Pictured above: Trip participants sing, reflect on experience visiting Tijuana, Mexico.
Each quarter, the International Student Fellowship of Palmer Seminary highlights the Seminary’s current international mix in the form of a variety of worship experiences. On Tuesday afternoon, March 19, Palmer Seminary’s International Chapel focusing on“Walking in someone else’s shoes,” met in the side dining room of the American Baptist Churches USA Mission Center. The event allowed for shared learning between denominational leaders and staff and Palmer affiliates.
In January 2013, a travel course to Tijuana, Mexico, led by Dr. Mayra Picos-Lee, gave students the opportunity to experience the work of Ray and Adalia Schellinger-Gutierrez (Palmer alums and ABC missionaries) at Deborah’s House, assisting women and children who were victims of domestic violence. The students also had the opportunity to learn more about the immigration issues from US officials, as well as advocates (Border Angels) for those undocumented persons encountering human rights and other violations.
Reflecting on the trip, attendee Stephanie Wilson-Benson said, “We came to minister to the people, but instead they ministered to us. God flipped the script on us!”
The service was one of the first joint worship services attended by American Baptist denominational leaders and staff, as well as many Palmer Seminary students, professors, and staff since Palmer Seminary relocated to the Mission Center from Bala Cynwyd, PA, in August 2013.
In the opening welcome, Picos-Lee shared with worship attendees by saying, “Now that we share a building, we can share in many more things more physical than just this place.”
For this course, Palmer teamed up with American Baptist International Ministries to expose seminary students to International mission. There were three main goals for the students participating in the course: 1) a better cross-cultural understanding, including diversity, religious diversity, and different perspectives; 2) the dynamics of economics and how they affect migration; and 3) the role and function of faith in the community.
The group lived at Deborah’s House with 5 women and 13 children, and over the course of a week heard many stories about how these women are working to put their lives back together.
Along with pictures, student participants shared about the parts of the trip where God spoke to them in a real and lasting way.
- Alexia Timothy spoke about Border Angels, and reflected on the wall separating Mexico and the United States. Timothy said, “It’s not fair to treat people as they are not human when God created us all the same.” Timothy spoke of the hope provided by Border Angels, advocates for undocumented persons who encounter human rights and other violations.
- Michael Devine shared the story of the good Samaritan, and reminded listeners that the Samaritan had what he needed to help. Like the Samaritan, we also have what we need to reach out and help. The Samaritan didn’t need anything more, and neither do we. We can stop and help, right now.
Worship participants reflected on Matthew 25:31-36:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
– Matthew 25:31-36 (NRSV)