Aug 01 2014
August 1, 2014


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My daughter recently returned from her bi-annual Mexico mission trip.  Since she was about 6 years old she has joined other kids from her youth group going to the Tijuana area to work in orphanages and a women’s shelter sponsored by our church.  I am very grateful for her involvement in the program and the heart that she has for the kids in Tijuana.  She has become very attached to several of them and as she has grown older there has been an increased involvement with kids that are being raised in the Tijuana city dump.

Her mom and I always look forward to her safe return home but I personally have come to dread the topic of conversation and pictures that she brings home with her.

The pictures of the kids living in the orphanages will tug strongly at your heart.  The pictures of the kids living in the dump will break it.  In the early years we would listen to the stories of the kids trapped in desperate situations and then vow to adopt.  The only thing standing in our way was the government of Mexico, and the parents.  Many of the kids in the orphanages have been placed there by their parents who simply cannot afford to care for them.  Or, the kids are placed by the government because of abuse or neglect.  For an American family to adopt one of the kids is mission impossible.  As long as there are family members the kids cannot be adopted.

My wife and daughter and I have watched many of the kids grow up and out of the orphanages.  Frequently, the girls are removed from the orphanages by their families at around age 14 and put to work.  Typically not a good thing.

Here’s the toughest part for me.  I am energetically opposed to the illegal immigration of folks across our southern border.  I do not agree with granting amnesty to the folks that have made their way into our country illegally.  The problem for me is, I can understand why they did.  I cannot blame them for seeking to improve their lives or to provide for their families.  I would like to simply blame the governments of their home countries, but that doesn’t resolve the problem.

Approximately 760 kids from the recent border surge have been deposited in Tennessee.  The governor and I have no idea how many have been brought to Knoxville.  I do know that we already have a large Guatemalan population living in the Lonsdale area.

Here’s the really tough part.  One of my favorite Christian songs contains the line “break my heart for what breaks yours.”  It is much easier for me to throw a fit about illegal immigration than it is to allow my heart to be led.  I pray for God’s will to be done in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala as it is in Heaven.  And I pray for God’s will to be done in my conflicted heart.

-Fred Lee