Spring Break 2023 Review
We had an amazing Spring Break trip partnering with the Austin Chinese-American Network on a missions trip for high school students. We had 20 participants - 14 from ACAN and 6 from Rohi. In all, 15 high school students and 5 adults had an amazing week serving together!
The lead team (Scott, Cory, Lori (Scott's wife) and Dax (Scott's granddaughter)) left on Sunday morning, before the group's arrival on Monday afternoon. Sunday night, after successfully crossing the border with a trailer full of stuff (both for the trip and furniture for Big Heart), they went to the church David Garcia (Rohi missionary) pastors, Iglesia Nueva Esperanza. After worshipping together, the congregation did the catapult experiment the team planned. Since it was mainly younger kids, they did the one tailored for a younger age group. It involved making a catapult together. Then, each child (and some adults) got to launch a cotton ball and see who could launch the farthest! They awarded candy prizes to the top 10 and a great time was had by all.
Monday, they went out to the canal to inspect progress on the new classrooms at the school in Nopalera and then went to the high school in La Union to fix some electrical problems and do maintenance on their air conditioners (which weren't functioning properly). While all that was happening, they also led the students in the catapult experiment tailored for older students. Each student team of 2 had 30 minutes to make their own catapult design and compete against their classmates for the one that could launch a cotton ball the farthest. It also went quite well!
Afterwards, Scott and David inspected some issues for the water lines and the ladies grouped the feminine products we planned to distribute to the migrants on Thursday.
Team Arrives in Reynosa
Meanwhile on Monday, the team from Austin Chinese American Network gathered and headed south in a 15 passenger van (with Cory's son driving her minivan with the luggage in caravan). They made it to Pharr and parked the van at a Christian radio station. Scott and Cory met them there in one of Big Heart's vans and crossed the group at the Pharr/Hidalgo Bridge. We made our way to Big Heart and spent the remainder of the afternoon settling in, eating dinner, doing dishes, having a team meeting and a devotional time (a typical late afternoon/early evening on the trip).
Day 1 - STEM lessons at Regents with secondary students
Tuesday morning, the team awoke early for a quick breakfast and walked the two blocks from Big Heart to Regents School of Reynosa (with the Big Heart kids). After setting up, the team did the catapult activity with 4 groups - 8th, 9th, 7th A, 7th B), comprising over 150 students! After a short lunch at Big Heart, they returned and did the activity with the 10th and 12th grades.
When the classes ended at 4 PM, everyone headed back to Big Heart for some needed rest and relaxation before dinner. After dinner, we had our team meeting and devotional time.
Day 2 - STEM lessons at Regents with primary students, Robotics with Big Heart, 11th grade STEM at Regents & Toiletry Packing
Wednesday was a busy day. In the morning, we did our catapult STEM activites at Regents with grades 1-6 (over 250 students). For the 1st and 2nd graders, volunteers were paired with 2-3 students to do the catapult activity. After heading back to Big Heart for lunch, part of our team returned to do the catapult activity with an 11th grade group, while another group remained at Big Heart to do robotics with the kids there. The final ministry activity of the day was packing toiletry bags to be distributed to the migrants. We ended the day with dinner, team meeting and a devotional time.
Day 3 - STEM lessons at Colegio la Cruz, Sandwich making, & Senda La Vida/Migrant Camp visit/distribution
Thursday, the last day of ministry, the team headed to the 23rd of March colonia to do our catapult activity with the students at Colegio La Cruz. As a special blessing, each child was given a solar light to help remember how much Jesus loves them. After the lesson, the group did a brief tour of the community to get a sense of the living conditions.
After returning to Big Heart, the team got busy making 1000+ peanut butter sandwiches. After lunch, the team loaded into vans and went to three different migrant camps, ending with Senda La Vida 2. At these camps, all the toiletries, sandwiches, and bananas were distributed. During our times at the camps, the team was able to tour the living conditions. It was a very impactful.
We ended the trip by just having a fun time with the kids at Big Heart and then having a concert. Three of the high school students did a musical performance for everyone. What a treat! Lastly, we had a team meeting and devotional, where Pastor Mauro came to share about his ministry to the migrants. It was an early departure Friday morning, and the team headed back to Austin after crossing the border.