I had been wrestling with the idea of blogging some of my life experiences with the intent of encouraging others who may be going through similar situations. Although the main audience being those who have been attending church for a long time and are caught in the cycle of just "doing church", I believe these stories will reach all audiences with God's help.

I'd rather fail miserably at something I feel God asked me to do than just sit back and wonder what could've, would've or should've happened.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coming To America

January 6, 1979 was a day I will never forget. It marks a new beginning for the Cabreras - coming to America.  For those that don't know, we were born in the Dominican Republic and my father wanted to bring us to America for better opportunities. When we arrived I was only 7 years old but I have vivid memories of the journey.

I remember:
  • Crying when I found out Magina was not coming with us. She is our "adopted" sister who helped my parents bring us up and since I was the youngest, I spent a lot of time with her.
  • Lidia's wooden platform-styled sandals coming off her feet and falling all the way down the stairs as we are climbing into the airplane and Isaias had to go fetch them - the joys of being the oldest! Sometimes I can close my eyes and hear the clinging sound of those things!
  • Dinner on the plane (that's back when they served real dinners on planes), the choices: Chicken or Fish and how confusing this was to us. Isaias finally figured it out and explained it to us. The strong accents we had (some of us still have) still rings in my head.
  • New York welcoming us with a snow storm! Our first sight of snow and yes I did attempt to eat some.
  • The drive from NYC to Rochester took forever with all the snow. If that's not enough, the van we were driving lost its heat and it was cold.
  • We stopped at a Burger King to eat. I can still smell the fries - well the old fries they had are better than the new ones. I took another taste of the snow there too!
Do you want to know what was my most vivid memory? It was us sitting in the waiting area in the Dominican Republic waiting for the people that have the authority to give us permanent residence to make their decision. You see we were all nervous about it since we were requesting 7 permanent residencies at the same time. My dad came to America before us and made the request to bring his family over - ALL 7 OF THEM! Not the best strategy to have since most people made request for 1 or 2 at a time. 
I remember the couple that entered before us being denied and they were only 2!! The lady was in tears!! Then it was our turn. Before I tell you what happened (which may be obvious but just humor me for a moment), I did a little research on some immigration politics that were going on behind the scenes without us even realizing this. Check this out:

(From Wiki) The  Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a non-profit tax exempt organization in the United States that advocates changes in U.S. immigration policy that would result in significant reductions in immigration, both legal and illegal. It was founded on January 2, 1979.

Their mission:
FAIR advocates "7 Principles of True Comprehensive Immigration Reform":

1. Reduce the flow of immigrants
2. No legalization
3. No Guest-Worker Program
4. Protect Wages and Standards of Living
5. More Enforcement
6. No Asylum
7. Immigration Time Out (Very strict immigration only for "a narrowly focused refugee resettlement program" and limit family reunification each year)
(Back to me) During the late 1970's there were a lot of immigrants coming to America and the US was not making it easy for anyone to come in. This organization was established specifically for this. BUT GOD HAD OTHER PLANS FOR OUR FAMILY!

So there we were waiting for the verdict... they allowed ALL of us to come to America with no problems at all!! WooHoo!! Did we slip through the cracks?? Was it a coincidence?? I don't think so. You may be thinking that it is not a big deal. But I know it was a miracle!

I asked my mom recently to relive the experience with me and she told me that the night before our appointment with the decision makers, we had our devotional time (check out the Legacy blogs so you can fully understand the "devotional time"). Loida was asked to pray for our meeting and she felt from God that we were going to be able to come to America. She was right! God is faithful!

If you are going to be confronting someone of "importance" to speak on your own behalf whether it is for a job interview, a teacher/professor, a judge, or what ever it may be. Remember that God is with you and will help you get through this situation if you allow Him.

"When they drag you into their meeting places, or into police courts and before judges, don’t worry about defending yourselves—what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words when the time comes." Luke 12:11-12 (MSG)

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