Greetings from Weslaco, Texas! Your fifteen missionaries have travelled safely to Texas from Athens, Alabama, Madison, Alabama, Alabaster, Alabama, and Caledonia, New York. With the able driving skills of both Don Payne and Kayo Pinson, we were even able to arrive early to our destination, allowing us about an hour or free time” between the completion of our “chores” and our meal tonight.
As we no longer depart from the church, you may not know that we have a full bus this year, with every seat being taken, including the two extra “jump seats” in the very back of the bus. Since we needed the space in the back of the bus for people, we had to rent a U-Haul for all our stuff: tools, kitchen items, trail mix, bedding, suitcases, pillows, air mattresses, boots, buckets, …. The only items we put on the bus were our overnight bags, our personal “pass the time” items, our road trip snacks, and a cooler of water. (Thank you Miss Virginia, Jac Catlett, and Elise Harbin for making goodies for our travel time. One of our group even left a restaurant dessert behind, because “why eat that when I can have those delicious, home-baked goodies on the bus?”) Surprisingly, the last two seats at the back of the bus turned out to be possibly the best “real estate” for traveling. As Doug Harbin and Shawn Irwin found out … those last two seats have enough leg room for a card table and a yoga mat!
The voyage here was delightfully uneventful with lots of time to get to know the rookies on the trip: Tom Lewis, the minister at Copeland, and his two daughters Rachel and Laura, and Jamie Irwin, who is my niece. As has become our tradition, Don Miller “fixes” our bus so there are available power sources for all our digital devices on all sides of the bus. Also, early in the trip on Saturday, there is a Booktalk on the books in the traveling library, so we can pass the time by reading, as well as talking, eating goodies, and napping. (At one place in Texas where we stopped for gas, we crossed paths with a woman who was fromToney, Alabama; for some reason, she thought we were on a girls’ gambling trip, in spite of the fact that we drove in on a church bus and we were all wearing mission t-shirts.) We also spend a little time talking about our work day and looking through our mission devotional booklet, as we begin to turn our attention toward serving the Lord in Weslaco and Reynosa.
This morning, after our prayer time, we left Baytown and stopped at the Starbucks in Sugarland, complements of Kayo Pinson, who treated us all to a coffee or tea of our choice. Today, we also tried our hand at the same Bible trivia questions that Emily Clem used this morning at the FPC Sunday School Assembly. Surprise! Kayo knew them all, and Tom was a close second; however, several of your missionaries knew more Bible than they thought, and the team of Myra Pinson and sister Diane Miller proved to be pretty good, too.
We arrived at Weslaco FPC just a little after 2:00, having stopped for lunch at the famous WhataBurger. Two members of the Weslaco Church were here to welcome us and help unload the vehicle and trailer. We then jumped right back onto the bus to head to WalMart for our mega shopping trip. Diane Payne and Diane Miller are our caretakers for the week, and Diane P. had sorted the grocery list into the different areas of the store. Each pair of missionaries gets a buggy and one list of groceries to gather, with instructions to meet back at the front of the store so we can check out together. This year, Diane gave a prize to the first buggy back with all the correct items from the list, as well as the person who came closest to guessing the total amount paid for the groceries and water. The team of Laura and Rachel won both contests, with the team of Shawn, Jamie, and Jessie Irwin coming in second. Kayo and Doug also earned a prize for their expeditious purchase/loading on the bus of all the water bottles for the week.
Dinner tonight was provided by the Weslaco Church, and all of it was yummy. After dinner, we regrouped for our Eventide. Pastor McCann had already agreed to help out with the music part of
our evening worship time, so he was there, as was his wife Hannah, and his two sons. (One of his sons, Samuel, will be working with us again this year, as will his friend Rosemary, who is from Oklahoma.) Several other members of our “home away from home” church also dined with us, and then stayed for the our Eventide. We closed, as usual, with a brief rundown of how the early morning will go and how the border crossings will go. (Earlier times for us this year with “lights’ out” at 9:00 p.m. and departure for the colonias at 6:00.) Monday morning, David Rodriguez, (although he is not a fan of our early work times,) will come to Weslaco to help carry our coolers and cases of water into the colonias for us. With 15 crossing the border every day, there is no room for coolers in the van; the water and coolers will have to stay at the clinic during this week, and we will pick them up there for our use during the day. (In the past, we would remove the last seat in the van, making room for the coolers, tool box, tools, and extra cases of water. This year, that is not an option.)
Tonight, we are all in bed early in anticipation of our first day, serving as the hands and feet of Christ in the colonias. Tomorrow, it is expected that we will complete the filling in of the floor, as well as mix the concrete and pour the floor for our house. We are eager to meet our sweet family, who is just as eagerly anticipating the folks who will give them their own house this week. Faith Ministry has a Facebook page if you want to follow what we are doing. I also put a photo and some info about our family on the church bulletin board. I think the Athens FPC also may be posting a few pictures throughout the week, so check us out there, too.
Please continue to pray for your mission workers! We are ready to serve, as we do more than just build a house; we are giving hope to a young family; we are making a difference in the lives of others.
Your mission pen pal, Randi