Immigrants are assets to our communities, and LUCHA Ministries hopes to help them reach their potential and contribute to the well-being of us all.
LUCHA Ministries Inc. provides a Christian response to the needs of the Spanish-speaking immigrant community by meeting human needs, offering immigration legal services and helping people better integrate into the life of our communities.
Based on the biblical call of justice and mercy for the marginalized of our society, LUCHA promotes a holistic approach to the needs and challenges of the immigrant community (Exodus 22:21; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:7).
Sue Smith, who holds a doctor of ministry degree, is one of the founders and the executive director of LUCHA, which is based in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
1. How did your organization become involved in this work?
In our community, the Spanish-speaking immigrant population grew rapidly, and bilingual services did not keep pace.
We realized that due to limited English proficiency, cultural barriers and immigration status, not everyone had access to basic forms of assistance.
We began to learn about services and to actively connect the Spanish-speaking community to these resources - or create new forms of assistance where none was available.
2. Why is this issue / initiative / ministry important to you and your organization?
Most immigrants aren't looking for handouts or someone else to take care of them and their problems.
They're looking for someone to come alongside them and help navigate systems that they're not familiar with in a language they're not proficient in.
Immigrants are assets to our communities, and we hope to help them reach their potential and contribute to the well-being of us all.
3. What are a few lessons you've learned through your involvement?
It's important to help people in culturally appropriate ways, such as a Latino-specific food pantry, and to allow them to lead and direct many of our organization's initiatives as program directors and volunteers.
It's also important to look beyond a basic human needs-focused ministry and to address systemic issues, which led to the development of our Immigration Legal Services Program, and to speak out on issues that affect the immigrant population of our country, who often don't feel they have a voice.
4. How can people learn more about and support what you're doing?
Visit and subscribe to our blog, LuchaStories.org, to learn about and donate to our work.
My husband, Greg, and I are field personnel with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Our salaries are provided by CBF, with funding for LUCHA's programs coming through donations to LUCHA. You can learn more about our work with CBF and donate to support us here.
5. Why is it important to support initiatives that promote social justice and care for the "least of these" in our local communities?
Our faith heritage is filled with stories and images of immigrants and refugees (Jesus and his family seeking asylum in a neighboring country; Esther using her influence on behalf of her people; Joseph as a victim of human trafficking as he was sold into slavery by his brothers; the story of Ruth and Naomi).
If we take the Bible and our faith seriously, we must care for immigrants and refugees.