Thanksgiving Trip Update: God provided abundantly
God’s provision on this Thanksgiving trip was overwhelming. In every respect, God answered prayer and poured out blessings. There were so many areas of work and countless stories of God’s provision. Below are summaries of each area. Take a moment to meet people just like you; perhaps they will inspire you to join us on our Spring Break trip, March 16-20. Sign up at our website, www.therohifoundation.org .
Water Line Installation Water line from La Union Well Brings Water to Families Because of a $2,000 donation two weeks before the trip, we were able to purchase the needed pipe for the water line installation. That with another $500 donation a few weeks before and sufficient participants on the trip to cover the remaining costs, enabled board member Scott McDonald and his team (Dominic Edison, George and Ian Chiu, Raymond Park, Kory Mueller and local Colonia men) to install 3,000 feet of pipe. Dozens of homes now have fresh water from our new well. We still have 12,000 feet to go, with funding needs of about $1 per foot, or $12,000. We hope to install another 2-3,000 feet of pipe on our Spring Break trip. Slowly, we will bring fresh water to this part of the colonia. Enable the next 3,000 feet of pipe by donating here.
Jacket and Blanket Distribution
Thanks to the Women’s Bible Study and Grace Covenant Church and the diligent efforts of each family coming on the trip, we collected hundreds of blankets and coats. Given there is absolutely no heat in the colonia – not in homes, schools or churches – these coats and blankets enable the residents to survive a winter that is very similar in nature to Austin's. Quite literally these coats become like an outer skin, as the residents wear them day and night for months. During our canvassing of the neighborhood, where we visit each home along the canal, pray for each family, and hand out a flyer with activities for the weekend, we gave each family blankets, as well as coloring books and crayons. Then, during school after we left, our missionaries, David and Luzma, distributed the coats, ensuring each family at the school received some. Ensuring equitable distribution of blankets and coats is critical because these items are so valuable to them. Special thanks to Cecilie Engle, Lyda McIver and all our kids for sorting hundreds of coats and to Cory Vessa, Scott McDonald and Tom Erickson who crossed the border each morning at 6 AM to bring a load of coats and supplies, due to the border restrictions that prevent bringing a trailer full all at once.
Medical Clinic The Lord poured out His blessing on our medical clinic. Led by Greg and Jennifer Gilbert, this clinic almost didn’t happen. We did not want Greg to be the only trained medical professional at the clinic, but our best efforts yielded very little assistance. We prayed and fasted for God’s provision. Thursday afternoon, with the clinic opening Friday morning, Mauro Esquivel, one of our translators, informed us that a local doctor and member of David and Luzma’s church, Dr. Sergio, would be coming on Friday to help. Dr. Sergio elevated it to a full medical clinic, as he was able to write prescriptions we did not have on hand, and as a local, had full knowledge of the medical resources available and could refer patients that needed additional care to appropriate providers. With the help of an entire team of volunteers, the Gilberts, Philip and Nicole Engle, our translators, Mauro Esquivel, Pastor Jaime, and Ilde Quintero and a local nurse that was a part of Big Heart Orphanage in her youth, Griselda, we saw 65 patients, with illnesses ranging from hepatitis to strep throat, diabetes (which nearly everyone has) to chicken pox. While the patients waited, sometimes for hours, Greg Gilbert educated them on diabetes prevention and management, and Luzma conducted a Bible study. Despite the crowd, Dr. Sergio lovingly prayed for each and every patient he saw. The Gilberts and Dr. Sergio have committed to hold future clinics in the colonia. On Sunday at Gracia Abundante Church in Reynosa, where David and Luzma attend, the group was honored for their work in front of the congregation. As a result, two additional doctors expressed interest in joining their team. A special thanks to Greg Gilbert and Scott McDonald who truly believed God would provide and proceeded with having the clinic despite the seemingly difficult circumstances.
Vision Clinic Round Rock Family Eye Care Optometrist, Brett Hamilton, his wife Kristin, Marion Wachsmann, Diana Tripp and interpreters Idle Quintero, Jose, Estrella and Abraham, held a vision clinic, saw over 100 patients and gave away over 70 pairs of glasses that missionaries Bruce and Paula Hepburn (Mexico Missions) provided from a previous donation. The impact on the community was incredible. One little girl was practically blind, not being able to see well enough to attend school. She was fitted for glasses and now should be able go to school for the first time. Another lady, Juana, is now able to read for the first time in ten years. The privilege of being able to see well is one we often take for granted. Because of the vision team’s work, the people of the colonia received the help they need to read and learn and hopefully make a better life for themselves and their families.
