As they approached age 65, W. Michael and Becky McGee wrapped up 35 years as Assemblies of God world missionaries in Mexico.
Rather than retire, however, the couple sensed the Holy Spirit deploying them on a new assignment as U.S. missionaries. Serving with Chaplaincy Ministries, they now are missionaries at large. Until this spring, Becky focused on counseling AG pastors, missionaries, and first responders. Mike has mobilized teams to pray for the end of abortion.
However, in recent weeks their assignments shifted back to the Mexico-U.S. border they know so well.
Now both 68, the McGees nonetheless have boundless energy. Since March 15, Becky has been working 12-hour shifts every day as a licensed counselor to immigrant children detained in tent camps. Mike recently completed an 11-day, 4,154-mile prayer journey across the four U.S. states that share a southern border with Mexico.
Since the Biden presidency began, an estimated 19,000 unaccompanied immigrant children have been taken into custody by U.S. officials crossing the Mexican border.
“These kids are coming across in droves,” Becky says. “It’s a crisis.”
Subsequently, the children — with 10 percent of them testing positive for COVID-19 — are placed in temporary emergency shelters. The children are divided into four categories before being sent elsewhere by plane or bus. Ideally, they are reunited with parents, other immediate family members, or more distant relatives. Some have no adult sponsors in the U.S. Becky says many end up placed with aunts, uncles, and cousins.
McGee’s contracted role is to provide general counseling — via Zoom over a computer from her Georgetown, Texas, home — to the children in the few days they are detained in camps. On some days she speaks to more than 100 kids in dorm groups of eight in half-hour sessions; on other days, Becky, who is fluent in Spanish, provides individual counseling to the children, who are equipped with laptops or iPads.
Topics assigned for discussion include bullying, anger management, acculturation, human trafficking, maintaining healthy habits, setting goals, and dealing with uncertainty about the future. Initially, Becky worked with teenagers only. Since April 14, she has been counseling younger children as well.
McGee tries to impart the lessons quickly. On their own, the kids could become easy prey for human traffickers because they don’t understand the English language or American customs.
“Most of these kids are naïve and know nothing about the U.S.,” she says. “They are accustomed to walking everywhere and don’t understand the risk of being trafficked.”
Meanwhile, Mike on Palm Sunday embarked on a trek that took him from the Rio Grande Valley to San Diego. Along the way, he paused for 23 prayer stops, many of the encounters spontaneous, yet providential.
McGee prayed with pastors, AG Hispanic district and geographic district leaders, U.S. Border Patrol agents, federal agents in Mexico, and lawmakers on both sides of the Rio Grande River. A group of 75 Christian bikers prayed with McGee during a sunrise service overlooking El Paso, Texas.
“God is cognizant of what’s happening on the border,” McGee says. “He is letting us hear the cries.”
Rather than argue who is correct politically, McGee believes a spiritual solution must be the priority.
“The border is in chaos, lawlessness, and under criminal control,” he says. “We need to push back with the Lord. We need divine interruption to the corruption.”
McGee is hoping to return with teams that will travel along the border for 6-day prayer trips interceding for pastors and law enforcement officials.
“It is almost impossible to directly reach the children or the immigrants families,” he says. “At the border, immigrants are quickly bused away to special camps and shelters away from any access by the public. However, in the midst of the chaos, doors are opening to gather local pastors, local police, and border agents. It is prime time for ministry!”
The McGees, who have been married 49 years, visited every capital of the continental U.S. in a 105-day prayer vigil in 2020. They also spent 43 days in 2018 traveling around the perimeter of the nation to pray for God’s mercy and healing. This year, Mike says the Lord called him to focus on what he calls an “American reclamation proclamation.”
“We need to take back the land from the power of darkness,” he says. “We need to proclaim the gospel and stand up for Judeo-Christian values.”
While working as AGWM missionaries in Mexico, the McGees mobilized 469 short-term teams comprised of 10,000 people involved in construction, medical, evangelism, and compassion projects. The couple held church planting outreaches that resulted in the construction of 64 churches. They also spent two years as missionaries in residence at North Central University in Minneapolis.