At Sierra Vista, I met Gayla Ortega, a worship pastor and pastor’s wife who showed me where the congregation shelters the asylum-seekers, all of them families. Since May, the church has taken in 16 people a week. It began with a conviction that weighed so hot and heavy on Gayla’s heart that she couldn’t sleep. She said she had been reading the news what was happening at the border, and she felt God telling her, “It’s time to put action into prayer.”
So one Sunday morning after the church service, she stepped to the pulpit and told her congregation to pray for three days about what they could do to help. The following Wednesday, the church community responded by stuffing the church lobby with stacks of donations—diapers, bags, nonperishable foods, bottled water, clothes … Ever since then, the congregation has been opening its doors to asylum-seekers from all over Latin America and Africa, and it intends to do so for as long as needed.
After Gayla and I spoke for a while, she asked me, “Which publication do you work for again?”
“WORLD Magazine,” I said.
The wheels began turning in her brain: “Wait … Did you … did you write that article about the migrants?”
I was confused: “Huh?”
Gayla started looking excited “There’s an article I read from WORLD Magazine that I’ve been telling everyone to read,” she said. “That’s the article that convicted me to get involved!” Then she grabbed my hand, led me to her office, and whipped out a printed copy of WORLD Magazine from her cabinet. The cover story, dated April 27, was my report this year from Tijuana, Mexico, about the growing border crisis.