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San Antonio's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | San Antonio, Texas | KENS5.com

San Antonio church rents house in Mexico to keep migrants safe

When fleeing their countries, migrants often fall victim to violence, kidnappings. Wherever their final destination, a San Antonio church is helping from miles away.

SAN ANTONIO — Generally, we all want the same things, they may seem basic or simple: a place to sleep, food on the table. But for some migrants fleeing their home countries, running from poverty, hunger and death threats, those things are luxuries.

A small house in Mexico on the border with Guatemala provides basic things some migrant families need, most important of them – safety.

Licida, a woman from Honduras, runs the home. Licida told KENS5 she was raped, her family got death threats. She was forced to leave everything and everyone to keep them safe.

“I saw myself trapped, because he grabbed me by the neck,” she described the attack.

Licida shares her new temporary house with several families and two unaccompanied children, all forced to leave their lives in home countries.

“It’s not the same, staying in a shelter,” Licida said. “Here, we feel at home.”

“With all that, we’re able to survive,” Licida said.

The final destination is not always clear, but as they try to figure it out, they would be living on the streets in Mexico, if it weren’t for a pastor, thousands of miles away, at the San Antonio Mennonite Church.

With his congregation’s love fund, Pastor John Garland started renting the home and paying the bills several weeks ago.

“They were all calling us saying, could you please help, is there anything you can do to help? Because it is so dangerous here, we can't feed our children. The traffickers are always trying to pull people out of these public shelters and we don't know what to do,” he said.

Through years of work and ministry at his church, Pastor Garland is in touch with the asylum seeker community, that’s how Licida found him. And he connected her to strangers who happened to be in the same town, looking for help and shelter.

“The idea is that they can be safe in one place for the 45 days it takes to get a visa and proper documentation from the Mexican government, so that they're not exposed to all of the misinformation of the human traffickers and they're not exposed to the kidnappers,” Pastor Garland said. “This is their little church where they are creating safety for one another, supporting one another, holding each other's children, resting with one another, protecting one another.”