Bishop Brown Participates in 'Change the World' During 'Rethink Conference' Stop in Visalia
May 06, 2010
By Mariah Allred
Fresno District Office
In honor of the global "Change the World" event (April 24-25), Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. joined with local ministries in the Visalia, California area to distribute food to migrant field workers during his "Re-Think Conference" visit to the Fresno District on Saturday, April 24.
At the direction of the Revs. Marcelo and Corazon Escarzaga and Vanesaa Prado, those attending the Re-Think Conference event brought non-perishable goods to donate to families in the Visalia area. Since it rained that weekend work in the fields had stopped, but many families still came to the church to receive the boxes of food – each containing a week-long supply for a family.
While more than 150 people attended the event and brought food gifts in honor of the "Change the World" Weekend, the Visalia food ministry has been in action since long before April 24. Through the food pantry ministry of the congregations of Visalia United Methodist Church, Porterville Grand UMC, and Lindsay UMC, the Escarzagas have regularly gone out into the work fields and camps to share food.
As the bishop served alongside the Escarzagas he listened as the immigrant workers told of some of the hardships they encounter. Many shared their fears and negative experiences with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Some families, they said, find it difficult to buy groceries because INS agents frequently patrol Latin supermarkets and other stores that cater to the needs of migrant workers. One mother shared a difficult conversation she recently had with her son, who asked her who would be his mother if she were deported to Mexico.
Many families expressed their gratitude and the fact that they felt blessed, not only to receive needed food, but to receive prayer and a listening ear from the bishop, as well.
[Read related story, What Are You Afraid of?]