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“For Such a Time as This:” A Story of Second-Generation Salvadoran American

“Each one of you is to be God’s microphone.”

These are the words of Oscar Romero (1917-1980), the fourth archbishop of San Salvador and an advocate for the oppressed during the Salvadoran Civil War. He was martyred in 1980 while celebrating Mass in the Chapel of Divine Providence Hospital.

The day after the election, I had never felt so genuinely afraid in my life.

As a second-generation Salvadoran-American, I have always had the privileges of being a citizen of the US. As a pastor’s kid, I grew up in a Latino Pentecostal church in which most of the members were undocumented immigrants from Central America. Many had fled to this country in search of safety, opportunity, and a fresh start to life.  However, even though I was surrounded by immigrants, the struggle of the immigrant life never truly impacted me growing up. That all changed in the 2016 Presidential election. The day after the election, I had never felt so genuinely afraid in my life.

That experience forced me as a Christian to repent of my apathy, silence, and unwillingness to speak up against injustice. In the process, I came across the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice, whose resources helped me think about immigration and refugee resettlement from a biblical perspective. 

I knew I needed to speak up.

I was awestruck at how much God had to say concerning his love for the sojourner. For example: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18) The list goes on and on, especially when we consider how God has used migration for his purposes in the history of redemption.

In June 2019, I moved to Birmingham, AL to begin my seminary studies at Beeson Divinity School (Samford University). In July, I was alarmed by reports that the current administration wanted to shut down the refugee resettlement program. In response, I knew I needed to speak up.

The book of Esther relates how a Jewish girl became the queen of Persia and saved her people from a plot of total destruction. When Mordecai, Esther’s older cousin, learns about the plot, he pleads with Esther to speak up.“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

For such a time as this. That was when I knew God needed me to speak up. I needed to be God’s microphone for such a time as this.

In all honesty, I went into the meeting not knowing what to expect.

Through the help of the CRC’s Office of Social Justice, I was able to organize a meeting with Representative Gary J. Palmer, who serves Alabama’s 6th Congressional District. In all honesty, I went into the meeting not knowing what to expect. Accompanied by six other students from Beeson, I made our request clear: we wanted Rep. Palmer to protect the refugee resettlement program. We wanted the administration to admit at least 95,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2020, which has been the average over the past several decades. Finally, we wanted the administration to protect the right for immigrants to seek asylum at our U.S. southern border.

Most importantly, however, we made it clear why we were there. The key to faithful biblical advocacy is to remind yourself and those whom you are meeting with as to your biblical convictions. 

For those of you who are hesitating to reach out to your elected officials, I have a few suggestions:

  1. Take courage. This was the first time I met with my representative, and it was not perfect. I am convinced that God is honored by the fact that you are speaking up and living out the implications of the Gospel (Luke 11:28).

  2. Remember that it is God who establishes and removes kings (Daniel 2:21). Not every representative is going to be sympathetic to your request. You have to trust that God is the one who changes the hearts of rulers to do his will (Proverbs 21:1). 

  3. To that end, pray for your elected officials, asking that they would honor God by pursuing biblical justice (1 Timothy 2:2).

  4. Finally, rest in the reality that Christ has defeated the powers of darkness through his death, resurrection, and ascension (1 Peter 3:22). God is sovereign over every detail of our lives, and he has power over all the systems of injustice. He has prevailed, and we are called to proclaim that in our own day.

(Isaiah is pictured center right)

For further reading Isaiah recommends  M. Daniel Carroll Rodas, Christians at the Border, and Karen Gonzalez, The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong 

Are you interested in organizing or being a part of a legislative meeting about immigration issues? Reach out to Melissa Stek, Justice Mobilization Specialist, at or use our Biblical Advocacy 101 guide. 

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