Rohi Newsletter February 2016
Spring Break Trip Update
Currently we have 38 people signed up for the Spring Break trip (March 16-20th). We have many projects planned. We will continue to work on the well project, installing another 3,000 feet of water line. There will be another medical clinic, run by Greg and Jennifer Gilbert. Several local doctors will be helping at the clinic. They are purchasing antibiotics and other medicines and are asking for donations. Please prayerfully consider donating here. We are adding a hand washing station outside the bathroom at La Union School to facilitate better hygiene. We are also installing solar hot water heaters for dish washing. Paul Austin is heading a team to conduct a Science and Engineering day for the high school students at the Prepatoria, while Susan George is leading a similar activity for the younger students. Jennifer Hurst and Emily Timmons are leading the "Painting with a Twist" art activity for the women of the colonia, which we debuted last trip and was a huge success. The Panto family is leading after school sports with the colonia kids. Women's Bible study at Grace Covenant Church is helping us with an Easter Egg Hunt as part of our Easter celebration for the community. They are filling hundreds of plastic Easter eggs for the kids to enjoy. Women's Bible study at Grace is also helping us collect towels and toiletry items to hand out to residents. Items like shampoo and lotion are luxuries that otherwise they live without. There is a collection box in the lobby of the Grace 360 building (9508 Jollyville Road) if you would like to donate items. We covet your prayers for the trip. There is a spiritual battle raging against our work in this community. Please join us in praying not only for the success of this trip, but for the ongoing work in the colonia.
Especially pray for the Garcias, who on a daily basis are Rohi's hands and feet. There are still a few spots available if you would like to come on the trip. We need you to contact Cory Vessa ASAP.
Colonia Profiles: Rohi's work over the years
As we begin 2016, we thought it appropriate to reflect back on the work we have done in the colonias over the years. Rohi became a 501C3 non-profit organization in 2007. The work that has been accomplished since then has made an incredible difference. We are so thankful for all those who gave and who came on trips to make all this possible, thus changing lives with hearts to share the love of Jesus. The items listed are just highlights, and fail to mention a multitude of important projects, which also made a huge impact. We also didn’t mention much of the Garcia’s day to day work, including their administration of the Little Blue Schools and their ongoing ministry in the community, including their Saturday evening children’s Bible studies and adult and marriage counseling. It is also apparent our very close relationship with Mexico Missions, run by Bruce and Paula Hepburn. Enjoy this look back at all the Lord has done in the colonia!
Before Rohi's inception in 2007, the main focus of the work was building houses for the residents. That same year, Bruce and Paula Hepburn of Mexico Missions began a ministry focused on building homes. That enabled Rohi to switch our focus to intrastructure projects, such as the first well. The photos above are of that first well at La Nopelera.
In 2008 the Garcia family came to be Rohi's onsite missionaries. Building their house (shown above) was a labor of love, as it would be not only their home, but the base of Rohi's ministry in the community. That year we also built a small bath house and some houses for residents.
We continued work on the Garcia's home, adding the front porch that would be used for community meetings and other ministry related activities. We also began installing water pipe to the residents' homes from the main well.
Installing pipe to reach the community with water was the main focus. We increased the capacity of the pumps by installing solar power and a new pump at the well.
This year we finally finished a four-year project of water distribution in the front 2.5 miles of the colonia. In the end, we connected approximately 250 families to clean water. This year, with funding from Mexico Missions, we constructed another water tower between the bridge and the gates. We also made improvements to the Garcia’s house and purchased them an audio/visual system to facilitate their ministry in the colonia. Another key area of ministry included starting a series of classes on how to start and run a small business with Alianza Cristiana.
Our goal this year was to enhance and expand our past projects. We upgraded the bathhouse at La Nopelera with tile, making it look much nicer and easier to clean; we added another water tower at the front of the colonia to enhance water pressure (with funding from Mexico Missions); and we installed backup generators for the solar powered pumps for the well to provide extra power for additional hours of pumping. We also expanded our reach with the Little Blue Schools to two additional schools – Unidad Esfuerza and Ramon Perez. At this point, there were about 200 students served by the four Little Blue Schools.
This was the year we switched the focus of our attention from the front part of the colonia, by La Nopelera, to the back, by La Union. We installed kitchen facilities and a playground at the La Union School. We also added kitchen facilities to the school at La Calichera and added solar powered electricity, enabling lights and fans for the classrooms and a new refrigerator for the kitchen. The four Little Blue Schools hit a census of over 300 students in 2013. A tuition free high school at La Union school began this year with three students. Lastly, we installed solar power systems in three homes in the community, giving them access lights, fans and refrigeration for the first time.
Due to incredible growth in the high school at the La Union School, our major project for this year was building a facility to house the high school. We went from three students, to over twenty-five. We constructed a building with two school rooms made of cinder block. We also expanded the playground at La Union, to the great excitement of the children. Lastly, Mexico Missions constructed a covered patio over the community meeting space outside of David and Luzma’s house.
Our focus this year was to bring water to the newer part of the colonia. The first 2.5 miles of the colonia are serviced by the well by David and Luzma’s house. But past the gates, all the families lived without sufficient access to water. We drilled a new well at La Union School, built a new water tower, tied into the electrical grid, and installed the first 3,000 feet of water pipe. With the help of Mexico Missions, we also upgraded the electrical at the well by David and Luzma’s, so the pump can run enough to meet the water needs of that community. Mexico Missions also funded and helped install another 2,000 feet of pipe. Additionally, we began a medical clinic ministry with the help of Greg and Jennifer Gilbert, which we pray will become a regular component of our Thanksgiving and Spring Break trips. We also did our first vision clinic with the help of Brett and Kristin Hamilton.