Written by Carla Flores, Ministry Apprentice
As part of my apprenticeship at Mission Adelante we have been discussing Jesus’ life in chronological order. This has helped me see the importance of His life and the great sacrifice He made when dying for us. Growing up I often thought about all the sacrifices my parents had taken to ensure my siblings and I had better opportunities. My mother and father had left behind everything and everyone they knew. They migrated to a place where the language, culture, and lifestyle were unfamiliar. I was aware of these things but never really took time to measure the impact it had on my family and me. It wasn’t until May 9th, 2017 when I really understood the weight of my parents’ sacrifices. My paternal grandfather had passed away, and there was no way my parents could go back to grieve, mourn, and say their last goodbyes. My father was in shambles - inconsolable. How would he have known that a decision he took 16 years ago would cause him to never see his father again?
This weighed down on me heavily. I thought about the decision my father took to migrate to the U.S. when I was just 3 years old. His immense love for me led him to leave his country and pick peaches in South Carolina at 26 years old. My father’s decision caused a spiral of decisions in my family. Shortly after, my mother and I followed him to the land of the free. It hurts to know that the last time my father saw my grandfather, he was in his mid-twenties. It hurts to know that I was the reason for that. Being 23 myself, I can’t imagine leaving my parents with the risk that I will never be able to see them again. But my parents, they took that risk for me. They believed that the opportunities I could have here were far greater than any sacrifice they had to make.
I am grateful for those sacrifices, I know that without them I would be a different person living in a different place. After my grandfather passed, I resented those sacrifices and myself. Were these sacrifices even worth it? A million times over, I wished we would have stayed in Mexico so that my father wouldn’t have suffered through the pain of not seeing his father again. I wished I could’ve gotten the chance to meet my grandfather. As I was thinking over these things something dawned on me. The sacrificial love immigrant parents have for their families is a reflection of the sacrificial love that Jesus had for us when He died on the cross. Jesus endured extreme pain and humiliation on the cross for our salvation. My parents and many others like them have endured pain and humiliation in hopes of providing their families with better opportunities.
The outcome of Jesus’ pain and suffering was to save His children from condemnation. He wanted His children to live joyously and free. My parents have endured pain and suffering, not only on their migration here, but also as a result of the decision to migrate here. This pain was not in vain. My father made that decision so that his children would live joyously and free. Although it was difficult, my parents were right. The opportunities I have now are all thanks to their sacrifice. Similarly, the salvation I have now would not have existed if Jesus had not laid down His life for us. The sacrificial love immigrant parents express when migrating is a reflection of God’s sacrificial love for us.
I know that my father’s experience is not a unique one. Many immigrants can’t go back to their countries due to their status. This means that important moments are missed like funerals and weddings. The pain of being an immigrant doesn’t just happen once - it can occur over a whole lifetime. I am thankful that God showed me this connection and I am able to see my parents’ sacrifices through a new lens. Sacrifices are painful and difficult but they bring new beginnings and redemption. Please continue to pray over our immigrant community, the sacrifices they make, and the pain they endure.
Have you ever wondered what goes on at a typical night of programming at Mission Adelante? Adelante Arts Community, Refugee Kids Club, Refugee Youth Club, Citizenship Class, Latino ESL, Teens Adelante, and Kids Adelante have Observation Nights coming up! Visit www.missionadelante.org/observe to sign up!
Do you speak English? Many of our community members don’t but would love to learn and practice with you! We are in need of ESL volunteers for our spring trimester. Come make friends from other places and help them learn a new language! If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our website at http://www.missionadelante.org/esl