Hola, amigos and amigas! We have completed another great day serving the Lord in Reynosa. Yes, it was hot, but today, it was also somewhat cloudy and there was a breeze all morning. What a blessing!
Today, we were scheduled to pour the ring and columns. This involves mixing lots of concrete and passing buckets of concrete up to those on the scaffolds in charge of pouring the ring and columns. For those of you new to this, wooden boards are tied around the rebar at all four corners, as well as on either side of the doors. Boards are also used to frame a “ring” on the top of the last row of blocks. Concrete is then poured from the top to form the columns and ring for the house. When it is dry, the last two rows of blocks are laid on top of the ring.
As is often the case when we are working in Mexico, for some strange reason, the cement mixer is unavailable, and we revert back to the old-fashioned way of mixing concrete. Today was one of those days. David Rodriguez says it only happens when he is working in the colonias, and that may be true; nevertheless, we turned concrete for casa #13 this morning. Because we were mixing by hand outside of the house, sand and gravel were measured by wheelbarrows, instead of buckets. We all used the method of taking turns filling the barrel, so no one had to shovel two wheelbarrows in a row, and we had lots of amigos and amigas sharing the workload. When the gravel and sand have been mixed, cement is mixed in, too. Then a moat is formed around the edge of the mix, and water is mixed in to make the right consistency for the job. Even if I do say so myself, we were a finely tuned machine with all cylinders firing at exactly the right time. In fact, we were finished with the job in an hour and a half! Yea!!!
We had enough time to walk down the lane to Marta’s house to see the improvements she had made, and check the year on the plaque. After examining the plaque, there was no date, only our names and the names of the volunteers who worked with us. (Because of our names, we think we built her house in 2011, with only eight senior adults.) Marta had painted, made a patio, and added on to her home, and she was so happy to show us what she had done to the place. (By the way, Cindy, the puppy who is really just a small dog, belongs to Marta, and she also showed us the tricks Cindy could do.)
“What? You are finished with our only task for the day! What are you going to do for the rest of the morning?” A plan was quickly made and off we all went, Mexicans and Americans alike, to the garden in a neighboring colonia. We actually visited this complex last year, but today we were headed back to do some work. The caretaker, José, started a garden last year, and it was a great endeavor for that space. So it is getting going again, and has already produced over 25 pounds of carrots, which were in turn given to the nutrition program at the clinic or to the kitchen at the church for the lunches served there. Today, half of us tilled the garden using pick axes and hoes, after which, we made the furrows into which seed would be planted. The other half of us worked to fill the raised beds with sand, soil, and mulch. Those two jobs kept us busy in the hot sun until almost noon, when we returned to the church complex for lunch. (Lunch, today, was a chicken and vegetable dish with mashed potatoes, rice, and watermelon…all good! Jamie was particularly smitten with their added chile sauce, which she rated 4 on her heat scale, with hottest being 5.)
Following lunch, our group was called into the church for a “talk.” With just enough chairs for our group, it sort of felt like an “intervention.” 😊 David and Colleen just wanted us to know how important we were to Faith Ministry, and how appreciative they were for our group’s loyalty, commitment, and dedication to this mission. They also wanted us to know of the many other ways we could support Faith Ministry: helping with the clinic, helping with the sewing and nutrition programs, teaching English, providing a Bible school, providing scholarships for students, making a monthly donation to the ministry to help support the everyday costs. Both Colleen and David asked for our suggestions as to what they could do to help us promote the ministry, especially in our communities. We pointed out that our 13 missionaries actually come from 6 different churches, many of which do not know a lot about what we do, so we already know some of what we need to do, and Colleen will help provide us with the information we need to make this happen.
Usually, we go out to eat one night while we are in Weslaco, and we invite some of the Weslaco FPCers, Pastor McCann and his family, David Rodriguez and his family, and our two Faith Ministry main helpers. Jennifer, who is our mission liaison at Weslaco FPC also attended tonight. Previously, we have eaten at Arturo’s in Mexico, but since the initial violence in Mexico, we have opted to go to the Arturo’s in town. The evening is always a wonderful opportunity to get to know our invited guests, as well as a chance for us to show our appreciation to them for all they do for us. In addition, we invited Colleen and Will to spend the night with us, so they do not have to go back to Mexico late at night.
We have all spent some devotional time thinking about what is possible for us to do, and how we can make a difference in the lives of those we meet, both in Weslaco and in Reynosa. We have sung some old songs, and we have learned some new ones. We have prayed for those with us here and for those we work with in Mexico, and we have prayed for many folks at home. We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to mission away from home, and we hope we have represented you well as we seek to do God’s will every day.
Tomorrow, we will be pouring a roof, dedicating the house for Rosy, Adan, and Danna, and gifting our family with a few things for their new home. Please continue to lift us all up in your prayers.
Your Mexico Mission pen pal … Randi