emmanuel-amonposah-story1.jpgBrothers and Sisters,

Greetings and many blessings from San Antonio, Texas.

Truthfully, we are living in strange times. Nevertheless, I am humbled by the reality that despite the pandemic, the opportunity to engage in an advanced summer ministry internship through Candler and serve within the Rio Texas Conference’s Mission, Service, & Justice Ministries department in San Antonio was afforded to me.

In terms of my work, the goal of my internship has been to capture insights and perspectives, through interviews, from those involved within the conference and beyond, working in the areas of direct service, hospitality connections, legal support, and advocacy for those seeking asylum. The core theme of these interviews is to answer the following question: “How does one truly welcome the stranger/neighbor from a foreign/distant land?"

These past months that I’ve been in Texas, I’ve conversed with executive directors of non-profit organizations (Mission Border Hope, Justice for Our Neighbors, Laredo Holding Institute), district superintendents of The United Methodist Church, and migrant families across the Texas – Mexico Border. Though most of my work has been from a distance (Zoom), and although I have not visited the border or the people I’ve interviewed in person, I am grateful for the opportunity.

The internship in the context of the pandemic, has, therefore,  been one that has been based on sheer willpower, ingenuity, optimism, and a constant effort and hope to make connections and meaningful conversations, despite the distance and divide that the pandemic has placed on the world: this, I believe, has made us anxious, fearful, and frustrated along the way.

Initially, I felt frustrated and cheated out of my internship, telling myself: “My God, is this what you had planned out for me? is this all that you envisioned for me when you guided my soul to apply for this internship?” God, in my eyes, then, had become a “crappy planner.” I wanted to go out and explore the Rio-Grande Valley, visit migrant camps, cross the border, and so on, but I believed that God did not allow me to do so. BUT I was gravely mistaken for feeling this way. 

I was blaming my “crappy” experience on God, condemning Him for not fashioning the internship in the manner in which I wanted: I wanted an entire meal, but God, at the time, was giving me leftovers! I thought to myself. But the folly that I had fallen into was not having confidence in Him.

So, what did I do to remedy this disposition? I prayed hard, and in what many may consider the “dark night of the soul,” I came to understand that when all hope seemed to be fleeting, when nothing else was there, at least God is with me. He is always everywhere with me. In the dark night of the soul, He was with me, so I need not be worried. I need not be frustrated: I had to realize that GOD expected only from me a plan, a solution to my frustrations and that He expected me to do my part and present something in which HE can manifest himself. Looking at the many interviews and conversations that I’ve conducted and reflecting on their relevance to the Church and the Gospel’s mission, I have since reevaluated my statement that God is a “crappy” planner, to, “God is not a crappy planner.”

emmanuel-amonposah-story2.jpgIndeed, IF THIS IS GOD’S PLAN, THEN GOD IS NOT A CRAPPY PLANNER! Though the virus has been fueled by fear and has made a great many of us selfish, I have come to know that many agree that this pandemic presents an opportunity for God to be a light in the midst of these dark times. However, for this to happen, we must look beyond the concern for our selfish desires and of ourselves and awaken to this opportunity. Verily, It was not until I realized that this pandemic in the context of my internship represented an opportunity to help and reach the migrant and bring about transformation in the hearts of communities, did I fully embrace God’s plan.   

Truthfully, I believe that God brought me to San Antonio so that He could strengthen my identity as a disciple of Jesus Christ, to engage in a dialogue that brings about attention, clarity, and alleviation towards human suffering, and to widen my vision of justice, freedom, and peace in the context of migration, and in the context of my often persecuted neighbor. This plan represents the core values of the Rio Texas Conference’s Mission, Service, & Justice Ministries department, and I believe that I have fully lived up to them. 

Though the pandemic is far from over and you, God, have made the road rough, I believe that you have set your course for us to receive your light eventually! And it is in you that we continue to pray for the healing of our world. Indeed, you will restore the hearts and minds of the people you loved first, because in them, are we saved by your Grace.