Summer Trip Update: Our biggest medical clinic ever...
We had 21 people come from the US on the Summer Trip and about 20 volunteers from Reynosa.
Below is the team picture, though many on the team were actually not in the picture. Special thanks to all our volunteers from Gracia Abundante Church, Pastor Jaime and his friends and supporters, and Mauro Esquivel and his family and friends.
God had great things in store for this mission trip. And despite all the devil's attempts to derail the trip, 21 people from Austin, Houston and San Antonio came to be God's hands and feet. The main focus of the trip was medical, and we saw over 168 patients with three local doctors. We also had a vision clinic which saw over 70 patients and a well check clinic which saw about 100 children. And God enabled us to have two local dentists who saw about 20 patients. We did our best to stay out of the heat, which was mild for a Reynosa Summer.
Read below about all that God did and pray about coming on a future trip.
Go Here to Read More about Upcoming Trips.
Toiletry and Towel Distribution / Canvasing
When we have a smaller trip, we typically don't have much to give away. But God provided abundantly for us. We were able to give away over 120 full gallon sized bags of toiletries as we walked through the community the first evening of the trip. Toiletries like deodorant and shampoo are luxury items for people in the colonia. With an average wage of $8-11 a day 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 walked through the community in five groups, each with a member of the Garcia family (our missionaries) and 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 most importantly, we prayed together. The families shared their struggles and we lifted them before the Lord. But what made this experience unique was the fact that four local ladies joined us. Cory Vessa and David Garcia Jr. led that group and these ladies went and visited and prayed for their neighbors and friends. When our actions can inspire locals to do the same, we know that the Lord has truly moved in hearts and minds and that when we leave, His spirit will remain and that He will use others to be His hands and feet in our absence.
Medical Clinic This was our third medical clinic in the colonia. Led again by Greg and Jennifer Gilbert, we were able to recruit three doctors and had it in the community center, which does have an air conditioner. With the help of Dr. Sergio, Dr. Corona, and Dr. Corona's son, Dr. Jorge Corona, we saw 168 patients! Because of Greg and Mauro Esquivel's continued efforts, we had a full pharmacy to dispense medications to the patients. Melinda Armbuster's training as a medical technician enabled us do 30 EKGs (five were abnormal). But the true beauty of the medical clinic was the teamwork. Each person on the team had a designated role and fulfilled it with a spirit of humility and love. Whether it was Tammy Kraus and Eugenia Pina managing the intake and check in, or Will Morris and Greg Gilbert doing vitals, or Jennifer Gilbert assisting the doctors and handling medications, or Pastor Jaime, Pastor Jose, Mauro, Valeria, and Ximena Esquivel translating, every member of the team was needed and valuable.
This is Dr, Brett Hamilton's second vision clinic in the community. Having done it once before, he was more prepared and ready to meet the need.
In two days, he saw over 70 patients. In the US, a good day at his practice, he would see 22 patients. Truly, he was a man with a mission! But he could not have done it all without help from his mom, Linda, who dispensed glasses, and Susy Smith, who being completely bilingual, helped the patients fill out the intake forms and completed a pre-screening examination, while at the same time getting to know the patients and praying for them. You can read one of her interviews here about a young man with a miraculous story of healing and faith. Special thanks also to Enrique Mejia Victoria who translated for Brett on Saturday and for Eugenia Pina who translated for Linda.
Dentistry Clinic Dental care in the colonia is a serious and continual need. Most middle age residents have very few teeth left, as when cavities or other dental aliments strike, the only affordable option is to have the tooth pulled. It was our great desire to add a dental ministry to our array of services.
Two dentists agreed to come and help. The first, Anaiz Olivares Vela, came on Friday with Mauro Esquivel for a "look see." She was so moved, she saw patients for three hours. Then on Saturday, the dentist that was scheduled to come and see patients had to cancel. At our morning prayer time we prayed that God would miraculously provide a replacement, as we had told the entire community while we were canvassing that we would have a dentist on Saturday. When Dr. Corona and his family arrived at the clinic, his son, Jorge, brought his girlfriend, Daniella Castillo Flores. When we told her the story of the canceled dentist, she said, "I'm a dentist." She proceeded to see patients for the next few hours. Both Daniella and Anaiz have agreed to do a full dental clinic on a future trip and want to come back to the community to see patients even in our absence. God is so faithful and good.
