At a moment in time when polarization and division seem to be the most common approach when it comes to engaging people, politics and policies, this week’s guest is someone who has been a voice of encouragement and hope in my life.  He has expanded my heart in profound ways and has challenged me to consider what might be possible if we step towards one another, amidst these differing perspectives surrounding political policy and reform, instead of away from one another. Someone who has dedicated himself to exploring better methods when it comes to engaging the issues that most often divide us, Rondell Treveiño believes that lovingly engaging people where they are is the first step in understanding how we can best move forward together. 

Rondell Treviño is the Founder and Director of The Immîgration Coalîtîon—a faith-based non-profit providing clean drinking water to Immigrants at the Southern Border and biblically balanced resources on immigration that show compassion to immigrants and respect for the rule of law. Before founding The immigration Coalition, Rondell worked as a Southeast Mobilizer for the Evangelical Immigration Table. Rondell received a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Belhaven University (2014), and a Master of Divinity from Capital Seminary and Graduate School (2016). Rondell is happily married to Laura Treviño, and is the proud father to Sofia Treviño and Charlotte Treviño.

What I love most about my conversation with Rondell is not that we see the world through the exact same lens -we don’t- but that we came together and discussed complex and controversial topics with a heart of love. Both of us acknowledge and understand that an open heart is the first step in healing and restoration – something I hope we can all remember during this controversial and monumental day we are embarking on today. 

In the face of this monumental moment, I want to encourage each of us to consider the possibility that regardless of whoever steps into presidential power at the end of the day –if that is even possible– we are each being offered the opportunity to write a new story… in our communities, our country and the lives of our fellow Americans here and beyond. Not diminishing or disregarding the influence from today’s decisions, rather shifting the perspective to include you and I by acknowledging that REGARDLESS of who walks about with presidential power WE must do the work of coming together as fellow citizens in order to rebuild unity in our Country. 

Tomorrow, on November 4th, each of us will have the opportunity to look at every person we encounter as an equal. A citizen, a human being, a wife, a mom, a son, a daughter, a dad. Acknowledging them as someone who carries their own pain and struggle, and realizing that at the heart they are likely a lot more like you and me then not. Maybe they voted differently than you and I would have liked, I don’t know. What I do know is that tomorrow, regardless of who takes office, there are still MANY things we need to heal and many voices we need to hear in order to lead the next generation with a voice of clarity, hope and love. 

So let’s do that together. Let’s CHOOSE LOVE and SPEAK LIFE while we stand for truth, fight for justice and unite to build values and principles we can stand on together. 


What you missed last week…

This was intended to be a two-part episode with the first part releasing last week to give insight into Rondell’s personal story. However, REAL life happened and due to unforeseen circumstances on our team, we were unable to release last week’s episode. However, I didn’t want you to miss any of the juicy goodness from this conversation, so I have summarized the first part of our conversation here and hope you enjoy hearing Rondell’s story as much as I did when we were recording it!

Rondell Treviño grew up in West Texas surrounded by what he lovingly refers to as his “multicultural mosaic family.” He says being surrounded by people with different points of view laid a foundation for a keen awareness and deep value for diversity. He paints a beautiful picture of their holiday tables covered in foods from multiple countries and ethnicities, encompassed in laughter and love. It is beautiful imagery of what is possible when we open our hearts and homes to “different varieties” of people and cultures.

He grew up not knowing his biological Father and Rondell shares the impact that absence had on his life, specifically how it left him feeling anger and hate for many years. He was raised by his stepfather, whom he lovingly refers to as “Dad” and talks a lot about the impact that relationship had on his life as an adolescent and shares how that relationship has evolved into his adulthood. During Rondell’s formative years as a young man, his “Dad” went to prison for five years which impacted Rondell deeply. He shares how feelings of abandonment and the lack of a male role model impacted his teenage years and led him to find solace from the anger and pain in Basketball. A sport that he ultimately landed a scholarship with to attend university at Howard College.

During his senior year of college Rondell was invited by his Uncle Randy to work for Memphis Athletics, coaching basketball for inner-city youth. His uncle didn’t mention was that Memphis Athletics was part of a ministry where Rondell would teach the kids’ basketball skills, while also walking them through the Bible. (A tiny detail he says likely would have impacted his decision to go to Memphis) What started as a cool place to hang for the summer and party, ultimately landed him in a position where he saw himself in the kids he was serving and eventually offered him a face-to-face encounter with the power of forgiveness in Christ. Rondell says experiencing the unconditional Love of his Uncle and witnessing him as a father, husband and leader (who wasn’t perfect but was humble and loving) truly opened his heart to believe Love could heal and restore all things.

