Mexico – July 2016

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This was my first opportunity to go with Trinity Baptist Church to Piedras Negras, Mexico. A team of 8 people went. It was a blessing to work with each person and get to know them better.
 
We crossed the border at Del Rio where we were delayed a bit because authorities required Larry Danks and Conrad to unload and reload the supplies from the trailer. We then drove to Piedras Negras to the church where Julio was pastor. Arriving at the church we were met by the pastor and a man who lived at the church. He is the guard and we proceeded to unload all the supplies, VBS cloths, and chairs.
 
We drove to the La Quinta Hotel which was nice and air conditioned!!! Big blessing throughout the week. Each morning we had breakfast together at the hotel. Went to the church and set up for the afternoon Bible School. There was a class for the women during this VBS time as well. We were inside and outside and everywhere there was space at the church grounds. Conrad and Larry made sure the team had clean drinking water by using a filter system we had brought. Monday definitely was our HOTTEST day we experienced. Being busy with setup and preparations everyone didn’t drink as much water as needed. Terri and Jody passed out. We were blessed the rest of the week with cooler weather (below 100) anyway. Tomas was in charge of cooking our meals with jean and other helpers. We had good food and plenty to eat. Thanks Tomas and Jean and helpers. Pastor Julio would also join in with the cooking. He prepared meals for the 200 plus who came to VBS. We also had team members who joined us from San Antonio. Each day the ones who spoke Spanish would be in front of the church talking with people passing by. The people wanted to know what was going on. These folks told them and shared the Gospel with 2 men who accepted Christ as their Savior. Tuesday and Wednesday the team went to an orphanage. The Directors were Paulino and Betty. They care for 26 physically challenged adults and older youth. They asked for prayer for their ministry. They are praying and hoping to add another facility that is 6 hours away from Piedras Negras. Our team did crafts and visited with people from the orphanage. We also left some of our supplies with them. Friday our last day, we had over 200 attending VBS. The teachers, Jody, Loraine, and others were worn out, but blessed to be used to share the good news of Jesus and His love. Pastor John and Clint came to help the last 2 days. They were a big blessing. I want to thank Terri and Conrad for heading up our team. As a team we were blessed to be used and stretched for our Lord Jesus. Thank you Trinity for your support.

Jerry Cangemi

 

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I enjoyed the fellowship with the kids and adults. I love being able to serve the Lord by cooking and serving our brothers & sisters in Christ while showing Christ’s love and sharing with others not so fortunate. It’s amazing when the Lord calls you to do something, how he takes care of all the details and all goes well.

Thomas Brown

 

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Our trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico, took us through customs at Del Rio, Texas. After crossing successfully, we drove through beautiful country scenes to our destination. We arrived at the church building around 8 PM. After unloading the vans and trailer, we headed to the motel and unloaded the rest of our “stuff”. The motel rooms were very spacious, clean, and cool. Breakfast at the motel was included in our room cost. We had a choice of a large plate of fruit or eggs with tortillas. Other breakfast items were available at our own cost.

Monday morning we arrived at the church complex and the rush began. Rooms were organized for each class; kitchen area was set up to meet our needs as well as the church set up for feeding supper to all the children following their classes. The water supply for the day was purified and bottles filled for each group in a room to take to the motel. This process was done each day.

Monday afternoon at 3 PM, Larry (Danks) pulled out his phone, checked the temperature and it was 109. At 5 PM it was 105 and at 8 PM it was 103. I asked him not to tell me the rest of the week what the temperature was! He did better than that, he texted to have people pray for us and the heat. The rest of the week, we had cloudy days, rain and breezes. God answered your prayers for us.

The children were usually there by 3:10 PM for the 4:00 PM start. Some even came in the mornings just to see what was going on. We put them to work helping prepare projects the children would work on during the week. Two girls, Carmen and Rebecca, lived in Dallas, and were spending time with their aunt and grandmother. They were very helpful with their English skills. 

