Thanksgiving Trip 2020 Recap
What an amazing Thanksgiving trip the Lord enabled! Truly, everything went very smoothly and everyone on the trip (Cory's family and Scott) was so immensely blessed. Thanks to everyone who enabled the work via your prayers, your financial support and your donations. We are blessed to share with you all the ministry that happened, and all the needs that were highlighted during our 5 days in Reynosa.
Collecting all the donations and Crossing them at the Border
Preparing for a trip is an undertaking. And the need in Reynosa right now is significant, so collecting items to help meet that need was a goal. We collected coats, blankets, toiletries, and gifts for the kids. The response (your response) was tremendous. We filled the trailer to the brim and we filled both our minivans as well.
Collecting items is one thing, but getting them across the border is another. The customs officials on the Mexican side have rules and regulations they must follow in regards to the items permitted to cross the border and the quantities of those items. The law states that each person is allowed $75 of purchases to cross without paying a 20% tax (that is right, 20%). Clothing items, beyond personal use, are prohibited in order to prevent used clothing flooding the retail market in Mexico. Thus, crossing coats is always a challenge.
But God was so faithful. The customs officials were exceptionally lenient and even waved the tax required on the $1200 worth of new toys we crossed, saving us $250. In all, we made 10 trips across the border and brought nearly all the items donated across. Thank you for your prayers as this is a massive part of any trip and always is a huge challenge.
Science Day Classes and Gift Distribution
For several years now, we have done Science Days with the students. This year we focused on magnetism. We did five classes (2 on Thursday and 3 on Friday) and taught the concepts with help of various experiments. After the lessons, we distributed the gifts consisting of 1. a new backpack, 2. a warm coat, 3. a blanket, 4. a cloth mask, and 5. a toy/gift based on the student's preferences.
It was such a joy to both teach the students and also be the bearers of the gifts. Some memorable moments included the following: A 12 year old boy (Antonio) received an art set for his gift. He came back the next day and showed us all the art he had created. Another boy (Roldan) received a new soccer ball and pump, a soccer uniform and cleats. After his class, he changed into his soccer uniform and came back to show us. Another girl just joined the class (Yareli) and she didn't expect anything. But we put together a gift set for her and she was so excited she squealed and jumped up and down with joy. Another little girl, aged 3 (Rebecca), was too young to be in a class, but she liked to hang out with us. I didn't have a gift set for her, but I did have an extra new princess blanket. I presented it to her and she was thrilled. She carried it around with her the rest of the morning and wouldn't put it down. Another little boy (Sem) was so excited about his new jacket, he wore it all morning, even though it was 90 degrees.
We are so grateful for all the donations and support. Truly it was our great blessing to be the ones to bring them to these wonderful children.
Community Outreach to Feeding Program with La Cruz Church
On Saturday morning, our Rohi team joined with La Cruz Church to do an outreach event at a feeding program for extremely impoverished youth from some of the toughest neighborhoods in Reynosa. Dona Maria has for many years served the children of this community two meals a day, while instilling in them the Word. Pastor Mauro and La Cruz Church sponsor a meal Saturday mornings and do activities with the kids.
This Saturday morning, our team from Rohi brought watercolor and face paints for the kids. We also did our science lesson presentation on magnetism. The kids also received bags of candy as a gift.
We gave Pastor Mauro several bags of stuffed animals, over 120 Hot Wheels toy cars, and other presents to distribute to these children at Christmas. He also expressed a need for about 100 soccer jerseys so that he can realize his vision of a soccer tournament for the kids.
It was a blessed morning to serve. And we look forward to continuing our partnership to bring the love and hope of Jesus, as well as His word of truth, to these children and families in need.
High School Graduation Ceremony and Presentation of the Computers
On Saturday, November 28th, we gathered with 7 of the 8 graduates to give them both their diplomas and their new computers. We began giving computers to the graduates of the high school in La Union in 2016 and even though this year has been full of challenges, we wanted to continue to honor their achievement with this gift.
The names of the graduates are as follows:
Jorge Enrique Castro Hernández, Citlaly Cortina Sánchez, Edwin Alejandro García Pérez, Alejandro Montero Torres, Enrique Ponce del Ángel, Eli Jared Ramírez Rocha, Jennifer Mariana Rosas, and Adrián Alejandro Rodríguez Águeda
Five of the seven present at the ceremony plan to continue their studies. Two want to pursue nursing. We hope these new laptops can aide them in all their future endeavors. Please pray blessings on them.
We also had another graduate from the La Union community - Elizabeth Reyes Duarte. She also received a new computer. Elizabeth is a US citizen and attended Hidalgo Early College High School. She graduated in June and is now working in McAllen as she saves money to begin college next year. She wants to pursue a degree in Medicine.
Also during the ceremony, we gave the principal, Lupita, 10 tablets for use in the program. All of the exams are online and right now she doesn't have a way for the students to take them. During this time of virtual schooling, she plans to allow students without another device to use the tablets, and once school resumes, they will be the classroom devices available for testing and other teaching endeavors.
We are especially grateful to DressWell GiveWell, who donated the bulk of the money for the new computers. Several other families donated as well. What blessings these gifts will be to end the cycle of poverty so endemic to these communities and bring hope!
Church Service at La Union 2 Apartments and Food and Coat Distribution
Sunday afternoon, our missionary, David, and his family set up for their weekly church service at the La Union apartments. David led the worship and this week, Pastor Willy from Gracia Abudante Church in Reynosa, gave the sermon. The sermon was on being thankful in all things and it was powerful. Afterwards, we had a delicious chicken meal and then distributed food "dispensas" and blankets. Because of some generous donations, we will be able to provide monthly food dispensas to about 30 families for the next few months. These food packages contain cooking oil, rice, beans, bleach, flour, sugar, canned fish and milk. Many families are experiencing food insecurity and we hope this helps meet some of that need.
The Garcias plan to give out the toiletries and small toys donated (the $5 toys like soccer balls, Barbies, Hot Wheels sets, etc.) at their upcoming Christmas celebration. They also plan to distribute more coats and blankets to the Nopelera and 23rd of March communities.
We are so incredibly grateful for your donations and for the grace of God that went before us to bring these items across the border. We know what a tremendous blessing they are in this incredibly challenging time.