My name is Dwight Gingerich and I am a youth sponsor for Anthony Villatoro at church and his guidance counselor at school. Anthony is a terrific young guy.
I have to tell you it is still so hard to think that Max Villatoro, who just gave a sermon at our church several weeks ago, is in this situation. He is a special man of God, his heart is so open to following Jesus in his life. I pray for Max today that he will experience God's abiding peace as he goes through this uncertain time.
It is sad that it has taken this situation for so many, including myself, to realize how broken our system is. It is my belief that it is for people like Max that the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty were intended: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
If you have a dollar bill with you, please take it out and look at it. On our dollar bill we see the words "In God we Trust". Right now we trust God completely with Max. At the same time, we ask our government to consider God's laws which supersede all laws created by our leaders who we respect and who's efforts to lead we appreciate.
From Leviticus 19: When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. And from Zechariah 7:9-10 ...show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor. And finally from Matthew 25:35: For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
President Obama, Senator Grassley, Senator Ernst, and Congressman Loebsack, I plead with each of you to abide by the higher law of God's love and justice over the laws of humankind in this moment, for if Max is to go back to Honduras, our government is in effect creating another widow and more fatherless children. Max is a great father to his children, he is a loving husband to his wife, he is a mentor to so many in his church. Why unnecessarily separate what is good and what we believe God has joined together?
We implore our leaders to do the hard work of sifting through all of this and to genuinely seek God's will for Max and others in his situation. And I implore each of us here today to be willing instruments through which God may work to achieve God's ultimate purpose in this situation.
That dollar bill you have? Would you be willing to share that with the Villatoro family today? If so, please push your dollar bill toward me and it will go directly to the family to help them. Their father is not here to provide for them right now. Ultimately we are their community, let's respond. May God have mercy. Amen.