It had been a busy day at the Sacred Heart Immigration Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. Approximately 65 clients in the morning and another 25, give or take, in the afternoon wave. We had found a clean change of clothes for everyone from the mountains of donations, given everyone a comforting bowl of soup donated by the Salvation Army, provided new toiletries and an opportunity to shower. The confused, dirt-smudged faces had been replaced by clean, easier smiles. Small children who had walked in clutching fast to their parent’s bodies were now running around being little kids again – giggly, shouty, playful.
Some had already returned to the Greyhound bus station to continue their journey on to family ‘sponsors’ scattered across the country. Others were resting in the cool ‘desert storm’ like tents in the parking lot. The volunteer crew was cleaning up and chatting with the clients – hearing their stories, sharing some love.
At some point it became clear that there was going to be an unexpectedly larger number of clients staying overnight, as their tickets out of McAllen weren’t until the next day. What to do about feeding 20+ that was not foreseen? Thaw out some more soup? Order take-out pizza? Pick up some tacos at the place around the corner?
Just as the center coordinator was about to call in a pizza order, two women walked in asking if we could take food donations. Yes! They were catering a dinner for 40 that had been cancelled at the last minute and didn’t want the food to go to waste. This was nothing short of a miracle. I still cannot believe it happened, and yet it somehow seemed inevitable and perfect. Amazed, I sat up and took notice: miracles happen at that center every single day. Some are more obvious than others. What a privilege it was to witness God so clearly and purposefully in action!