2009 Mexico Christmas Mission

Today, we got up to a chilly morning in Laredo, Texas. Our day would include a bilingual church service, loading and unloading blankets, packing gift bags, and many other exciting events in preparation for our trip across the border as a group tomorrow.
Let us introduce our guest bloggers, Meagan from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, Rachel from Saraland, Alabama, and Gary from Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Wow. What a day! I’ll start off by telling everyone what a blessing it has been to be a part of Give Me Shelter Ministries and the mission to Mexico. Today I saw first hand how God uses everything and every part of your life to reach others for him. I also saw three separate churches today merge together and become one body for Christ.
We began our day by attending the service that our host church has. It’s a bilingual service and even though I don’t speak a lick of Spanish it’s just great to be in there listening to God being praised in both Spanish and English.
After the service the real work began. We took blankets over the border to Mexico and a group stayed behind to prepare Christmas and hygienic bags to pass out. We tried to take the trailer full of blankets over the previous night and were turned away at the border. But we had a thousand blankets that needed to get to Mexico so we tried again this morning. We took all the blankets out of the boxes and stuffed (and I mean really stuffed) them in the back of two vans. Many trips were needed to get them all over. I got to go on the second trip across. We were blessed that we breezed through the border with absolutely no trouble.
We unpacked all the blankets that we had taken in that load to Felipe’s church to store until we pass them out tomorrow.
After that we went to three of the previous homes that Kenny and his teams have built. On our way back we hit some traffic. But I love this group because of our key word is “flexibility” and we are definitely flexible when we were stuck at the border for two hours. When we got back we spent the rest of the evening bagging cookies and bread to pass out when we feed the masses tomorrow in Nuevo Laredo. We begin bright and early and prayers are needed.
Finally, after a 17 hour drive in 15-person capacity church vans from Saraland, Alabama, our crew of 16 unique individuals reached our destination of the Primera Iglesias Bautista Church in Laredo, Texas. Coming here, I had no idea of what to expect and of what would be expected of me. But as soon as we arrived after receiving the key to actually get into the Church, I could explicitly see what God was about to bring over the next 4 days.
First thing when we arrived at the Church around 6:30 pm, we began by unloading our trailer of luggage and moving our bags into the Church building that we would be sleeping in. Surprisingly, as soon as we put our stuff down I was energetically greeted by my two newest Fort Walton Beach, Florida friends, Emily and Rachel, and then moved onto meeting the others that would be joining us on the Mexico mission.
Taco Palenque would be the lucky destination that would be graced by our presence for dinner, so after receiving a full meal of one-of-a-kind grilled chicken, rice, and mashed potatoes, we trucked on back to the Church, showered, and went to sleep.
Next morning we woke up at exactly 7:25, got ready for the day, and went to the main Church building for a breakfast of banana bread and chocolate milk… yum. For the next few hours as some of the group went ahead across the border to deliver blankets, I got the task of making gift bags for the children and adults that we will hand out tomorrow. With our professionally organized assembly lines rolling along, we were able to put together hundreds of bags filled with coloring books, toothbrushes and toothpaste, candy, stuffed animals, soap, etc. When the second group returned from Mexico, now it was my turn to cross the border into a world completely different from what I know as my day to day life.
After loading the green van with about 60 blankets, we quickly and easily crossed the border and reached the church in the community of the people that we will be serving. Next we unloaded the blankets, visited for a few minutes, and then began our way to the hour and a half long wait to get back into the US (which provided a good nap time for me).
As soon as we arrived back after enjoying a quick game of Catch Phrase with our new crew, we shoved some Dominoes pizza down our throats and continued onto the next task of filling plastic baggies with cookies and bread that we will hand out tomorrow. After finishing what we thought could never be done, we rested for a while, and now here I am. Looking back on the day now, although I am exhausted and ready for a hot shower, I consider this day extremely successful. We prepared all of the food, supplies, and blankets that we’ll be handing out tomorrow, and now I have a much better idea of what the next couple of days will hold.
I think we can all agree that God’s about to really impact some lives. One of my new acquaintances from Florida told me today how their old youth pastor used to say, its not about what we do and what we bring, but its about the care, love, and kindness we show that’s going to make the biggest impact on the people we will be helping. And this experience not only affects the people that we will be helping, but it equally impacts each of us as we see how fortunate we really are. I don’t know about everyone else, but I know that even in this small amount of days that this is truly an eye-opening experience.
I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, or what may happen, but I know that all of these loving people here that are so willing to do whatever it takes to help others are going to make a huge impact on everyone around. And that’s really the goal, isn’t it? So, tomorrow as we stroll across the border and do what we can for others, all we can do is hope that what we are here for, will help spread God’s influence and kindness to the people who are most in need.
Well, what would be a Mexico mission trip without transportation issues? God did provide, as he always does, safe passage all the way here for the FBC bus and four other vehicles, mostly all pulling trailers full of blankets, cooking supplies and some Christmas and goody bags from a number of different sources.
Long story short around our favorite Texas stop, Bucee’s, we noticed a noisy belt, but did not notice any other apparent issue and then after arriving in Laredo and going to dinner a major serpentine belt had come off and the alternator was no longer functioning because of the lack of the belt. This morning we began the process, thanks mainly to one of our good friends from Saraland, AL, of trying to figure out the possibility of repair and after much “soul-searching” and a couple of visits to our favorite 24-hour Autozone we figured out that a bracket holding the belt and many extraneous crucial engine components had four bolts and three of them were broken.
We were able to replace only one, but were able to crank and
move the bus and then proceed to contacting folks to find a permanent repair situation in the days to come.
We were able to meet throughout the process many interesting individuals, minister to some and some ministered to us, including the Laredo Baptist mission ministerial Association Director who offered his assistance. Thanks for your continued prayers and support throughout this mission and our God is very faithful!