Rohi Annual Letter to Donors for 2017
On behalf of the Board of Directors of ROHI Foundation we would like to extend our sincere thanks for your support toward the work in Reynosa, Mexico in 2017. God used Rohi and its partners to show the certain and enduring love of God during some difficult times. This past year saw a substantial increase in violence throughout the city, including in and around the colonia in which we serve. Bouts of violence are not uncommon in Reynosa, but this prolonged, widespread conflagration has been particularly challenging. The violence began in April (after our Spring Break Trip) and has had periods of intense conflict and relative calm. It peaked in October and November and forced us to cancel our Thanksgiving Mission Trip. As we begin 2018, we do not see it lessoning in the near future and are trying to plan around the new reality. We currently are not planning to have large group trips in 2018 due to the current security situation. However, we continue to be committed to our core mission of meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the community. The role of our onsite missionaries, the Garcias, and local believers is even more critical in 2018. As God directs we will be making some trips to support these teams. We will continue to communicate regarding these matters so we can resume our typical trip schedule as the situation in Reynosa stabilizes. Those of you who support this mission with your participation provide a significant portion of our funding and we thank you for that. Please prayerfully consider including us in your giving plans, as we continue our work in Reynosa.
It is our goal in this annual letter to give you an overview of how Rohi has utilized the resources you gave to be God’s hands and feet in the poorest communities in Reynosa. Rohi’s primary areas of focus in 2017 were supporting the local schools in various capacities, providing mission trip opportunities to our partners in the United States and Mexico, in particular for medical missions - thereby ensuring access to regular medical/dental/vision exams and prescription medications for the community, maintaining our water and other community infrastructure and meeting the spiritual needs of the community through the work of our missionaries, the Garcias.
Support of Local Education
Rohi’s support of the Little Blue Schools, which provide a K-6 education to the children in the colonias, and the Prepatoria (or high school) continues to be a top priority. We are grateful for our ongoing financial partnership with COCI (Cherish Our Children International) as we seek to provide stability in a very chaotic environment. This summer we were informed that our government partner for the primary school, CONAFE (which serves rural communities), which had provided the teachers, would be largely yielding this role to SEP (the primary provider of public education in Mexico). This was a sudden and unanticipated change which left the school without teachers for almost two months. We did all we could to work with community leaders to quicken the arrival of teachers. And by October/November, SEP did provide two teachers for the primary school and CONAFE maintained its teacher for the pre-school/kindergarten.
Amidst this chaos, we attempted to encourage and support the school, parents and students. We continued our daily after school tutoring classes focused especially on learning to read. We served over 65 students on 105 afternoons and saw substantial improvement in reading ability on our evaluation exams. We continued to provide teaching and learning materials – school supplies for each student and teacher, as well as a new copy machine for use by the high school and primary school. We rewired all the main electrical connections and increased the school’s electrical capacity, which enabled us to install air conditioning in the two high school classrooms. We also better insulated the primary classrooms and repainted the exterior of the primary buildings. We provided storage cabinets in each classroom for better organization and security of materials. We also had two STEM science days over the Spring Break and June mission trips and introduced kids to a world of robotics and engineering with the help of our partners Faltech Robotics and Trashbots.
To combat high rates of anemia and other nutritive deficiencies, we continued providing daily vitamin supplements.
The high school, or Preparatory, saw its second graduating class of 8 students in 2017. We awarded each graduate a Dell laptop computer to assist them in continuing their studies post-graduation. We expect 14 graduates this year. In order to finance this significant new annual expenditure (the laptops), God opened a door to a new funding partner, DressWell GiveWell. They donate a portion of their profits monthly towards this end. We are so grateful for God’s provision as we seek to give these students the tools and training needed to succeed post-graduation.
Unfortunately, due in large part to the violence, attendance at the high school has dropped, hovering between 40-50 students. We had expected attendance to be higher, but just getting to and from school can be dangerous in the current climate. As a result, we held off on adding the second building as we had planned and instead upgraded the current building to add air conditioning and heat (which required the electrical upgrade).
So much of what we accomplished was enabled by the 62 participants from the US and 50+ local participants that came on two mission trips – Spring Break and Summer (June). A primary focus of our mission trips is meeting the medical, dental and vision needs of those living in the colonia. We were grateful to have two medical clinics seeing over 250 patients on our two trips. Our clinics have a stocked pharmacy and we partner with a Mexican distributor to purchase needed medicines. We also had two dental clinics seeing over 30 patients and one vision clinic seeing over 60 patients. We had our second annual well check clinic with 85+ students so we can track the health of the students at La Union schools.
In addition to the medical clinics, our missions teams rewired the school, repainted the primary school, provided two community celebrations (including the second annual Easter egg hunt), art lessons, sports activities, as well as many other ministry activities. We collected and distributed over 200 galloon sized bags of toiletries on our prayer walks through the community. As mentioned before, we also had two STEM Science Days with new partners, Faltech Robotics and Trashbots. We are so grateful for God’s provision of our missions teams in 2017 and pray for peace in Reynosa so that we can resume this work in 2018 and the years ahead.
The Garcia’s Work: Spiritual Development and Infrastructure Improvement and Maintenance
The life blood of Rohi continues to be our missionaries, the Garcia family. Their day to day oversight of our work is critical. The Garcias are key to the maintenance of all the infrastructure we have put in place over the years, especially the 2 wells and over 4 miles of water lines. They also oversee and facilitate all of our infrastructure upgrades (like those discussed above related to the school). Their physical presence in the community is essential to ensure the continued success of these projects.
The Garcia’s heart and our vision will always be to address the spiritual needs of the community. The Garcia’s are committed to sharing God's word and making disciples. They live in the community and daily are God's messengers. David and Luzma led the youth activities at Pastor Antonio's church, including their summer VBS which had over 35 children. David preaches weekly at Pastor Antonio's Wednesday night service and leads worship at the Sunday evening service. They often give counsel both to the leadership of the community. This was especially necessary when the president of La Union died suddenly this past year and during the transitions at the school (described above).
We covet your prayers for their safety and peace of mind as they try to be God’s hands and feet in the midst of all the violence. They also need prayer for their health, as three in their family contracted the Zika virus and David had a small heart attack this past fall. It was a challenging year for them and put them under a heavy strain.
Organizationally, we continue to write a monthly newsletter, utilize Facebook, and our website (www.therohifoundation.org) to keep supporters abreast of all God is doing in and through Rohi. We also were able to partner with Red Speck Media on the Spring Break Mission Trip to produce several informative videos about our mission trips which you can see on the Rohi website.
The Board of Directors of ROHI would ask for your prayers as we plan for 2018. With the continued violence, we are uncertain when we can have another full-fledged mission trip. We are planning a day of fasting and prayer Friday, February 2nd for peace in Reynosa and for God’s provision for us and our ministry partners. Please consider joining us in person or on the conference call. More details are available at our website (www.therohifoundation.org) or on Facebook.
Our prayer for you, our partners in this work, is that the Lord Jesus Christ will strengthen you and bless you and your family for the investment you are making in His Church. May He grant you a 2018 that is full of purpose and life as we serve and worship the God we love.
ROHI Board of Directors