The church is located on a busy street with a lot of cars, bicycles, scooters, and walkers going by. Several stopped at the gate to see what all the activity was about. Two men accepted Christ as their Savious after Zeb and Saul shared the Godpel with them. (Zeb and Saul are from San Antonio and were with our team.) The two new believers were given Spanish Bibles.

It was a great inspiration to see the children excited as they learned Bible stories. Two storied of the Good Samaritan and Zaccheus seemed to be their favorites. As the children left, hugs were given freely and will you be here tomorrow was asked. “I will miss you” was heard over and over on the last day as they children were leaving. “Will you come next year” was a question asked many times.

Two mornings, some of our group went to Casa Bethesda orphanage and played games with those who could participate. Others watched, while others are confined to beds. The orphanage has a large new kitchen which is greatly needed as the number of persons is increasing in the home.

We were fed delicious meals at noon and enjoyed sandwiches and all the trimmings for our evening meal.

God has blessed all that was involved in the planning, preparation, teaching, and sharing that went into this week. Lives were changed and one day we will see results we are not even aware of now.

To God be the glory! Jean Ward

 

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“Tengo tanto, tanto, tanto” sang Pastor John as he strummed his guitar and encouraged the 9-11 year-olds to sing along.  When he suggested we shake all over as well, pointing to me, I complied and made followers of several little boys!

“I have so much, so much, so much” were followed by verses singing “I am grateful for my friends and family.”   The most precious moments were not caught on camera…the dramatic costumed presentation of David and Goliath, boys competing for the shields and spears, King Saul, David with his sling, and Goliath up on a chair.  Pastor’s wife Paula appeared and exhorted Goliath to really roar! The teenage girls came over from the youth class to present a puppet show about the Prodigal Son with Lucy Arellano from San Antonio narrating.  You are seeing photos of the children proudly showing off their decorated envelopes that contained their scriptures for the week and their beautiful tissue flower bouquets topping toilet paper rolls glued to colorful paper plates.  My partner Jerry Cangemi became the keeper of the water pitcher after we experienced 110 degrees the first day.  Terri Pyle and I recovered quickly from heat exhaustion that day and were fully hydrated the rest of the week, thanks to reminders from Larry Danks. On the final day, Pastor John reviewed the class with David’s exhortation to Goliath: “You might have a sword and spear. My weapon is the name of the Lord, God Almighty.”  While I finished writing out the “diplomas” he and Jerry had the children read the salvation message from a brochure that opened up as a cross.  A special 11 year-old named Eric, who had come all the way from Georgia to visit relatives, helped write out the bottom of the diplomas while I wrote each child’s in calligraphy… a small thing, but they were so proud to have them that they wanted their full name inscribed, which usually meant a first name, a middle name and two last names.  I am so grateful that I could do that after years of studying Spanish.  I challenge you to learn a few phrases so that you can minister on one of these trips!  Let me know when you want some classes!

¡Dios les bendiga!~God bless you all!

Jody McCulley  

 

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God’s love was shared with 180-200 people in Piedras Negras, in spite of difficult border officials.  Our Trinity group met the San Antonio group in Hondo. From there we traveled to Del Rio. We were met by Jeanine Young who led us into Acuna.  Larry Danks and Conrad Pyle did have to unload the trailer and then pack it back. God knew we needed Larry for this job! We drove into Piedras about one hour later. Pastor Julio Valencia was waiting for us. After unpacking the kitchen van we drove to La Quinta (yes a La Quinta but not the American chain). We enjoyed great air conditioned rooms and an added bonus was enjoying breakfast each morning in the motel’s restaurant.

