As I review the year, I thank God for all that He has accomplished on both sides of the border. We held 20 clinics in the ten villages we serve. In past years we struggled to staff them. This year all of the clinics were well staffed and the first three trips for next year are booked. We are grateful for the volunteers who go with us.
We facilitated a well-child clinic in Navaja with another to be held in Centinella in December. We are glad to do these for our Rotarian friends in Piedras Negras who are so helpful with Mexican customs. In addition we were able to (with the assistance of St Vincent De Paul) send them $2000. They had asked us for help in assisting flood victims there this summer. I find it very rewarding to work with our friends in Mexico!
Three construction projects were held in the villages this year as well. In April we screened all the doors and windows in La Union. This is such a blessing to the people. When the mosquito season hits, they will be able to sleep with their windows and doors open. In June we took members of Hill Country Evangelical Free Church to Paso de San Antonio to refurbish a clinic building we use there. Finally in September we took folks from Fredericksburg United Methodist church to San Vicente to work on the kitchen/dorm building we use to care for the groups when we bring clinics.
All of the trips are accompanied by worship services with the people. Service projects also give us the opportunity to bring vacation bible school to the children. While we were in San Vicente several ladies, led by Judy Hutcherson, taught women there how to sew on the sewing machines they had brought along with them.
On July 22nd we held local missions week with Heritage School students. They camped out on the river with us, while doing several local service projects. It is such a blessing to see youngsters touching others with the love of Christ.
Thinking back on the year there are many individuals that were touched this past year; from a life saving ultra sound on a woman who found out that she was pregnant with twins and needed to be in the hospital when she gave birth, to a little old man who had recently been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He had a urinary tract infection as a result of the catheter that had been inserted during his recent hospitalization. And on this side of the border a widow in Harper, TX received much needed home repairs as we took students from Heritage School to her home. She said it restored her hope! Filling the physical needs in lives is important and often meeting these needs brings hope.
It is always a joyous moment when we come into a village. They are so glad to see us and grateful that we have not stopped coming. They are glad to have the medical care or the other services we bring. They are especially glad to have worship services while we are there. In most places the church is packed out during the worship services.
One of the highlights of this year was the nursing home visits the Heritage students did during local mission week. We are so grateful to the Lord for all He has done! But I think the most touching story is about Jose Escarena. Jose used to live in Jaboncillos. Slowly over time his legs became paralyzed. By the time they discovered the tumor pressing in on his spinal cord, it had done permanent damage. He is now a paraplegic and has to move about in a wheel chair.
He and his family had to move to Muzquiz (a town about 120 miles south of Jaboncillos). He frequently meets us as we pass through on our way to the villages. They are very poor. We often bring him adult diapers and other assistance, along with a bit of cash to help them along. He is very resourceful and helps supplement the family income by fixing electronic devices. His wife works a few hours a week wherever she can find work. Usually when we would see him, he looked so depressed. My heart was really sad for him.
Early this year we were given a scooter by a precious couple here in Fredericksburg. Alan and Pam Matthies lost their son, Jeff, and they wanted to give his scooter to someone who needed it. In early March we brought it to Jose. He did not seem excited about it at the time, and in fact to me he still seemed a bit sad. I am not quite sure why, but perhaps he did not recognize how much this would help him.
We did not see him on the next trip through Muzquiz, but in late June on a trip to facilitate medical clinics, he was there on his scooter. He was all smiles. It filled me with such joy! This thoughtful gift, given out of this couple’s loss, had brought great joy to this man who needed it so much!
We need your prayers and financial support to continue touching the lives of people with His love. We are grateful for any support you have given in the past. Chris and Ruth Avery have chosen once again to give us a matching grant of $15,000. If we completely match it, we will have raised a total of $30,000 for this effort. Please meditate and pray on how God would have you support this work.