Antonio

By Sarah Jackson, Coordinator of Casa de Paz’s Visitation Program

Being part of the Denver Faith and Justice Conference didn’t change my life. But, it
did change someone else’s life.

His name is Antonio. He’s been detained for several months. Locked up, away from all family and friends, just sitting, waiting, sitting, waiting, sitting, waiting. Each day the
same thing over, and over, and over again. No visitors, no encouragement, no hope.
One day all that changed.

A young lady stopped by the table Casa de Paz set up at the conference. She learned more about what the organization did and how to get involved. One ministry really caught her attention. Our visitation ministry. We visit detainees in the immigrant detention center who otherwise would have nobody visiting them. Our visitors stop by, say hi, ask how they’re doing, but more importantly, they give hope.

She arranged a time for her and a friend, Daniel, to visit a few weeks after the conference. They stopped by Casa de Paz for a short training and then headed over to the immigrant detention center.

The man they visited was Antonio. He requested a visit but didn’t know what to expect. In reality, he really didn’t think anyone would actually show up. He felt forgotten. But, they did.

During their visit they talked about life, his story, his family, how much he misses them but hasn’t told them he’s detained because he doesn’t want them to worry, his loneliness, his despair, his dream of being released, and his faith.

Towards the end of their time together, Daniel asked if he could pray with Antonio. Although Daniel was nervous because he had never done anything like this before, once he started praying, the words “owed effortlessly from his mouth. Words of life, words of promise, words of love. God’s words. God was moving, big time, in that visiting cell.

After the word Amen was spoken, Daniel and Antonio looked at each other through the thick, cold, glass barrier separating them. Their eyes were full of tears. Not because they were sad, not because of depression, not because of the situation Antonio was in, but because the prayer had done something only God has the power to do. It had given Antonio hope.