At the end of that summer, Randy offered Rondell a full-time job cutting grass at the local golf course, along with the opportunity to stay in Memphis to finish out his education. Though the job offer wasn’t really that attractive, it made him contemplate another decision, one that had been pulling at his heart all summer – the one where he would ask Jesus into his life forever. Having never truly experienced the unconditional love of a Father (something he deeply longed for growing up) Rondell says encountering that Love in Christ was the beginning of true heart transformation and was the intersection where the trajectory of his life was changed forever. That experience ultimately led him to pursue biblical counseling and enabled him to forgive both his biological father and his stepdad, releasing him of the anger and hate he had carried with him for years in response to the deep pain he felt in their absence. Rondell says the space that forgiveness provided in his life was immeasurable!

Dedicated to his studies, Rondell went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Belhaven University and a Master of Divinity from Capital Seminary and Graduate School. During his pursuit of higher education and biblical understanding, Rondell met his now-wife, Laura, who at the time was a student from El Salvador studying at the same college. What started as just friends while studying together turned into something more once she returned to El Salvador and over time it was clear to Rondell that he was meant to ask Laura to be his wife.  Little did he know, that decision would be the very beginning of his calling and passion for immigration reform.

Growing up as a Mexican American, Rondell was well aware of the sacrifices made by generations of his ancestors who had come to America as immigrants. However, even with that awareness, he was still completely blown away by just how complicated that process had been for them until he started actually pursuing citizenship for his wife. It was then that his eyes were truly opened to the fact that people wait on lists for decades before even being eligible to apply for citizenship. A discovery that shifted his attention and developed a passion to explore what it means to embrace a biblically balanced approach to immigration.

Although Rondell and Laura’s personal experience of applying for an I-130 Visa was a lot simpler than it is for many people, it was during that time when immigration became personal for them both as they lived out their own “immigrant story.” Not the least of which was enduring two years living in separate countries, while waiting for Laura’s paperwork to go through. During that time Rondell poured into learning more about immigration in the US and worked with multiple organizations, including Evangelical Immigration Table before ultimately starting their own nonprofit called The Immigration Coalition. Since then Rondall and Laura have made it their life’s work to advocate for immigrants, including policy reform that “shows compassion to immigrants and respect for the rule of the law.”

Their mission is to “show deep compassion to immigrants, migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees” while also ensuring immigration reform that implements security to protect our American neighbors. Rondell says one of the biggest things he has become aware of is people’s tendency to think “they have to fall on one side or the other.” Meaning if they have compassion they can’t care about border security, or if they can care about border security then they can’t have any compassion. Rondell says he believes we can do both and his mission is to listen and learn from both conservative and progressive “brothers and sisters” in order to find a better way moving forward.

He says serving alongside both “progressive and conservative” individuals within the church and beyond, has provided him the opportunity to come face to face with his own set stereotypes as a Mexican American. These experiences empowered him to take personal responsibility and engage growth in his own life. Rondell says through these encounters “God really grew a conviction in my heart to not retreat and have stereotypes, but, to actually engage, love them and talk with them about the issue of immigration.” His desire is to become someone who can truly engage the complexities and convictions that often try to tear us apart, without falling into the trap of objectification and division. Something I personally witnessed during our conversation.

In March of this year, Rondell accepted a position as an Associate Pastor with Hope Community Church in Austin, Texas. Having officially added the experience of ‘moving in the midst of a pandemic’ to his resume, Rondell says although this season has been a stretch for their family in some ways it has also come with some really special moments together. Rondell says one of the biggest blessings about their move to Texas has been the opportunity to develop a more holistic hands-on approach when engaging migrants and asylum seekers. Partnering with local churches like Austin Stone, TIC has now been able to provide thousands of diapers, wipes and other essential items for families living in tent camps on the border.

During those hands-on deliveries, Rondell and his team became aware of the desperate need fresh for drinking water. That discovery led them to launch their new initiative, water for îmmîgrants, where they are now providing clean drinking water weekly to over 500 migrant families who are living in slums and tent camps surrounding Matamoros, Mexico. An opportunity YOU can be a part of providing water for an entire family for as little as $4.00 a week, learn more about it here!

Leading by example, Rondell Treveiño shows us the power that connected conversations hold in developing a better understanding and creating the possibility for us to co-labor when it comes to the issues that so often seek to divide and destroy our human connection.

Speak Life with Taylor Nichols is a podcast committed to keeping it REAL and RAW — real people, real stories, and real life. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a conversation! {You can listen to the show right HERE and to make sure you never miss an episode just hop on to your favorite podcast app (ie. iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify) and subscribe today! I hope you will consider sharing the show with your friends and if you have a friend with a story you think we need to hear, please nominate them right HERE!}