The Mission Outreach project for January is………

Health Kits for the Mexico Mission Trip.

Please collect the following items and pack them in a gallon ziplock bag: Hand towel – Washcloth -Wrapped bar of soap—Toothbrush – Toothpaste –Comb- Shampoo.

These kits are given to the families who move into the casitas built by our mission group and any extras are left to be distributed to needy families. Since the group usually leaves the last weekend in January, please place your donations in the outreach bin by January 23.

For those of you who aren’t aware of this mission – here is a bit of its history:

Vaya Con Dios! When January appears on the calendar, some FUMC members get ready to pack up, drive over 1200 miles, sleep in a bedroll, cook their own meals and do manual labor for 8 hours a day. The Mexico Mission trip results in housing for needy families in Mexico and has been an outreach of our church since the early 1990’s.

The first trips were made with a group from Bladen/Blue Hill NE under the auspices of the Volunteers in Mission of the Oklahoma Conference and when they began to focus on other things our church took on its own mission to continue building houses.

Tom Holyoke coordinates the groups from Scottsbluff and has made numerous mission trips. The team travels in their own vehicles and the church van to drive from Scottsbluff to the southeastern tip of Texas. The Methodist Church in Mercedes, TX, serves as the base camp for the local group. Mission members pay their own way and ‘camp out’ at the church – using its facilities for lodging and fixing meals. After arriving and settling in, the group crosses the border each morning. Funds for the materials for the houses are raised through fundraisers and donations and sent to the building coordinator in Texas. The needed supplies are purchased in Mexico and are at the sites when the teams arrive. It is the responsibility of the families to prepare the concrete slab foundation.

The casitas (little houses) are a 12’ x 24’ frame building with 3 windows and 2 doors – (some years the construction was done with concrete blocks and mortar mixed on the ground). Through the years, casitas have been built within the town of Nuevo Progreso, Mexico and the surrounding region – one section of which was dubbed Colonia Nebraska after 11 houses were built at one time by a Nebraska group.

The number of casitas built depends on the size of the crew and the amount of money available – generally three casitas are completed in four days. The mission group visits each family and presents them with gifts and a word of blessing. How humbling it is to see how grateful these families are for a simple frame dwelling – without electricity or indoor plumbing – and for gifts like wash tubs and scrub boards, kerosene lamps, brooms, beans, and some clothing and toys.

Many of the local people who have participated in this project have gone not just once, but several times. What is it that draws people to a mission of this nature? Most participants agree it’s an opportunity to get away – and totally focus on something you don’t normally do. People from all walks of life have learned to build houses and love others– they have given from their plenty and been humbled by the lives they touched – and discovered that it really is “more blessed to give”.