So what exactly does it mean to be a “chapel and outreach ministry?”
Imagine a standard non-profit ministry to the vulnerable which also has a vibrant Christian life of eucharistic worship, daily prayer, and other pastoral services.
What does it look like day to day?
• We provide health care to the poor and to detained asylum seekers
• We offer pastoral and sacramental ministry to asylum seekers, the poor, and to those serving them on both sides of the border
• We are developing a refugee resettlement initiative
• We partner with various ministries (currently 3 – see below) on both sides of the border which serve immigrants, the poor, and the deaf
• We have a small K-3rd grade elementary school
• We celebrate the Eucharist together every Sunday evening
La Posada Providencia
La Posada serves as a transition shelter for immigrants and asylees after they have been processed through U.S. Customs. It is run by the Sisters of Divine Providence.
Our work with La Posada is quite varied. Daniel goes several times a week to teach ESL. Erica goes weekly to see any of the clients there that need to see a doctor. We do various other things to serve the Sisters in whatever capacity they need. This has included things such as special activities for the kids there, driving clients to the doctor, to the bus station, or to the immigration lawyer’s office, hearing confessions, pastoral counseling, digging holes for new buildings, machinery repair, and client advocacy.
Culture of Life
In 2013, Dr. Stephen Robinson noticed while working at his private practice in Raymondville, TX that the Affordable Care Act failed to provide legitimate health care for the poorest of the poor (of which the Rio Grande Valley is full). So he literally hung up a sign on a Church building in Harlingen offering free medical care.
Now, there are over 50 volunteers and thousands of patients who consider Culture of Life their primary healthcare provider. Erica began working with Dr. Robinson in 2016. She was their first regularly scheduled, licensed physician besides Dr. Robinson. In 2018, we renovated a downtown building to serve as office space, a chapel, and a clinic. So we now host one of the Culture of Life free clinics each week. We provide a second physician in addition to Erica to help with our clinic each week.
Much of Erica’s work is focused on health education and care of chronic illness through diet, exercise, and prayer habits. She has also been used by the Port Isabel Detention center to attend to women who are being held there. This has included such things as evaluating female genital mutilation to help those women in their cases for asylum.
Michael and Daniel lead a weekly healing and anointing service at the primary clinic location every Thursday.
Most Fridays, Michael travels to Reynosa, Mexico to lead the Isaiah 55 team in a communion service. It’s pretty incredible because the Isaiah 55 mission is located about 100 yards from the walls of Boys Town which is an area where “anything goes” (prostitution, drugs, you name it). Isaiah 55 works with the deaf, and with women and children living in the Boys Town area.
Other Things We Have Going on
The Trinity School
In the Fall of 2017, we opened The Trinity School with a class of 7 kindergarteners. In 2018, we added 1st and 2nd grades and so far, it looks like we are going to keep on going.
Our school is based on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education and is run in a one-room school house type model with multiple grades in the same classroom. Currently, we have 13 children, 2 teachers, a teacher’s aid, and a part-time Spanish teacher.
The Young Center
The Young Center is a champion for the rights and best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children, making sure that wherever they land, whether here in the U.S. or in their home country, they are safe.
Both Sara and Rebekah work with The Young Center as advocates for un-accompanied minors.