In the last few weeks, I have been thinking of myself and other immigrants while reading the story of the bleeding woman in the Biblical passage in Mark 5:25-34. In the past, I have posted my own immigration story, which included how difficult it is for undocumented immigrants like me to find a place in the church. As a woman of faith, I find the church to be a source of strength, community, encouragement, accountability, and fellowship. In other words, I love the body of Christ! I would not be who I am today without my brothers and sisters in Christ. At the same time, as an undocumented immigrant, with great pain I have experienced the unwillingness of some congregations to even talk about who God says immigrants are, and how the church should treat them.
Like the bleeding woman in the book of Mark, my immigration condition is something I cannot fix. Like the bleeding woman, I have seen professionals and sought help to adjust my status – but to no avail. Like the bleeding woman, I have felt the ostracizing effects of my condition. And like the bleeding woman, my heart is reaching out to the edge of Jesus’ garment, or in this case to His church. How I long for the church to acknowledge her undocumented members. Something as simple as publicly saying “Undocumented immigrants are loved and welcomed in this church” would begin the healing process for citizens and immigrants alike. Of course, if I could have my way, I would love it if every congregation became intentional in educating its members about the brokenness of our immigration system and the reality that many unauthorized migrants like me simply cannot adjust our status or return to our home countries. I believe my beloved church has the power to speak healing words to immigrants like me. I pray that she overcomes whatever is holding her back (shame, fear, resentment, busyness), and like our Savior may she boldly touch and acknowledge those of us who are “unclean.”
Eloisa Haynes is a guest contributor on G92.org.
Please note that the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of everyone associated with G92 or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated.