​Naun Cerrato unloads office equipment for the office of La Posada at Sunnyside Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Indiana. Photo provided.

By Tim Huber
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

This article was originally published by Anabaptist World on April 28, 2022. It has been slightly modified with the permission of the original author. Read the original piece here.

A new initiative in northern Indiana offers shelter from the stress and complexity of immigration law. La Posada (shelter or inn) is opening to the public in May out of an office in Sunnyside Mennonite Church in Elkhart.

The nonprofit organization offers legal resources such as written materials — and help with applications, legal counsel, English classes and referrals — to the immigrant community at an affordable cost.

La Posada founder Naun Cerrato, who is also the pastor of Piedra Viva Mennonite Church, was inspired by the Bible's imperative to welcome the stranger.

"As an immigrant myself, I know what it is like to not have a lawyer," Cerrato said. "I know what it is like to not have $5,000 or $10,000 to have a private lawyer."

Cerrato was recently hired by Mennonite Mission Network as a constituent engagement representative. His church has also been a member of Mission Network's Sent Network.

He and others in Elkhart County identified the need for low-cost legal assistance in 2020.

"If you were an immigrant here and heard there is an immigrant lawyer [30 miles away] in South Bend, you would be discouraged, because it's so far away," he said. "We did a local study in the area and decided to come together and form an organization that reflects a biblical approach to immigration."

Cerrato gathered individuals and churches in 2021 to support the project.

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary donated office furniture. Goshen College donated computers. Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference provided other equipment. Schowalter Foundation gave a $20,000, grant and Mennonite Central Committee Great Lakes signed on for financial support.

"These amazing Mennonite churches want to help the community," Cerrato said. "Here we have people who want to help."

An immigrant might need a not-for-profit lawyer due to problems related to challenges they face. For example, Indiana is not one of the 16 states that allow undocumented people to obtain a driver's license.

"Even driving to Walmart you are in a situation where you might get pulled over, depending on the police officer, and it can escalate to another level," Cerrato said. "Let's create an organization that reflects who we are as Anabaptists to help."

La Posada's staff will include an immigration attorney and office manager. Its board is composed of several local Mennonite pastors and church members. The board reflects Cerrato's goal to have an immigration law office based on Anabaptist priorities of peace and justice.

 

 

 Related

 

 

Youth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceYouth Venture/SOOP hybridhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4706/Youth-Venture-trip-provides-mentorship-plants-seeds-for-future-serviceYouth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Kykotsmovi, Arizona
Bokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsBokgoni Sporting Clubhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4705/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-offers-a-better-future-through-recreational-sportsBokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Francistown
New legal office to offer immigration justiceLa Posadahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4702/New-legal-office-to-offer-immigration-justiceNew legal office to offer immigration justiceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Elkhart, Indiana
Mission Network welcomes new directorsNews Releasehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4703/Mission-Network-welcomes-new-directorsMission Network welcomes new directorsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
MVS gathering in San Francisco is a time of connection, comradery and cable carsMVShttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4697/MVS-gathering-in-San-Francisco-is-a-time-of-connection-comradery-and-cable-carsMVS gathering in San Francisco is a time of connection, comradery and cable carsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476San Francisco, California
Mission worker practiced hospitality on three continentsRemembering Wilma Shankhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4694/Mission-worker-practiced-hospitality-on-three-continentsMission worker practiced hospitality on three continentsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
EMS students participate in Youth Venture Civil Rights Learning TourEMS and Youth Venturehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4692/EMS-students-participate-in-Youth-Venture-Civil-Rights-Learning-TourEMS students participate in Youth Venture Civil Rights Learning TourGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Climate change concerns should not keep Anabaptists from experiencing PentecostClimate change and MWChttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4689/Climate-change-concerns-should-not-keep-Anabaptists-from-experiencing-PentecostClimate change concerns should not keep Anabaptists from experiencing PentecostGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
French-language Anabaptist justice and peace curriculum takes shapeFrench-language curriculumhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4687/French-language-Anabaptist-justice-and-peace-curriculum-takes-shapeFrench-language Anabaptist justice and peace curriculum takes shapeGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mission worker embodied gospel of peaceRemembering John Driverhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4686/Mission-worker-embodied-gospel-of-peace-Mission worker embodied gospel of peaceGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Ukrainian students in Lithuania join relief effortsLithuaniahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4684/Ukrainian-students-in-Lithuania-join-relief-effortsUkrainian students in Lithuania join relief effortsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Klaipéda
Mission Network sends aid for Ukrainian studentsNews Releasehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4682/Mission-Network-sends-aid-for-Ukrainian-studentsMission Network sends aid for Ukrainian studentsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
How can I be a peace witness in time of war?Ukrainehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4681/How-can-I-be-a-peace-witness-in-time-of-warHow can I be a peace witness in time of war?GP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mission worker lived God’s love on three continentsWomen's History Monthhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4680/Mission-worker-lived-Gods-love-on-three-continentsMission worker lived God’s love on three continentsGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
LCC International University responds to Russia’s invasion of UkraineUkrainehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4675/LCC-International-University-responds-to-Russias-invasion-of-UkraineLCC International University responds to Russia’s invasion of UkraineGP0|#52c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1;L0|#052c46992-a072-4af3-b006-834f7e8b9cb1|News;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Klaipèda

 

 

https://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4702/New-legal-office-to-offer-immigration-justice

​Tim Huber is associate editor at Anabaptist World.



 

 

Youth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future servicehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4706/Youth-Venture-trip-provides-mentorship-plants-seeds-for-future-serviceYouth Venture trip provides mentorship, plants seeds for future serviceYouth Venture/SOOP hybrid
Bokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4705/Bokgoni-Sporting-Club-offers-a-better-future-through-recreational-sportsBokgoni Sporting Club offers a better future through recreational sportsBokgoni Sporting Club
Stir Up Peace webinar with Sarah and Jonathan Nahar on the nonviolent direct action video serieshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/resources/peace/stir-up-peace/4704/Stir-Up-Peace-webinar-on-the-nonviolent-direct-action-video-series-with-Sarah-and-Jonathan-NaharStir Up Peace webinar with Sarah and Jonathan Nahar on the nonviolent direct action video seriesLive event
Nuevas formas de ser iglesiahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/video/4701/Nuevas-formas-de-ser-iglesiaNuevas formas de ser iglesiaLa Conferencia Sent 2022
Mission Network welcomes new directorshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/4703/Mission-Network-welcomes-new-directorsMission Network welcomes new directorsNews Release
New expressions of churchhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/video/4699/New-expressions-of-churchNew expressions of churchWatch the 2022 Sent conference