Oklahoma Southern Baptists aid detained migrants at border

U.S. border
Migrants and asylum seekers gather outside near the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico. |

Southern Baptists are heading to the southern border of the U.S. to minister to migrants presently being detained and in transition.

"They need help, and Oklahoma Baptists are on their way," Don Williams, director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Disaster Relief, said last week in an interview with The Oklahoman.

"Everybody has an opinion. Regardless of the politics, we are going to do what we are trained and equipped to do."

In partnership with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and a group of Texas Baptists, the Oklahoma disaster relief volunteers will be serving meals to detainees at the border. While the number of meals being prepared daily was 1,700, they have now been asked to prepare approximately 9,000 meals.

"The definition of disaster is not just a tornado or a hurricane. For us, it's anything that exceeds the capacity for someone or a local community to take of themselves. People need to eat. The system is strained so we're going to go help," Williams explained.

The Christian Post reached out to the General Convention for Oklahoma Baptists for additional comment but did not receive a response by press time.

Conditions at the border have come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks — most notably in a June 21 New York Times article about a Texas facility — and is set to be a contentious issue to be debated as the 2020 election season begins.

Prior to their efforts at the border, Oklahoma Baptists were helping flood victims in the Midwest.

Relief group Samaritan's Purse is also working on both sides of the border.

“Some of these people have been traveling for months and they have been through so much,” Franklin Graham, the group's president, said Tuesday.

“Samaritan’s Purse has teams on the border right now, and we are working with churches, evangelical Christian partners, and local officials to help alleviate the suffering of as many as we can.”

The relief organization is working in Del Rio, Texas — where reportedly 70 to 120 migrants are passing through each day — alongside the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition operating a transitional shelter for those seeking asylum who have been processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"Samaritan’s Purse is bringing in a kitchen trailer and recruiting volunteers to help serve and prepare meals. Most important, we will be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those passing through the center," the group reports.

"More than 8,000 migrants per day — men, women, and children — are arriving at the border as they flee poverty and lawlessness in their homelands. They have nowhere to stay and no way to feed and care for their children. Some are living in makeshift shelters on city streets in Mexico."

Chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association are also present, praying with and encouraging those providing care.

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