By Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank
I met her when she was about 10 years old. It was at The Inn and she was sitting at a table playing games with her two younger siblings. As they played, she naturally took on the role of a teacher, guiding her little brother and sister in choosing numbers, letters, and colors and explaining everything she knew about each game, task, or choice. Another thing that surprised me was that she used some words in English, asking her siblings to repeat the words in this new language.
She told me her story. They came with their mother and had to leave their home suddenly and quickly. Her eyes got big as she remembered that fearful moment when danger was very near. And she told me about the long journey on the bus and walking through two countries. She smiled and said, “We were ok. Mom was always there.” As she said this, she lowered her eyes and looked over at her mother on the other side of the room, a deep love swelling up in her eyes. And then she looked back at me and told me about the detention center they had just left. “It was so cold, like an icebox,” she said. Her body visibly shivered with the memory.
She looked back at her brother and sister, jumped up, and restarted a movie that they had been watching before. It was a Disney movie, in English. I let her know that we had movies in Spanish, but she shook her head, saying, “We are learning English. I am teaching them.”
I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and without hesitation, she said, “A teacher!” Her smile was wide, her dream was deep, her love was sure. Her life was about teaching.
We chatted some more. About mundane things, about her excitement to be here, and about what shape her life was going to take. She shared freely and openly, as young children do.
As I walked away, I thought, “She’ll be a great teacher.” And I whispered a prayer, “Please God, don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of the dream you gave her.”
Children, teens, and students arrive in our country every day, and they have hopes to live in peace SO THAT they can make dreams come true. Thanks to DACA, and thanks to DSC scholarships, beloved young souls can learn and grow as they become part of our world.
Everyone is on a journey. Even you and I. But some need a boost along the way. And so, we give, as Christ has given to us. Thank you for the gift that sustains the travelers and the learners and the home-seekers among us. Your generosity is like the heartbeat of God to those on the long journey.
You can support the 2022 Annual Conference Mission Project, “The Long Journey” by donating online at https://bit.ly/2022MissionProject or mailing checks to Desert Southwest Conference at P.O. Box 32830, Phoenix, Arizona 85064. Please enter 2022 Mission Project in the memo line. Thank you for your support. Questions about the mission project may be sent to Billie Fidlin, Director of Justice & Outreach at firstname.lastname@example.org.