Spring Break Trip was a Huge Success
We had 32 people come on the Spring Break Trip. This was our team picture, including the Garcias, our missionaries in the community, and their friends and supporters from Gracia Abundante Church in Reynosa.
God went before us and poured out His blessing on our trip
The trip was amazing. Every time we come back we say this because God is always faithful. 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.
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Water Line Installation South side of the canal is finished and water is flowing!
Hooking up people to water is an amazing experience. They smile over their fence as you install the pipe that will bring them unlimited fresh water for the first time. They offer you a refreshing soda, wanting to thank you for taking the time to help them. On this trip we installed 3,500 feet of pipe and put in hook ups for over 30 families. Special thanks to the Collins family, Emily and Everett Timmons, Jennifer Hurst, Paul Austin, and Anthony (10) and Baker (11) for struggling through some hot weather (mid-90's one day) and bringing life giving water to so many families. Help us finish funding this project and install pipe on the other side of the railroad tracks during our March Matchness Challenge. With a matching grant from Mexico Missions up to $5,000, we can fully fund this project and finish the pipe installation. Any money over the $5,000 ($10,000 when matched), will go to repairing pipe in La Nopelera and fitting those homes with the same water tank hook ups there as the ones we are installing in La Union, which regulate flow much better and enable more people to access water at the same time.
Toiletry and Towel Distribution/Canvasing
Thanks to the Women’s Bible Study and Grace Covenant Church and the diligent efforts of each family coming on the trip (especially Linda Hamilton), we collected a massive amount of toiletry items and towels and a number of stuffed animals to give to the children. Toiletries like deodorant and shampoo are luxury items for people in the colonia. With an average wage of $2 an hour and these items costing essentially the same price as in the United States, they are a want, not a need. So when we bless them with a significant supply of these items, it is treasured. We distributed the gifts while canvasing the neighborhood the first day in the colonia. We walked through the community in four groups, each with a translator, stopping at each house in our designated area. We met each family and learned about them.
We gave each family 2 gallon sized storage bags of toiletries and three towels. And most importantly, we prayed together. Every single person we talked to allowed us to pray with them, without exception. They shared their struggles and we lifted them before the Lord. It is a beautiful part of the trip.
Medical Clinic This was our second medical clinic in the colonia. Led again by Greg and Jennifer Gilbert, we were able to recruit two doctors this time instead of just one. Dr. Sergio (General Practitioner) saw 39 adults and Dr. Joe (Pediatrician) saw 25 children. Due to the diligent efforts of the Gilberts and Mauro Esquivel (Gracia Abudante) between the Thanksgiving and Spring Break trips, they were able to obtain a year supply of medication for the clinic. As a result, 95% of the patients they saw were able to take home with them the medications they needed. Special thanks to their team of volunteers: Philip, Cecilie and Nicole Engle, Linda Hamilton and our translators, Mauro and Valeria Esquivel. We have another medical trip planned for June 9-12th. Our first planning meeting is April 17th at 6:30 PM. Visit ourwebpage for more information.
Science and Engineering Day
Paul Austin, with the help of his wife Karen, Tony Vessa, and translator Pastor Jose, led a Science and Engineering Day for the primary and high school students. Both groups did a marshmallow challenge, where teams of three had to build the largest structure they could with only 20 pieces of spaghetti, a yard of tape, string, and a marshmallow. The high school students did a similar challenge using pieces of wood and various other materials to build a tower.
Then on Saturday, the high school students made mouse trap cars and had a competition to see which went the furthest. The team did a great job encouraging the kids to be creative, solve problems, improve on their designs and in so doing, consider a career in Science and Engineering. But the best part was how Paul tied everything back to the Lord. For example, he explained how a triangle is the strongest shape and how it points to the Trinity.
Painting with a Twist- Women's Art Craft / Mom's Day Out Because the "Painting with a Twist" women art craft was so popular on the Thanksgiving trip, Emily Timmons and Jennifer Hurst volunteered to lead it for this trip. With the help of Leah Ledbetter, they spent all day Friday helping the women create works of art. The women painted 40 canvases that will adorn the walls of their home. But in the end these colonia ladies left with more than just a piece of art. They left with pride in themselves and their abilities.
Bathroom Refurbishment It was apparent to everyone on the Thanksgiving trip that the bathrooms at La Union school were in horrible condition. Trip participant Maynard Jones was determined to fix them and thus he returned on the Spring Break trip to do so. But what faced us was even worse than when we left in November.
Only 2 toilets were semi-functional and all the sinks were clogged. Maynard and a team of workers including board member Scott McDonald, David Panto, Ruth Muelker, David Marsden, Karen Austin, Will Tuthill and Leah Ledbetter, (plus colonia residents Andreas and Johnny) not only fixed all the plumbing and returned everything to working order, they stuccoed the building, changing the bathroom completely. On the last day during the Community Easter Celebration, residents toured the bathroom, admiring the transformation. It was like HGTV colonia style!
Youth Sports and Child Supervision The Panto family volunteered to lead youth sports, but I don't think even they thought the soccer goals they purchased for the school would result in a non-stop game of soccer. Truly, I don't think there ever wasn't a game going. The Panto family also were instrumental in leading activities for our children (including stuffing 600 plastic Easter eggs and painting the wood surfaces for the bathroom) and supervising them during their rest/play breaks. It is that kind of servant's heart that make our trips so successful.
House Painting We all want our kids on the mission trip to feel like they made a difference. But many times, our main projects require a higher skill level than kids can contribute. However, painting a house is a wonderful family project. A huge group collaborated on the house painting: the Tuthills, the Vessas, the Pantos, Linda Hamilton (who didn't get a drop on her) and the Engle and Gilbert children. They did a great job repainting Faustina and Conrado's home. With recycled paint from Austin Resource Recovery, the team beautified their home, rewarding Faustina for her diligent efforts as a volunteer cook at La Union School.
Child Evangelism Board member Cory Vessa spent most of Friday with the children whose mothers were attending the women's art day and/or the medical clinic. She organized a painting and coloring station for the kids and had Bible lessons, showing videos in Spanish about the Miracles of Jesus and The Easter Story, with crafts and discussion of the video following. Evangelistic outreach to parents and children is Rohi's heart's desire on every trip, including our upcoming medical trip in June. To learn more click here.
Interviews of Residents Ellen Tuthill, with the help of Valeria Esquivel, David Marsden and Leah Ledbetter, interviewed colonia residents, learning their stories, asking for their prayer requests and helping Rohi better understand the backgrounds and needs of the colonia residents. Ellen has such a sweet and gentle spirit, we knew she would be a great fit for this role.
Community Picnic On Saturday afternoon, we closed out the trip with a community-Easter celebration. Rohi purchased chicken, potatoes, tortillas and ingredients for pico de gallo. Led by Luzma, the colonia resident volunteers, Laura Panto and Karen Austin spent the day cooking a great meal for us and the entire community. Then, trip participants led carnival style games that they had brought. David Marsden joined the worship band to entertain us all. Luzma helped Cory Vessa lead the residents through the story of Easter, giving them a book which they assembled as we went through each slide depicting the Easter story. And it all culminated in a massive Easter egg hunt, with 1700 eggs, over 1000 of which the Women's Bible Study at Grace Covenant Church purchased and assembled. It was the first community wide Easter egg hunt in colonia history.
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 this summer, June 9 -12th. Visit our website to learn more.