I met Anita when she came months ago to our church for assistance with her five children she is raising on her own on less than $500 a month.
She came for groceries, clothing, and prayer. We ask each person how we can pray for them, and nearly all want prayer and are grateful for it.
Anita came in one day with her five children, and she was pregnant with the sixth. Jerry, who leads up our food distribution, and the other guys in the food pantry carried a dozen sacks of groceries to Anita’s car. We prayed with her in our prayer center.
Then it was a number of weeks before I saw her again. She came in again one day, but this time I asked her to help us translate for the twenty or so Hispanic families that came in during the morning. I don’t speak Spanish, except to fumble through some greetings and parrot some things people say. I say that rather than saying “they don’t speak English” because I had my chance to learn Spanish in school and sqaundered the opportunity.*
So Anita translated English to Spanish for me as we prayed with several families.
Then I saw Anita on the street corner one day. She was with two of her children. She was holding up a sign. I thought she was panhandling, so I pulled up to see what her sign said. It was on the Day for Immigrants in May 2006.
At the corner near our church that day, Anita had a cardboard sign that read, “This land is our land, too.”
I was moved and pulled into the parking lot, got out and went over to her and her children. She didn’t recognize me. She thought I was an “authority” or a bank employee, whose property was nearby. “Are you going to kick me out?” she asked me.
“No, I’m Greg. Remember me from the church?” I said.
She got a look of recognition and relief all at once.
“I just want to thank you for what you are doing and say I support what you are saying by demonstrating,” I told her.
“I wanted to go to the rally downtown but didn’t have enough money for gas to get there,” Anita said.
I smiled and said I’ll see her some other time.
The next time I saw Anita was in late July, and she had come to the food pantry again and was coming closer to her due date. We sat and talked in the prayer center. Was she a green card holder? “Oh!” she said, “I’m an American citizen; my father was a pipeline worker who met my mother in Ecuador. My mother is from Ecuador.”
I asked her if she had a church. She said she really wanted one, that she wanted to take the children but they didn’t like going where they spoke so much Spanish. John, one of our elders, and I took her around to see the children’s classrooms and explained to her that she could bring them. They would love it.
Anita said she was nervous about coming to a church by herself, so I said I’d meet her at the lobby and show her to the children’s classes then take her to my class where I’m teaching on parenting. She was elated to hear that and wanted more on parenting.
She didn’t show up Sunday. I wonder if she was having her sixth baby.