One Great Hour of Sharing: Love restores the lives of immigrants
The members of Iglesia Bautista Betesda, Indianapolis, are living 1 Corinthians 13:13—“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”—showing love by helping immigrants who come to the United States, fleeing poverty and violence in their homelands.
According to the church’s pastor, the Rev. Jaime Flores, most of the immigrants the church aids are from Honduras, while others are from Nicaragua, Mexico and El Salvador. In 2021, the church helped 40 immigrant families by meeting transportation, translation, informational and financial needs.
Flores, himself, has driven families to immigration hearings in Chicago. He recalls a mother with two daughters who immigrated to Miami before relocating to Indianapolis. When the family was summoned to appear before a Miami judge, Flores rented a car and drove them nearly 1,200 miles from Indianapolis to Miami where they were granted political asylum. In another instance, a family was summoned to a hearing in Houston. So Flores drove the family more than 1,000 miles from Indianapolis to Houston, where the case was won.
“I have a passion to do this because I crossed the border 40 years ago,” says Flores. “I know the pain that immigrants have in their hearts. I was an immigrant without documentation. A church in California helped me.”
Grants from American Baptist Home Mission Societies provide the resources for this ministry, Flores says. Furthermore, Iglesia Bautista Betesda has helped other churches to serve immigrants. Flores recalls an instance in which, at the request of another pastor, he drove a family to a hearing in Chicago. Unlike bivocational pastors whose time for ministry is limited, Flores says he, as a full-time pastor, is able to devote himself to immigration ministry.
“For me, when I say, ‘I love my community’ without doing anything, it is in vain. The love that we say, we show them [immigrants]. People are so grateful. They appreciate it. I receive gifts at Christmas and birthdays because they never forget,” he says. “What we do, we do for the Lord. We plant a seed in their heart, and we show them that American Baptists, Iglesia Bautista Betesda and Jaime Flores are there for them in any way they need.”
Love restores. When you give to One Great Hour of Sharing, you restore the lives of immigrants.