Speaking at Prestonwood Baptist Church's Sunday service this weekend, Pastor Jack Graham thanked Ivanka Trump for her generosity and kindness in donating $50,000 for the Texas church's efforts to care for immigrants.
The first daughter learned about Prestonwood's efforts via a Tweet Graham posted Tuesday, June 19. She reached out to Graham, who has pastored the church nearly three decades, and made a personal $50,000 donation to help the church's work aiding migrant children.
"I've had the opportunity to meet with Ivanka Trump a number of times over the last year, and I've been struck by her kindness and concern for those in need," Graham said. "So it wasn't that surprising to know she would want to help these families. But I certainly never expected to hear from her after a simple tweet."
"What if more Americans, whatever their politics, decided to take to heart the needs of others and do what they can to help? Countless lives would be transformed. Hopefully, Ivanka's generosity will inspire many other Americans to get off the sidelines and actually provide tangible help to those in need."
The whole episode—from Graham's social media announcement to Ivanka's donation—occurred days before President Trump signed an executive order directing border security agents to keep families together during immigration processing, as reported by CBN.
On Sunday, Graham explained the first step in their response to the immigration crisis will be an assessment trip to determine the need and how churches can respond to it. Graham, alongside several of the informal evangelical advisers to the administration, will travel to Brownsville, Texas, this week to visit detention centers near the border. According to Graham, they will then plan an event the first week of July for children in the detention centers.
"HHS officials have told us that the basic needs of the children are being taken care of," Graham said. "What the kids really need most is someone to brighten their day. They need someone to give them hope. Our plan is to create an event for the children that will encourage them and make them smile. Of course, we will also focus on how we can provide financial aid to families to assist them in their situation."
Since Graham made the announcement on social media, Prestonwood has been receiving calls from congregations and Christians across America who want to participate in the church's response. Graham believes Ivanka's donation—the largest contribution so far—will encourage more people to help.
"The beauty of America and the people in our church is that we don't have to wait for our politicians to sort out their disagreements in order to do what is right," Graham said. "Our country is facing complex issues that will take time to fix, but this shouldn't delay or stop our response to the needs of others.
"Our national politics ought not to keep the churches in this country from helping people. In fact, we might have fewer challenges for our nation's political leaders if churches did more good in their communities. I'm so proud to serve at a church known for its love and care for our community, our state, our nation and the world. All of this, of course, begins with our love for Jesus Christ."
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