A letter to his home church from Larry Trent
As I said in prayer time and you mentioned in the prayer request earlier, I did go to Adelanto three times last week. I visited Omar, Osman and Nicholas.
Omar, thirty-two a gay man from Senegal, who will surely be killed by his parents if he is deported, continues to wait on an answer from the appeals court in Alexandria, Virginia in regards to his appeal. The waiting is very difficult and is taking a toll on him. I continue to try to assure him that we must have hope. As a person of faith, I live with hope. Each visit, I try to assure him that we are with him through this no matter what. Nevertheless, it is a difficult situation. He continues to covet our prayers.
Osman is a transgender man from Honduras. He is, unfortunately, housed in the women’s section. I struggled to understand Osman. He speaks so fast! He has several good folks visiting him, all of whom are better Spanish speakers than I, so I will not make visits to him as a regular thing. I did tell him if he needed someone to appear at hearings to let me know. The interesting thing to note was his amazement at the fact that I am a GAY Minister to Migrants and there is a church that is supportive of gay migrants.
Nicholas is a gay man from Jamaica. He traveled, with his brother who is also gay, to Tijuana by way of Panama and Mexico City in a plane and then through Mexico by bus. When the two of them presented themselves at the border asking for asylum, the two were separated. He was told his brother is in detention in Colorado. I have been unable to verify that. He passed his credible fear hearing two weeks ago — a good first step. He has a hearing tomorrow morning. I’m unable to attend. He doesn’t have a lawyer, nor a sponsor. I’m sending a message to our Adelanto Visitation Group asking for help with this. It is imperative that he have a lawyer early in this process!
On another note, I will be making a visit to the GLBTQ shelter in Tijuana on Friday the 15th. I am looking forward to learn about this shelter and develop a relationship with them.
One thing I am coming to recognize is that I am becoming known as the person to visit the GLBTQ Migrants — the gay Minister to Migrants. I am proud to be that person. I think it speaks a lot to the core values of Westwood Hills Congregational, an a Open and Affirming Church. I have said many times, many churches declare themselves to be ONA. However, the real “test” is how does the church live into that statement. Our statement to GLBTQ Migrants that we support them with visits, with money on their phone accounts, with notes of encouragement, and definitely with our prayers is part of how we live into that statement. I am proud and grateful to be in this ministry with Westwood.
I often publish Larry’s stories about his travels of body and heart to support migrants, as well as the homeless population of Los Angeles. (In my morning prayers every day I pray for “Larry and all the Miguels and all the Angies” those being the first two stories I read of people living in those two worlds.) And today my prayer is this:
Migrant Gay God,
despised and rejected by others;
familiar with suffering and acquainted with pain,
Trans-Redeemer of us all
from whom so many hide their faces,
you are oppressed and afflicted,
victim of perversions of justice,
in the many lands of your birth
and the land of your refuge.
All we like sheep
are led astray by our own concerns
and you bear their suffering —
your sweet and precious
in the immigration injustice
of this country, waiting for hope.
Help us to imagine a new future
that includes people like
Omar, Osman, Nicholas
in the land of the living. amen.
(from Isaiah 53)