by Lee Hull Moses
I was Number 88. The woman beside me, Number 89, smiled at me as she sat down. She didn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much Spanish, but we muddled through introductions. Her English was far better than my Spanish. I asked how long she’d lived in Greensboro. Ten years, she said. Longer than me. We agreed we like it here.
She reached into her bag, handed me a postcard from her church, and invited me to come sometime. I smiled and thanked her, then reached into my bag and handed her a card from our church. “You should come sometime,” I said. “Is it in Spanish?” she said and grinned, already knowing the answer.
This was last Friday morning, and we were at a FaithAction ID drive, waiting for our turn to have our picture taken for our ID cards. This wasn’t my first time at a drive, but I’d never applied for an ID. My new friend was renewing hers.
FaithAction International House is a local organization whose mission is “turning strangers into neighbors.” They provide support services for immigrant families and host dialogue and education events that cross cultural lines. The FaithAction ID program was developed in collaboration with the local police department as a way to build trust between law enforcement and the immigrant community. (Learn more about FaithAction and the ID program at faithaction.org.)
This ID card doesn’t grant any rights – it’s not a driver’s’ license, doesn’t affect immigration status, doesn’t grant the right to vote – but it does provide a means of identification for people who might otherwise not have access to official ID cards. That isn’t the case for me – I’ve got plenty of official documentation of my identity – but FaithAction invites anyone to get an ID card as way of supporting the program and celebrating the diversity of our community. I was one of several non-immigrants getting my card Friday morning, including a couple of other First Christian folks. It was a beautiful mix of people there, from all over the world and all walks of life.
After a short wait, it was my turn to get my ID picture taken. As I smiled for the camera, I thought about how we’ve said that the season of Lent as an invitation to bring our whole selves into the presence of God: our stories, our names, our identities. I’m glad to be part of a community that appreciates and works to protect everyone who lives here. I’m grateful for organizations like FaithAction that help us get to know our neighbors. And I’m glad to be part of a church whose members are living out their faith in all kinds of visible ways, our whole selves in the presence of God.