This is a list (by first name and country of origin) of people being held in immigration detention in Minnesota who have asked for our prayers. The list is compiled by Conversations with Friends, a project that invites volunteers to provide visits, writes cards and letters to people in immigration custody. CWF also provides safe release and accompaniment to people who have been detained. We are proud to partner with Conversations with Friends through our SJA Justice Grants, made possible by donations to our Outreach Fund. FFI/to volunteer, please go to conversationswithfriendsmn.org.
From Steve Kraemer, director of Conversations with Friends, following a visit to Freeborn County Jail:
After about forty-five minutes of each of our two one-hour visits during the evening, we typically gather together for some community time, sharing a joke or two in Spanish and English, singing a song in Spanish and another in English (e.g. "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," thanks to St. Joan of Arc), and then gathering in a circle, interlocking arms as we recite a prayer of solidarity in Spanish and English.
Just after the prayer and before the final announcement of the evening this past Sunday night, one gentleman from Somalia raised his hand and said he wanted to say a few words. He said that when he first arrived in Freeborn (that was back in December of 2017), he was quite depressed and hopeless about his situation, but after attending the CWF visits, receiving regular letters from his pen pal and participating in CWF's various other programs, he knows that there are good people who truly care about him and he thanked us. As he walked out of the room, he added that we will all be truly rewarded by God, there'll be a special place for us.
I reflect on the words of a recent homily where the pastor said that mercy is entering into the chaos of another person's life. And I think about our merciful God. Each time that we are truly merciful to God's children, we are demonstrating God's mercy and I believe that the Living God is there among us. Similarly, when people are suffering, truly in a state of chaos, God must be grieving, aching, and yet offers a special reward, a special place. And so, this Freeborn classroom, this place of the suffering and the merciful, is sacred, holy ground.
Thank you for your prayer ministry!