NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - “I love this window as a reminder that even Jesus was a refugee,” said Wanda Cuniff as she admired a stained glass window at the church where she serves.
The reminder serves Cuniff, a deacon at Nacogdoches Christ Episcopal Church, well as she travels hundreds of miles to the Texas-Mexico border. Her most recent journey was a fact-finding mission to serve asylum seekers.
“As a deacon, my role is to bring to the attention the church the needs of the world, so this trip was organized by the liaison office in Houston for Episcopal Migration Ministries," Cuniff said.
Eleven deacons and six friends traveled to the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Cuniff said.
“This is run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and we worked there all day at the respite center," Cuniff said.
The group then joined Team Brownsville where they crossed the bridge to a Matamoras plaza. Each day, about 150 refugees are served meals and care.
“My impression of the asylum seekers was they are confused and tired and, in some cases, slightly ill, worn out, weary, but wary,” Cuniff said.
Sponsors pay asylum seekers passage to places throughout the U.S.
Following this week’s violent attacks, Cuniff wonders if anywhere is safe for this special population.
"My fear is that we will become so numb to this because it happened three times last week. My job is to have hope and to proclaim love, so I do have hope,” Cuniff shared.
Cuniff shared that message of hope for a Sunday sermon. She rewrote it several times to avoid political overtones. She wants listeners to understand the humanitarian side of the border crisis.
Cuniff is wanting East Texans to consider humanitarian collections. Nacogdoches volunteers conducted one earlier this month. Cuniff will guide people on how to best conduct a collection drive. She can be reached at Christ Episcopal Church in Nacogdoches.