One immigrant’s journey: faith, integrity, citizenship
Joy Lucius
AFA Journal staff writer

Above, the flag flying at the Hernandez home. Inset photo, sons Jaden and Max with Abdias Hernandez on the day he received his citizenship.

June 2019 – A single U.S. flag billows in the crisp wind of early morning. The cul-de-sac will soon resound with children playing, dogs barking, and lawnmowers humming. But for now, the red, white, and blue sentinel silently guards the quiet neighborhood.

The story behind that solitary flag is as remarkable as the nation it represents. To understand its story, one must first examine the residents of the cul-de-sac. Their story, the flag’s story, is America’s story.

It’s a typical, small town neighborhood filled with toddlers, teens, parents, and grandparents. Their multi-colored faces and varied accents paint a melting-pot portrait of America. It’s a working man’s neighborhood, where teachers, computer techs, nurses, mechanics, and factory workers raise their families 
in harmony.

Respect is earned here, though, and the man who flies that flag outside his modest, brick home has definitely earned the respect of his neighbors.

Honor calls
Abdias Hernandez came to the U.S. for a short visit in 1999. The very next year, he moved here from his home in Cordoba, Veracruz, Mexico. No stranger to hard work, Hernandez quickly found a job as a mechanic.

He married Monica, a young American woman. Their son Jaden was born, and Monica entered nursing school. To supplement their income, Hernandez took on odd jobs: mowing lawns, painting, trimming trees, and building fences. His honesty, hard work, and excellence garnered attention and respect.

He learned the language and customs of America without abandoning his heritage. His little family faithfully attended church. Life was good until God invited Hernandez on a journey of obedience, honor, and truth.

Yes, Hernandez had it all, but he also harbored a secret. He was here illegally.

“God showed me that if I wanted my son’s honor and respect, then I had to live a life of honor in front of Jaden,” Hernandez told AFA Journal. “But there was nothing honorable about living here illegally.”

After much prayer and godly counsel, Hernandez decided to rectify the wrong he had committed. In faithful obedience to God, Hernandez returned alone to Mexico in 2006 and admitted to entering the U.S. illegally.

It was risky since illegal aliens often must wait 10 years before applying for reentry. The Hernandez family requested a hardship waiver of this penalty and prayerfully awaited an answer.

“Even if the waiver was approved, I had no idea how long it would take,” said Hernandez. “I might not see my wife and child again for years. I was truly 
trusting God.”

Virtue answers
After 15 arduous months of paperwork and hearings, Hernandez was issued a U.S. Green Card and allowed to return to his family. He worked fulltime, graduated college with a 3.1 GPA, and became an integral part of his church. In 2017, he and Monica added another son, Max, to their family.

Applying for citizenship that same year, he studied and passed all required tests. And on August 24, 2018, Abdias Hernandez took an oath of citizenship. To celebrate, a neighbor gave Hernandez a flag. Within hours, Old Glory was proudly flying in front of his home.

Few can appreciate Hernandez’s struggles as his family and neighbors do. His citizenship was costly, requiring truth, faith, and perseverance. Hernandez – and his neighbors – better understand that others paid the ultimate price for the freedoms they all enjoy.

To honor their sacrifices, Abdias Hernandez flies the Stars and Stripes daily in his quiet cul-de-sac. It wordlessly testifies to the virtue of one of its newest citizens, the faithfulness of 
God, and the goodness of the United States of America. 

Americans celebrate Flag Day each year on June 14. Learn more at nationalflagday.com.