Church of God Serves in Border Zone

For several months the Church of God has had an active presence in El Paso, Texas, one of the busiest border crossings between the United States and Mexico. The ministry in El Paso is taking place during one of the most politically-charged times in American history as it pertains to immigration and individuals crossing the U.S. border seeking a better life for them and their families.

Church of God General Overseer Tim Hill and the Executive Committee discussed the crisis during their monthly meeting held last week.

“No matter how you believe the situation should be handled or what the solution may be, the harsh reality is there are thousands of refugees crossing every day – legal or not – and the burden on cities near the border is staggering,” Hill stated.

Osvaldo and Maribel Velasquez

On July 9, the Executive Committee met via Skype with Pastor Maribel and Osvaldo Velasquez. Together they serve at the El Elyon Church in El Paso. At the government’s request, the Velasquez’s have opened up their facilities at the El Elyon Church of God where they feed and house 60 people per day. Rows of cots occupy where the congregation used to gather for worship. Supplies overflow Sunday School rooms. Wear and tear on the facility shows from the 24,000 meals served and the just under 8,000 immigrants who have passed through the doors of El Elyon in just four months.

This situation has created a great hardship on the congregation, many of whom have left due to the level of commitment needed to serve the migrants, either through volunteer labor, provisions, or finances. To help assist the El Paso church, more than $15,000 in goods and finances has been given so far by the Texas Hispanic Offices, Covenant Ministry Team, and the Executive Committee. The Church of God’s Operation Compassion has sent numerous trucks of supplies.

“The Skype conversation with the Velasquez’s was informative, inspiring, and heartbreaking — all at the same time,” Hill continued. “The Church of God is committed to assisting the El Paso church and others like it as we navigate through this difficult and trying period.”

In an effort to best address the needs of the region as the situation continues, Hill has appointed Administrative Liaison to the General Overseer Dusty Wilson to serve as the connection to the El Elyon Church and those serving in the area. Wilson has visited the border zone twice and will return early next month with a crew of leaders to further investigate ways to assist.

Additional updates on the situation will be posted on Faith News as warranted. To inquire about relief efforts, including ways of assisting financially, email [email protected], or call (423) 478-7176.

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