Īana y por donde se asoman las estrellas que son luces de esperanza.

Bendice los muros que nos defienden del viento, del frío y que son nuestros amigos en las horas que pasan.

Bendice nuestra mesa y los sitios de trabajo para que nos ayudes y el lugar de reposo para que nos guardes.

Bendice el techo que cobija los afanes de hoy y los sue√Īos de ma√Īana y que guarda para siempre entre los vivos¬†la memoria sagrada de los que se han ido.

Bendice los sentimientos, las ternuras, los anhelos que florecerán en nuestras vidas.

Bendice nuestros pensamientos para que sean puros, las palabras para que sean rectas, nuestros actos para que nos conduzcan hacia Tí.

Bendice nuestras horas de paz y de silencio, para que fortalezcamos juntos nuestro espíritu.

Bendice nuestros dolores y alegrías porque son el corazón de la familia.

Se√Īor qu√©date con nosotros¬†

en tu morada

en nuestra casa….

Amén.

 

Lord, bless our house, that it may be a home full of love and peace.

Bless the open door, may it be as two welcoming arms opened wide.

Bless the windows that let the sun in each morning and let the stars that are bright with hope peek in.

Bless the walls that defend us from the wind, the cold and are our friends in the hours that pass.

Bless our table and help us in the places where we work and protect us in the places we rest.

Bless the roof that blankets the cares of today and the dreams of tomorrow. That it may always protect the holy memory of the lives that have gone.

Bless the feelings, the tenderness, the longings that will flourish in our lives.

Bless the thoughts that we have, may they be pure. The words that we use, that they may be correct and that our actions would lead us to You.

Bless our hours of peace and silence, that they would strengthen our spirits. 

Bless our hurts and our joys because they are the heart of the family.

Lord, stay with us

in your dwelling

in our house…

Amen.

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Finding an Immigrant-Friendly Church

When we first visited our church community, many people asked us “How’d you find out about us?” I think most people were taken¬†aback when I let them know that it was because of the denomination’s stance on immigration.

See, we’re an immigrant family. And though we’re done with the legal process, we cannot forget the eternal call we have as Christians to love and serve the foreigner among us. We were excited to find a church who’s heart to serve the foreigner aligned with ours.

Last year, I bumped into our Associate Pastor at Trader Joe’s. She was serendipitously perusing the goat cheese section as well. We started chatting about ways our church could think outside of the box and be intentionally serving the greater community. I mentioned to her that our immigration journey was TOUGH and that there’s a¬†lack of resources for those on a similar journey in our area.

We went out and started researching the need and what other churches have done in similar situations. It turns out that the body of Christ is doing amazing things as they answer this ever-present call to love the foreigner among us!

Organizations like Immigrant Hope and The Immigration Alliance are empowering local churches to become legal advocates for their immigrant neighbors. After many discussions over chips and queso, ODIS (Open Door Immigration Services) has been birthed as an official non-profit – the first legal service site for the Evangelical Covenant Church. Holla!!

To share this news with our church family, our pastor recently challenged our congregation to do two things in light of this call:

  1. Pray for 40 days (check out the I Was a Stranger Challenge Toolkit).
  2. Learn 2 immigrants’ stories.

So simple, yet somehow in that still, quiet time with the Lord and in a personal relationship, our worlds expand.

We had the opportunity to help our church family with part of their homework by providing the first of the two immigrant stories they’d been tasked to learn. You can hear the awesome sermon and my shaky voice here ūüôā

Not every church is called to provide legal assistance to their immigrant neighbors. Maybe there are already plenty of resources in your community – awesome! BUT every church is called to be the body of Christ to every person in their community. No matter what their status, race, or religion.

Genesis 1:27 says “So God created mankind in his own image” – we are called to love our neighbors exactly as they are created to be. Image bearers of God. If a church body believes this, they will take seriously the call love and serve the foreigner among them.

How is your church an “immigrant friendly” congregation?