INTERVIEW WITH ALEXIA:
What made you decide to do El Camino?
For me, El Camino del Inmigrante is a timely opportunity to call public attention to the sufferings and contributions of immigrants in the U.S. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate Christ’s love for the stranger at this historical moment when there is so much prejudice against the other. I hope that El Camino will help more citizens feel led to welcome the strangers in our midst, and help more immigrants to experience love, respect and hope.
Why do you believe it is so important for us to love the “stranger?”
Not welcoming the stranger is an act with grave spiritual consequences. I believe that Hebrews 13:2 tells the simple truth that any stranger may be an angel in disguise, a messenger of God sent to bring a blessing. Also, Jesus says in Matthew 25 that “whatever we do to one of the least of these, we do to Him.” If we welcome the stranger, we welcome Him. If we reject and exclude the stranger, we reject and exclude Him.
What has led you to care so deeply about the issue of immigration?
My grandparents were immigrants in a time when our immigration system was very different than it is now. A time when there were no immigration restrictions for Mexicans! I love and respect my grandparents, and I empathize with the fears and hopes that brought them on such a long and difficult journey. My husband was also an immigrant; a refugee from the Guatemalan Civil War. I lived with his trauma every day and was grateful for the asylum that allowed him to stay safe. All of this has led me to minister with immigrants for the last 35 years. From direct pastoral care, to faith-rooted organizing and Biblically-based advocacy, I have worked with immigrants inmultiple contexts and on multiple levels.
Rev. Alexia Salvatierra is a Lutheran Pastor (Luther”costal”…) and the author of “Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World” as well as adjunct faculty for Fuller Theological Seminary, Azusa Theological Seminary and Eastern University.