Delivering Blankets and Meals in Mexico

Dec. 28 2009 Mexico Christmas Mission
Today was another early start and a great day. God used us in so many ways. Today’s guest bloggers are Jenna and Brent from Saraland, Texas.
Today was our first day doing mission work in Mexico. Before I start with the day, here is a little background for the pre-trip. My sister Becka and I were asked to come with the Bayou Sara group trip three or four days before, and I was reluctant because I did not really know anyone but soon God showed me that I needed to trust him that he was in control and that he knew what he was doing when he pushes people out of their comfort zone. So here I am after our first trip back from Mexico.
The task today was to hand out boxes of food and blankets to the family around the church with Pastor Felipe. One group headed out early this morning and went to the church to start to cook the chicken and then the rest of the group came down later. While we were waiting for all the food to cook I got a chance to play soccer with some of the kids there waiting and I fell in love with a little girl named Rebecca. She was so precious and so happy even though we no where near spoke the same language. She reminded me to have the joy of a child and faith like a child.
Later we handed out the boxes of chicken and other food, along with water and the blankets. Also the children received bags with candy and other things. After we were done with the church, we went around to the surrounding areas and handed out the rest of the boxes and blankets to the families. Throughout the day I had heard stories how in the past God had multiplied food and different things whenever everyone thought they would run out. I had the opportunity to see that today; we still had a ton of food left when we ran out water. Then some men found some more in the back of the trailer. It just reminded me of God’s promise that he would always provide. Throughout the day I was continuously reminded that God provides. Also that only HE can bring the nations together to worship.
The awe struck moment that I had, as well, is that not even five miles across the boarder was poverty while America was right there. I am so excited about tomorrow and to see how God will move. Thank you for your prayers, to Him be the glory.
What a great day! From start to finish we ministered to over 1000 people. How awesome it is to be used by the Lord to further His kingdom, to be in this place at this time. How easy we have it in the U.S. It’s hard to imagine living in a concrete block building with no water or electricity as a way of life. Our power goes out for an hour and we’re screaming. We waste more water in a week then these people use in a month.
As I surveyed the hundreds of people waiting in line for food and blankets, I asked one of the members on my team, “Why do you think it is that they are the ones living like this and not us?” why do we have it so easy and comfortable while ¾ of the world live in little more than a shack? Why has God placed us in this place at this time? What can we learn and take back and apply to our daily lives?
God has called each of us to be the imitation of Christ—to be salt and light—to be the hands and feet of Jesus, yet so few Christians do anything for Christ outside the four walls of the church—and even then it’s limited to Sunday and Wednesday. We are called to expand the kingdom, not continue to develop a castle. I give all the glory to God and thank him for using Kenny Phillips and Give Me Shelter Ministries to help impact the world in a small way. Get involved in Mexico. Get involved in your community. Bottom line: GET INVOLVED!!!
Brent Allen

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!

Food delivery for Los Fresnos and Nuevo Laredo

Update… the actual number of meals delivered was over 32,000! Praise the Lord!

Dec. 3, 2009 :
God has been so good to GMSM through the involvement that He has allowed us to be in with Feed My Starving Children. This is the 2nd time that they have delivered food for us to be distributed in Mexico. Same as last time the food was dropped off in Los Fresnos, Texas at United in Christ Worldwide Ministry Worldwide, Inc. I flew into the Laredo airport via Ft. Walton Bch. My cool bro Jose Martinez was there to pick me up. On the flight down I sat by a trucker who was headed to Laredo to pick up some trucks to deliver somewhere in the states. I was able to share with him about GMSM and the work across the border. Although he had a different agenda in life he was receptive to what God is allowing us to do.

Once in Laredo and cowboy dude preacher (Jose) lassoed me and my baggage up, we headed out the airport door, once outside I could see why Jose was bundled up. It was freezing cold. He had spent the night out in the colonias at Felipe’s house and said it was very cold. Felipe is blessed to have a roof over his head but there is no insulation or heat whatsoever. The forecast is to get colder and maybe even snow 1 or 2 inches. I know it has to be just miserable out there. With all the new blankets we will be bringing down at Christmas they sure could use them now. We left Laredo and headed east for the 4 hour drive to Los Fresnos to meet up with the food. We stopped on the way for some elote asado “roasted corn”. Good call on a frigid day. I felt like Nacho Libre.

We arrived at the church where the food was dropped off. We are staying at Brother Richards’s house an elder of the church. We went to church for worship and then ate a killer meal that was prepared for us. Tomorrow we will start working the food across the border weather permitting and we are not snowed in (hahaha). My heart is heavy at the thought of how cold the people are. Tomorrows temps in Laredo are a high of mid to upper thirties. Praise God for His sufficient love for us.

Dec. 4, 2009 :
After a fairly good night’s sleep we got up early and loaded the church van and Jose’s truck up with the food boxes from FMSC. The weather was rainy and very cold. We chowed on some breakfast at the church and headed out across the border. The first place we stopped was the men’s drug rehab center in Matamoras. We dropped off 10 boxes of food which will be split with the women’s drug rehab center. That is roughly 1080 meals. The need is so much in this center. It is clean but it is very cold. The next stop was Chihuahua Soup Kitchen which also doubles as a fellowship of believers. We left 7 boxes for their use and we left 7 boxes for the Zacatecus ministry that is interior Mexico. Christ United will take those down soon. We headed a little further deeper into Matamoras where we dropped off 14 boxes for two soup kitchen ministries.

Once we were finished with the food distribution in the city we left south to the island of Mano Deleon where the village of Mesqutal is located. We visited the pastor and his family and left 12 boxes of food to be portioned out to the villagers as needed. It was so brutal cold out there and I know the food will only last a short while. I pray that God will keep the door opened for us to continue a good working relationship with FMSC and more food will be available for us to continue this ministry down here. We will leave about 17 boxes at United in Christ Church for other ministries. A total of 67 seven boxes were distributed in this area of Mexico, which is a possible 14,472 meals, PTL! Tomorrow we will load up the other two and a half pallets of food and head up the border to Nuevo Laredo for our next food delivery adventure.

Dec 5, 2009 :
Once again the weather is very cold. Most people do not associate cold weather with Mexico but along the border they receive the same types of weather that we do. So we loaded up Jose’s truck with the remainder of the food boxes (68 total) and headed towards Nuevo Laredo.

We always anticipate the potential hassle that the border guys can give us. Sometimes they make us pay duty on what we bring across and sometimes they don’t. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the way things are done along the border going into Mexico. I only know that God seems to always work it out for His glory. This crossing was no exception; we made it across without incident and did not have to pay duty on the food, PTL. Most of the food will be distributed out through the Mission Bautista Comino Nuevo Church under the guidance of Pastor Felipe Hernandez. This food will be dispersed through out the colonias. We also took 15 boxes to the boy’s dorm at Casa Hogar Elim orphanage where they operate a feeding house to the local people around the facility. Jose and I spent the night in the colonia where Felipe lives and I preached at his church on Sunday morning. God truly blessed this trip and many families will be touched by the ministry that Feed My Starving Children has and what they are doing throughout the world. I praise God that he has yoked us together.