Being with people in moments of difficulty and moments of rejoicing is part of God honouring ministry. Many migrant workers leave their homes and come to Canada or other countries looking for work to support their families. The sacrifice is significant as wives and children and family and friends are left behind for many months. Some churches in SW Ontario try to become a replacement family during the workers time away from home. This can involve welcoming workers into homes for a shared meal or participating in a special event on Father’s Day when all the men are far from their families. And For Mexican workers, it can be a celebration of Independence Day in September with Mexican food, music and laughing and sharing together. It can involve going to Mexico to rejoice together with Jorge and Amalia at their wedding.
But being there is very much needed without ever leaving Canada to support and encourage someone. It can mean talking to a boss so a worker can ask permission to spend two weeks at home because his wife has been involved in a major accident or a parent has suffered a stroke. It can mean taking the workers to Western Union to get money to his family to meet an urgent need. It can mean packing some snacks for the flight home since airport food is expensive. This week being there was important to Jorge when he learned that his wife had been injured in an accident, in the hospital and does not know her family members. Listening, talking to the boss, making trips to send money, sending out information to contacts by email all were necessary. Most important was the opportunity to hug Jorge and pray with him and let him know that although he felt alone, he was not alone.
Being there is important for rejoicing or weeping with those who live next door, in the same apartment building or at the same workplace. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans encouraging them to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15. Who will you rejoice with or weep with this week?