Monday everyone set up for their groups. The church Jesucristo El Poderosa de Israel now has three buildings. One is for church, another is kitchen and dining, and the third is being used to teach welding skills to the men in the area. Thomas Brown and helpers served us King Ranch Chicken for lunch. Then it was back to work. Conrad stayed busy purifying water for our drinking and also for making lemonade, tea, Gatorade, and punch. Larry was kept busy making all the drinks and handling the heavy containers. Some of us stayed busy keeping early children from devouring the drinks before VBS started! It was very hot so we kept cups handy for the water.  VBS officially started at 4pm and ended at 6pm. Then Pastor Julio, Thomas and a church worker cooked and fed the children and mothers a hot meal. Our group of 20 then ate a sandwich and returned to the motel.

The children seemed eager to learn about Daniel, David, Zacchaeus, the Good Samaritan, and other Bible characters. Our own Bro. John played his guitar and taught songs and led Jody’s group in learning Bible scriptures. It was fun watching Tina and Loraine lead in songs and activities with the 3-6 year old children. Joanna Cangemi had prepared all the activities and lessons but was unable to go with us as she ministered to her sick mother.

We also visited the orphanage and colored pictures, worked on Bible lacing cards, and made caterpillars with the children who were physically able. Bro. John and Clint joined us on Wednesday morning right after they arrived in town. Bro. Paulino Esquela is a beautiful example of a man fully dedicated to God. He now works with 26 physically and mentally handicapped people in Piedras and he has answered God’s call to help open another orphanage near Saltillo.

We are really blessed to have the many women and men from San Antonio who faithfully share God’s love using their gifts and talents, especially their use of the Spanish language, and we thank Trinity Church for providing us the opportunity to go and spread His word. Our days were hot, hectic and seemed to be big messes but God works in and through our messes and problems to accomplish His will. Children, women, and two men passing by the church’s gate were led into God’s family. Smiles and hugs enhanced our days. Praise God!

Conrad & Terri Pyle

 

While this was not my first mission trip by far and while it was my second into Mexico with Trinity Baptist Church, I was quickly to find out that every trip is different and every day is a new day!

Crossing the border is becoming increasingly difficult for groups who want to bring materials to be given away and who want to do ministry among children and adults.  As with most of our trips and mission efforts, our ministry begins before we ever approach the church or mission point where we will be working.  Even the inconvenience of unloading the entire equipment trailer at the border crossing became an opportunity to show the love of Christ and a gentle spirit to those who seemed to be our oppressors at that moment.

This year’s event began on a rather difficult note because of the oppressive heat we encountered early on.  This took its toll in the extra effort required to do the ministry set before us and physically it caused some of our group to have some heat related difficulties.  After asking many Facebook friends to pray for moderation to the heat we were blessed with the final 3 days being mostly cloudy and some light rain showers cooled the air even more.  God truly blessed us with weather that was conducive to the type of “close quarters” Vacation Bible School we were to help conduct.

We were blessed to work alongside many wonderful, hardworking and dedicated people as we ministered to the children at VBS, helped to feed the children and adults who come each evening and to minister to the challenged adults at the orphanage during two of the days.

Finding a way to minister to those who truly need it really doesn’t require a person to fly halfway around the world.  “The least of these” can be found within a half day’s drive from Kerrville. I was blessed to be a part of this great effort.

Larry Danks

 

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I was blessed by the people I went with on the Mexico trip. I felt at peace over the organizing of the team.  It was challenging doing VBS with so many 3-6 year olds: The Pastor’s wife and mothers helped and the children seemed appreciative. It was amazing how Tomas and the cooks fed all the children, parents, and our team? The Lord kept us safe and surrounded with His love!
 
Thank you Trinity, Loraine Couch

 

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Pastor John and I joined the group mid-week and I was introduced to Brother Paulino and then to Brother Julio and to the work that God is doing through both men in Piedras Negras in Mexico.   With God’s help so much is done with so little.  It is a testimony to what God can do through willing people.

I was blessed to work beside the team preparing for Vacation Bible School the days I was there.  Most of the time my

communication consisted of smiles, nods, and hand gestures with the children and some adults, but it was clear that God was moving in their hearts as those who knew Spanish and the local church spoke the gospel.
Clint Brown