Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Pastor to Immigrants





Reflecting on the good things people have done reminds us that some people really do good things to help people they do not know.

An act of kindness can be a significant investment in the lives of others.

My story is about an Assemblies of God pastor. Rev. Fred Packer, of Vineland, NJ who met us at the dock in New York City, drove us down the NJ Turnpike, and welcomed us into his home for a few weeks until my dad found a job. After a few pay checks we were able to afford a small rental house. And dad bought his first car.

It wasn't just the pastor who helped us but he set the example. People in the church brought important stuff-- a cot for me, a chair, a radio. And a man at dad's new job gave him a ride to work until dad could afford to borrow funds for a used car.

Things got much better as the years went by. But you don't forget those people that gave you a fresh start. Americans who didn't know us but acted in accordance with their Christian faith.

Immigrants like us come to the U.S. with hopes and dreams but it takes a community to make those dreams come true. My dad never stopped giving back to the poor in South Jersey. When people initiate an act of kindness, it often becomes a seed yielding an abundance of good will for years to come.

Yes, I Realize...

I realize that not all immigrants are legal and some refugees might be terrorists but there are millions of good hard working people willing to invest their lives in their host countries. Many willingly give back.

I realize that some citizens of some countries object to foreigners of any sort but few of us have ancestors native to a particular piece on the planet --if we go back far enough in history.

I realize that as a child, I had little choice in coming to the U.S. I simply trusted my parents. Fortunately for me, my parents followed the legal procedures for entry.

Consider that children don't know much about why they are going to another country. And after years go by, returning is rarely a reasonable option when you've invested in a new culture. So what about the children, unlike me, whose parents did not follow legal procedures? Why punish the children? Why not offer them a chance to invest their lives in building a better country?

I realize we were Christians welcomed by a Christian church family. But hospitality is not limited to Christianity.

I realize not all people are trustworthy, industrious, and willing to pull their weight in society so I do not advocate a naive sentimental approach to immigration and settlement. But I do advocate an openness to welcome individuals and families-- my story is not unique.

I realize some clergy and church members do more harm than good. Bad news can be helpful to protect us and our family from evildoers.

Remember...

Many members of the clergy practice what they preach. And we may not hear their stories.

Clergy and other religious leaders can influence their congregations by setting an example.

Many church members are kind people who show their love in concrete ways.

Many conservative Christians do a lot of good.


Read more

I wrote about my experience- here a link to the story.






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