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Missio Dei

God and a Green Card

Offering love and legal advice to immigrants


Author: Ben Messer

This past April, over three dozen Latino and African parents and children tried to sit comfortably at elementary school cafeteria tables while men in suits explained the fundamentals of immigration law. Covenant Life member Chip Grange, an attorney who serves with Good Samaritan Advocates (GSA), had coordinated the presentation in order to reach out to the immigrant community whose children attend South Lake Elementary School in Gaithersburg.  He received remarkable support from the school’s assistant principal, Dr. Trevor Liburd, who singlehandedly organized invitations to the program, opened the building, and moved the presentation into the cafeteria when it overflowed the 25-seat library.

Once the two immigration attorneys had finished their presentation, families queued up to talk with GSA volunteers and have their questions answered. They were also invited to complete applications to attend the free legal aid clinic that GSA provides at Covenant Life on the second Saturday of each month.

By 9:30 that evening, an hour after the event was scheduled to end, the last questions were answered. When the numbers were in, GSA had distributed 25 applications and scheduled 13 appointments for the clinic - a very full docket.

But this is when the evening’s real ministry began. Opportunities to care for the spiritual needs of these families presented themselves as well.  One of the lawyers had been talking to the last woman in his line about her immigration situation, but it became clear that the bigger cause of her stress and worry was the recent passing of her mother abroad. She began to weep as she talked about how difficult it was to carry on for her children without her own mother. Recruiting one of the other volunteers to join him, the lawyer prayed with this woman for strength and courage, and thanked God for the wonderful relationship she had shared with her mother. When her tears dried, she thanked them and went on her way.

As the GSA volunteers cleaned up from their successful evening, they were left pondering all of the other precious families they were serving who, just like that woman, need God even more than they need a green card.

For more information, visit the GSA page.


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