Well Check Clinic
For years we have wanted to track the basic vitals of the children in the colonia in an attempt to provide preventative care. But other priorities required the effort to be put on hold. When Diego Miro Rivera contacted us about donating soccer uniforms as part of an Eagle Scout project and he agreed to come on the trip to distribute them with his friend Sam Hewitt, we decided we had the resources to do a well check clinic. We could use the uniforms as an incentive to increase attendance at La Union School and, with the boys help, had sufficient manpower to staff a well check clinic. The boys, along with Lana Morris, Scott McDonald, Stephen Roeber and Maynard Jones, took vitals on almost 100 children, each receiving either a soccer uniform (jersey, shorts, and socks) or a stuffed animal. On Friday we held it at La Union School and on Saturday morning we held it in front of the medical clinic at the community center. Special thanks to Ximena Esquivel and her friends Alicia and Samuel Luna who translated for us on Friday. We hope to do these well checks at least annually.
Diego and Sam Bless Kids Diego Miro Rivera and Sam Hewitt did more than just collect and distribute soccer uniforms. Everywhere they went, they played soccer with the kids and just encouraged and connected with them. At the colonia, the orphanage and the streets surrounding the orphanage...they interacted with the kids. And all those kids...all of them, got soccer uniforms and wore them proudly. Stay tuned for the completed version of the video they are compiling, as Diego took his GoPro everywhere and filmed. Here is the link to the first minute.
Christian Video Evangelism and Women's Crafts Our heart is to teach the residents of the colonia about Jesus and to show them the love of God. At times our limited manpower and Spanish abilities make it hard to teach God's Word. But the medical clinic waiting area provides a unique opportunity to capture the attention of those waiting for a few minutes. To capitalize on this, we showed children's Bible story videos in the waiting area both days continually. We pray that God will move in the hearts of the adults and children who heard God's word through these videos. We also just want to provide fun activities for the residents. So we set up a craft area for the kids and women. A lady who lives just a few houses away from the community center, Lupe, decided to supervise the craft area for us and spent the entire two days helping the ladies make bracelets and the children draw pictures. This trip more than any other saw the residents themselves taking on leadership roles and that was a huge blessing to us and them.
We had four children on the trip: Holly, Ellie, Aaron, and Isaac. Though we tried to involve them as much as possible, the heat and the nature of this trip's purpose (medical clinic) made it more difficult than normal. Missy Watts took on the important job of supervising them. It is our goal that children not only be exposed to another world, so vastly different from their own, but also enjoy their time while serving. To that end, in the heat of the afternoons, they went back to Big Heart Orphanage and swam in the pool. Thank you Missy for serving the team by watching the kids and helping them process this incredible experience.
Maintenance of Bathrooms at La Union School On the Spring Break trip, Maynard Jones spearheaded a renovation of the La Union bathrooms, fixing all the plumbing. We also stuccoed the walls to make the bathroom more appealing. But, kids are kids, and soon, the toilets didn't work, as the kids flushed rocks, and the sinks were clogged with tissue paper. Maynard, with the help of Lana Morris, Scott McDonald and Stephen Roeber, got the bathrooms all fixed and fully operational again.
Bible Club and Movie Night
The Garcia family (Rohi's missionaries) held a children's Bible club on Friday night and a movie night at the air conditioned community center on Saturday night. By engaging the community with special events like this, including serving the best shaved ice around and popcorn at the movie night, we are trying to make life a little more enjoyable for the residents and give them a special treat.
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’s Facebook 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 September or over Thanksgiving. Visit our website to learn more.
Well and Water Update
When we arrived in the colonia, the pumps had been out on the La Union well for a week. No one had water. Scott McDonald and Lana Morris got to work right away at fixing the problem and had the pumps on the well operational by the end of the trip. Everyone in the colonia was very happy to have water again, as you can imagine. After the mission trip, we began the final phase of the water project. In this final phase we are replacing pipe in La Nopalera (the community where the Garcia's live) that is not functioning well and connecting tanks for each household. The first section of La Nopalera has been completed - from the Garcia's house to the entrance of the colonia. We began by replacing about 1700 ft. of 1 inch black poly pipe with 2 inch PVC. David (our missionary) has been coordinating with COMAPA (Water department of Reynosa) to help the families buy Rotoplas tanks from COMAPA. 48 of the 80+ families in this section needed tanks. These are being installed and connected so all of these families can have better access to water.
Roy and Rebecca Busby (Missionaries from Alabama who work in the colonia as Rohi's partners) have raised $4000 to complete the work in the rest of La Nopalera from the Garcia's house to the Gates. We are currently planning and purchasing the supplies for the pipe replacement and tank installations in the rest of La Nopalera. It looks like it will be complete by mid July. Thank you Lord for your provision!