Hello good friends and prayer partners! We have completed another great day in the colonias, as we serve God both physically and spiritually. Yes, it was still quite warm today, but the heat is tolerable, at least until noon; from then on, it seems to double in heat index. The other difficult part of the day, at least for those of us over 50, was the length of our work day in the colonias. Both yesterday and today, we worked after lunch, which meant we left the colonia later than usual, which meant that the wait at the border crossing was longer, which meant we didn’t get back to our home church until after 4:00. It was the kind of day where I think I posed the question, “What day is it?” three or four times.
Our morning in Weslaco was typical with both hot and cold breakfast items, but only after we made sandwiches for our amigos and packed a hearty snack. Morning prayer was perfect, and we were even loading the van a little early! We headed to the Pharr Bridge to cross over into Mexico. (I do not think I have mentioned it, but there seem to be more and higher speed bumps at the border going into Mexico. The bounce is almost as high/bad as the pot holes in Mexico.) We were at the church compound a little before 7:00 with our leftover biscuits and sausage for the workers and our family.
Today, the team from Irvington Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis was waiting for us, as we were going to combine our efforts to pour the roof today. We were at the home and “gearing up” even before the cement mixer started tumbling its five buckets of sand, gravel, and water, plus one big bag of cement. Those of us who have poured a roof before knew exactly which job they preferred, and it was almost a race to get to that sweet spot where we knew we could do the work required. (Those spots are so valuable that some refuse to relinquish that particular task until the job is complete.)The young people on our trip tried almost every job … dumping buckets of concrete into wheelbarrows on the roof; passing filled buckets up to the roof or catching empty buckets on the way down; filling buckets with sand or gravel; … all of which is promising for the future of this mission trip. The next time these youth visit, they too will be racing for that favored task. We were done with the roof and cleaned up and ready for a group photo all by 10:00!
Before we headed to our next task, both groups took a tour through town and over to Narajito to see the completed church complex there. Some of you will remember that before the violence in Mexico, we built several homes in that part of Reynosa, and we even served a Friday lunch at their church hall. (This was Pastor Alfredo’s community.) The complex is entirely enclosed, similar to the church complex where we meet each day. In addition to the church, there is a kitchen area, some rooms where employees stay, a pastor home that is being remodeled, a makeshift soccer field, and a fabulous garden that is tended by Jose, who is also a guard for the complex there. It is really a great spot, and the inside of the surrounding walls is painted in murals, some done by a voulunteer mission group, and some done by church youth.
We returned to our house to form the ring, using boards and rebar. Because those skills are limited to a few in our group, while the forms were put up, the rest of us tried to be good stewards of our energy by sitting in some shade, (we put up a tarp today,) and “hanging out” together. We actually played a few rounds of charades to pass the time while the forms were readied. (The first time Samuel worked with us two years ago, we also had a bit of down time, so he was happy to participate; I think almost every one took a turn at it!) Since we eat lunch as a group, we had to quit our activities to get to the church in time for lunch. (Today was a meal in a packet, as well as tortillas, rice, and oranges; a kind soul had also purchased a case of cold Cokes for our lunchtime meal.)
The bad part is that we had to return to work after lunch, and it is really hard to get that “work mojo” going again at that time of day. The great part of that afternoon was giving a beautiful doll to
the young girl in the family. At first, she was hesitant to take it, but once the doll was put in her hands, we could tell she was going to love her. We then went back to shoveling gravel and sand into wheelbarrows in order to make enough concrete to pour the rings. Once again, it was quite hot as we labored to mix the concrete by hand, in the afternoon sun, but we forged ahead and got that ring poured, although we did have to make an additional, small batch of concrete.
While we were busy making concrete, the two Diane’s were shopping to get our family a few extra gifts. Our fundraising enables us to purchase a big item or two for our family, and this year we are giving a washing machine and bunk beds for the kids. With that in mind, and with an extra unexpected donation, the two Diane’s shopped for bedding for the children, pillows, a drying rack and washing supplies, some Tonka trucks for the boys, a teether for the baby, a “Barbie” for the girls, and two camp chairs for the parents, so they can sit outside and enjoy the breeze. All were perfect purchases for our family.
Tonight was our “eat out” night, so as soon as we arrived at the church, we started tag team showers in order to finish in time to go to dinner. As has been our custom of late, we went to the new Arturo’s in Weslaco, and we always invite a few friends. In addition to your team, David Rodriguez and his family, Gracie, Colleen, and Taylor, our helpers in the colonias, and from Weslaco FPC, Pastor McCann and his son, and a few others from the church. It was a lovely evening of fine food and stellar conversation, and Gracie, Colleen, and Taylor are all spending the night with us tonight. Woohoo!
Tomorrow, we will be pouring a roof and perhaps, doing a foundation. Juan, our friend from a few years back, is scheduled to come help pour the roof, and we are excited to see him again. (Colleen tells us that he is being hired to help with roofs, so it is good to know he has not lost touch with the ministry.) It should be a great day.
I hope, if you have access to Facebook, you are following Faith Ministry on Facebook. Dr. Bush is posting on the church’ s Facebook page, and Jacob Greene is posting on the webpage. You will find lots of pictures there, so take a few minutes to check it out.
Thank you for your prayers and your heart for this Mexico Mission..Hopefully, tomorrow will be cooler and there will be opportunity to play, too.
Please continue to keep us in your loving care as we mission for our friends and neighbors… In Christ’s love ….. your pen pal, Randi