This is what short-term mission trips are really all about
In 1977, my father, mother, brother, sister and I lived…
Blogging from Alton, Texas
Will Mexico’s loss be South Texas’ gain?
No one wants to see short-term missions come to a grinding halt in Mexico. But violence and other concerns are keeping many U.S. groups from crossing the border. I personally know of three trips canceled this summer and one mission that is no longer guiding groups into the country.
Given the border concerns, one logical stop might be just short of the international boundary: the Rio Grande Valley.
My 11-year-old daughter, Kendall, and I spent last week with a team from the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston as they worked a mile or two from the border in Hidalgo County, partnering with the North Pharr Church of Christ.
While it has less than 100 members, the North Pharr congregation has planted a dozen or so Churches of Christ in South Texas and northern Mexico. The border church also oversees a mammoth mission that draws work crews from all over Texas as well as states such as Oklahoma and Kentucky.
North Pharr members are passionate about improving the quality of life for their neighbors – 89 percent of whom are Hispanic. Under the church’s leadership, three to four houses are built each year for needy families. Many other homes are renovated, repaired, painted and made more livable.
I’ve been on several spring break mission trips to Mexico, and I caught myself comparing my experience on the U.S. side of the border to the ones I’ve had beyond. The scenery is similar, the people familiar. The smiles and receptive hearts and need for Jesus are universal.
Quite honestly, I had what I considered to be my typical Mexico trip experience without packing my passport – or the border-crossing anxiety I’ve swallowed in recent years in order to make the trip with my family and church.
I intended to go as a worker, not as a writer for The Christian Chronicle, but this is a story that begs to be told.
Needless to say, I quickly filled a notebook, and the photos I took will come in quite handy. Now if my writing chops aren’t too rusty, we may be in business!
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