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Hope at the Border

Hope at the Border


What is hope worth to you? For one mother and her two children, it was worth a 1,200-mile walk from Guatemala to McAllen, Texas. That’s roughly the same mileage a family may travel on vacation going from Indiana to the southern tip of Florida. The only difference is this trio didn’t fly in a plane with snacks and drinks and a clean restroom. They walked and had only what they could carry.

People walking at sunset

Hope is at the root of stories like this—hope for a new life; hope to escape violence or poverty; or the hope this mother had that a man in Northern Texas, the father of one of her children, will care for the three of them in an unfamiliar place.

McAllen, Texas is home to Nathanael and Nicole Sommers, WGM missionaries living on the Texas/Mexico border. The Sommerses are active in several ministries: street evangelism, a Christian school, a community center with popular soccer programs, and Sparrow’s Nest—a clothing pantry that helps provide for the physical needs of mothers and young children. Nathanael is also on staff at a local church.

Map of Texas/Mexico border with McAllen highlighted

While doing street evangelism, Nathanael and Nicole often have a mere 15 minutes to offer the hope of Christ to immigrants—many of whom move frequently for various reasons.

Mexico is an easy country to get into from around the world, and McAllen offers easy access into the United States. Therefore, the Sommerses meet people from all over the world. Recently, they saw 30 Romanian immigrants cross into McAllen, which isn’t something many of us would typically expect.

The 15 minutes Nathanael and Nicole spend with these people are crucial. Not only must they be able to communicate the Gospel concisely, but they must also do it in a way that truly connects with each person, including speaking through tremendous cultural barriers.

Man walking, head down

How do you reach people in 15 minutes, many of whom come from different cultures? Nathanael shared about that struggle and said, “The Holy Spirit has to speak through you in an amazing way.”

Nathanael spoke about the woman who walked to Texas from Guatemala and about the need to build relationships with people like her—people who are seeking out hope—and to show them, “There is eternal hope to be found.” He also shared:

“When she’s going through this, she’s in a vulnerable state. And just to hear somebody love on her, without expectation, without having anything in mind other than I am here to serve you because God loves me and God loves you and has grace that is just abounding. That’s a message that overcomes all barriers.”

Rugged desert landscape with cactus

This love Nathanael speaks of is the love that Scripture commands us to offer. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31 NIV). “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV). “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10 NIV).

In our politically divided country, it’s easy to be drawn to one side or the other. But that isn’t what Christ commanded us to do. He doesn’t tell us to get down in the trenches and fight the other side. He tells us to love.

Nathanael stated, “There’s such a lack of understanding that these are actually people who have real experiences and emotions and feelings, and it makes it easy to think in terms of politic[s] if you don’t have any experience with people.” He then added, “Just come and visit, and I’ll introduce you to some people that will blow your mind.”

Two girls looking at clothing in the Sparrow's Nest.

The pursuit of hope may not take you on a 1,200-mile walk. But maybe someone you know needs the hope that’s worth a cross-country-by-foot trek. Nathanael and Nicole are proof that in 15 short minutes, you can open doors for discipling others and sharing the eternal hope that is found in Christ.

Nathanael and Nicole Sommers served in McAllen, Texas on the Texas/Mexico border.


PRAY: Pray that the Spirit will use Nathanael and Nicole and that they will be sensitive to the movement of the Spirit. Pray also that the hearts of those listening will be receptive to the eternal hope Jesus offers.

GO: Take your team, co-workers, friends, or family to McAllen to see this vibrant ministry in person. It’s through going to places like this that we begin to understand that these are people just like us. If you’re willing to go and are obedient to God, you can be used to spread His hope in places like McAllen.

GIVE: When we give food to the hungry and clothes to those in need, we are giving not only to them but to Christ Himself (Matthew 25). The Sparrow’s Nest provides for the physical needs of families through food, clothing, and school supplies at a very low cost. You can support this ministry and provide food and clothes to those who need them in McAllen by giving online at

The Call (Spring/Summer 2019)

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