On July 2, Raul Lopez, attended his final asylum hearing and was granted asylum with a packed court of 67 people! We have been praying for this outcome since we first met his family as their accompaniment team while he was in detention in 2019, and he has been waiting for this day since he first filed his asylum application in 1993. His attorney Elizabeth Davis with the Deportation Defense & Legal Advocacy Program at the Delores Street Community Services shared with us, “the judge told us the community support had a big impact on her. She felt it was an honor to meet Raul and that his importance to his community was clear. Thank you for being that community and the many ways you have supported this family!”
Raul has lived Sunday’s scripture (Jeremiah 29:4-14) and Jeremiah’s prophetic words have come true for him at last. In the words of Rev. Kelly’s paraphrase from Sunday’s service:
“This is what God, the Creator of Everything, says to all the exiles in every place:
Root your community where you are and thrive there.
Seek the welfare of the place where you are in exile,
And pray to God on its behalf,
Don’t let anybody tell you that you don’t belong here.
Don’t let anybody tell you to go home.
Don’t listen to those words from within your community or without.
I did not send them to tell you that.”
The Lopez family, their church and our church have prayed without ceasing for Raul to remain here with his family. Raul has thrived here. He’s supported his children, both of whom graduated from high school. Raul’s son works along side him in construction and his daughter is pursuing higher education. Amen.