It’s been a busy week in McAllen! I apologize for not providing daily updates. Our team has been working hard during the mornings, mid afternoons and evenings. Here’s an update of our ministry days
Monday and Tuesday mornings we split into teams to do two things: work projects and house visits. One work project our host church has requested may seem a little odd, and I can honestly say I’ve never been asked to do this on a mission trip. We have been asked to paint trees. Apparently, it is very important in this culture that we do this. Paint protects the trees from bugs burrowing into the bark and eating the tree up. Although it was hot out there, our students had a blast with this project.
Our house visits have been very enriching. So far, our team has made visits to 8 houses and one nursing home. Our host church prepares us with some information about each family’s situation (sickness, tragedy, encouragement, etc.). We are given an interpreter, and are sent out into the McAllen area. Once we arrive, we typically visit with the family, get to know them, and then share scripture, stories, and prayer requests. I have enjoyed the stories that have come out of these visits, and invite you to ask out students about their house visit experience when we return.
We take a short break in the afternoon. Some spend their time napping, swimming at the hotel pool, or running to Walmart for snacks (they eat a lot!). Yesterday, a group of students spent their break passing out bags of supplies for homeless people. We plan to do it again on Thursday – pray for us in this!
Our host church has prepared a Bible study for us each day, and leads us through it at the end of each afternoon. Our group is learning about Jesus’ disciplemaking way of life, and we are discovering what a disciple is and what a disciple does. It has been very enriching time in the word.
After our Bible study, we transition into VBS-mode! Our first night had 105 kids! Each team member has done an incredible job loving the kids and leading them through games, crafts, and small groups. I’ve heard many positive comments from our host church staff and volunteers.
After VBS, we eat, and eat well! Then, we load up in our vans and head back to the hotel for poolside worship. This has been a truly rich time of singing, sharing and gospel-speaking!
As you can imagine, our crew hits their pillows at the end of the night exhausted, but with a wealth of new experiences and relationships. God has been so good to us, and we are excited to experience more of him as we go into our day today.
Please continue to pray for us, as we have now passed the halfway point of our trip. Pray for health (a few students have reported stomach issues), energy, and that God will continue to give us divine appointments during the remainder of our time.
- Greg Atkins