Painting with a Twist - Women's Art Craft Deanna Mueller led a women’s art craft, with the help of Theresa Domingo and family that simulated the popular “Painting with a Twist” art studios that guide participants in how to create a work of art. Both Friday and Saturday, women painted 50 canvases, creating art that will adorn the walls of their homes. The pride in themselves and their work was evident on each woman’s face. None of the participants had ever done anything like this in the past.
Ceiling Fan Installation Trip coordinator and board member, Cory Vessa, fresh off her first summer visit to the colonia, experiencing the intense 100-degree heat, collected old, but working, ceiling fans from her neighbors for months before the trip. Her dad, Maynard Jones, led a team that installed 7 ceiling fans, 4 at La Union School, and 3 in the homes of the volunteers that cook lunch daily for the school. Given this is the only form of climate control available for the residents, there is now a waiting list for a fan. Cory continues to collect fans and predicts she will never go to the colonia again without several in her car.
Youth Sports Each day after school, Mike and his daughter Mahali Domingo, led youth sports at La Union School. Whether teaching kids how to hit a ball with a bat, supervising soccer matches or just goofing around on the field, the Domingos connected with the youth. In a place where fathers are often absent, Mike served as a male role model. It is often in play that we connect the most deeply with the colonia’s youth. The Domingo family did a terrific job facilitating this most important aspect of missions.
House Painting A huge group collaborated on house painting: the Ericksons, Domingos, Hochstatters, Tripps, and Wachsmanns all had a hand in completing two home paintings. With recycled paint from Austin Resource Recovery, the team beautified the homes of two school volunteers. Painting is an important way to involve our kids on the mission trip. Many times, our main projects require a higher skill level than kids can contribute, but everyone can paint. Projects like this both encourage our local colonia volunteers by rewarding their diligent efforts and give a sense of accomplishment and contribution to our kids.
Thanksgiving Dinner Valerie, Breann, Shawn Erickson led the team to cook Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Each and every year, Valerie and her family faithfully cooks this wonderful meal so the trip participants can experience Thanksgiving even while on a mission trip. All of Rohi’s Reynosa’s partners are invited to the event, which hosts more than a 100 people.
Bible Lesson After School Board member Cory Vessa led a team to conduct a Bible lesson and craft after sch
Maintaining Our First Water Tower Everything requires maintenance and after several years, the old water tower at La Nopalera by David and Luzma’s house, was in need of repair. Kory Mueller and Shawn Erickson worked alone for hours to restore the metal base. It isn’t glamorous or easy work, but the water the tower provides is a lifeline to hundreds. Imaging balancing on those cross beams with an electric grinder or paint brush/bucket in your hands - acrobatics!
Trip Documentary and Interviews We were blessed to have news anchor Crestina Hardie, and her husband, cameraman, Chris Hardie, on the trip. With their baby girl in tow, they interviewed most of the trip participants, documenting what the Lord was doing in hearts and minds. These interviews will soon be on our website and will hopefully encourage others to come on trips and give towards Rohi’s work. Special thanks to Naya Domingo who spent most of her days watching the Hardie’s other three girls, enabling their work.
Child Supervision With 15 children under the age of 10, Eric Wachsmann and Daryl Tripp had their hands full supervising all the fun along with Mike Domingo and family. While Rohi does its best to engage the kids on several projects, much of their time is spent, by design, in play with the colonia kids. This is itself is a ministry because it shows our kids that even though the colonia kids are poor and speak a different language, they are kids just like them. Thanks guys for enabling all the work on the trip, by taking care of those little ones we love so dearly.
Community Picnic On Saturday afternoon, we closed out the trip with a community-wide picnic. Rohi purchased chicken, potatoes, tortillas and ingredients for pico de gallo. The colonia resident volunteers spent the day cooking a great meal for us and the entire community. Luzma and David held a competitive, but fun, run for the kids to start the day off. Then, trip participants led carnival style games that they had brought. David and Luzma arranged for a clown and worship band to entertain us all. Board member Scott McDonald even set up a zip line that was extremely popular and never ceased to have a line.
It is Your Turn to Come to Reynosa! It was a tremendous trip, full of God’s provision and blessings. There are so many more stories to tell. Be sure to check out Rohi’sFacebook page and website to read more about the trip and see all the pictures. And please prayerfully consider coming with us on our next trip.