Our Austin Trip Team & our local Reynosa Teams at the Community Center
Viedo of Pictures from the Trip
We our so blessed to report the Thanksgiving trip was a great success. We had 13 Americans come on the trip, which is our largest group since June 2017. Five participants were children, ranging in age from 4 to 14. The activities planned were contingent on good weather and no violence and God was so faithful to provide both to enable a truly wonderful trip, full of the type of ministry activities - prayers walks, community celebrations, medical clinics and STEM activities, located on the canal - that characterized the trips of the past, but that we have forgone on recent trips. This trip, we decided to proceed forward with these activities despite recent violence - knowing that we would have to continually evaluate the security situation before we proceeded with the next activity. In every circumstance, God went before.
We were joined in service by many local partners. Many of these partners have served with us faithfully for many years, while others were new to our team. Truly we are so greatful for God's provision of help as we sought to show the love of God to these communities.
Thursday morning we set up and on Friday had our medical clinic at the Community Center in the Nopelera community. We saw over 70 patients with two local family practice doctors - Dr. Sergio Perez and Dr. Julio Perez - and an OBGYN from the US, Dr. Jennifer Gaide. Dr. Gaide was assisted by Elizabeth Reyes Duarte, who herself hopes to be a doctor one day. Also assisting in the pharmacy area and in various other capacities, was Dr. Perez' wife, Griselda, who is a nurse.
Our good friend Mauro Esquivel, who now pastors Iglesia La Cruz in central Reynosa, brought a team of five helpers (Daniel & Veronica Ruiz Salas, Ivan Hiram Gonzalez Rea, Hermelinda Quiroz Isais, Maria de Jesus Quiroz Rodriguez, and Yael Aaron Barron Ontiveros), to assist with check in, pharmacy, and vision screenings. Frank Linenberger and Anthony Vessa handled taking vitals for all the patients. Chris Kinman performed the vision screenings, resulting in our giving away over 30 pairs of reading glasses. Diane Linenberger helped with patient flow and blessing folks with her love and hospitality. Board member Scott McDonald oversaw the operation of the clinic.
Engaging the schools in the communities is always a goal of our trips. We were blessed to do STEM activities with both the high school and primary school at La Union on the canal on Thursday morning and with Regents Christian School for grades 4-6 on Friday. Tony Vessa created a curriculum surrounding the 4 states of matter, which corresponding experiments to demonstrate the differences between the states. The kids pretended to be atoms and were grouped tightly for solids, held hands for liquids, and were freestanding for gases. The kids then had to clarify a corn starch mixture as a solid or liquid based on the definition (liquids conform to the container). To demonstrate the properties of gases, Tony used dry ice. And finally, to demonstrate plasma, he built a Jacob's ladder. All the kids learned a ton and enjoyed themselves immensely.
Besides Tony, our team on Thursday included Anthony & Holly Vessa, as well as Frank and Diane Linenberger as helpers. Cory Vessa translated. On Friday, Brian Gaide and his three girls (Aralyn, Ellie, and Scarlet) helped, along with Holly Vessa. Shelia Rosales (a teacher at Regents) and Cory Vessa translated.
Each month, Bruce and Paula Hepburn have a dispensa at the Community Center for the Nopelera community. They began with a worship service, where Rohi missionary, David Garcia, led worship. Then Bruce gave a message with Pastor Jaime Mayorga translating. Cory prayed a blessing over Bruce and Paula's ministry. After the service, each family received a bag of beans, rice, a bottle of olive oil and various other food items. Our team helped out with the distribution and it was a blessing to partner with the Hepburns in their ministry.
This is one of our favorite ministry activities because it starts off our trips with a focus on knowing and ministering to the residents in a very personal way. We divided into two groups, one with David and the other with Luzma (our missionaries) and we walked the Nopelera community, telling people about the upcoming medical clinic, talking with them about their prayer needs, praying over those needs, and giving them small gifts (stuffed animals for the kids and shampoo for the adults). We were incredibly blessed at the vulnerability of those we prayed with, as they shared their struggles and received our prayers with joy.
Saturday afternoon, we hosted a community celebration in the 23 of March community. A lot of people gathered to prepare food for over 300 people. Pastor Antonio from New Hope Church and Pastor Mauro from La Cruz Church (Daniel Ruiz Salas & Ivan Hiram Gonzalez Rea) worked many hours cooking the chicken. Luzma led a team of ladies to prepare the side dishes. We hired a clown and our team, with help from Verónica Analí Ruiz Salas, provided face painting and other games for the children to enjoy. It was a very hot afternoon, with temperatures climbing to over 95 degrees. Despite the heat, it was a fun way to end the trip. At the end of the celebration, youth from Gracia Abundante, the church the Garcias attend, came and handed out a dispensa similar to the one at the Hepburn's Community Center.
Our next trip is planned for June 2020. Please consider joining us as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus!
Read more about our trip in our November 2019 Newsletter.