Sunday, July 20, 2008

Progreso Recap, Part 1

In a word? Phenomenal.

I am s-l-o-w-l-y recovering from last week's mission trip to Progreso. It was such a blessing but I am exhausted.

I knew it was bad when I couldn't even remember how to pull up my blog yesterday! But back to the trip. . . .

A total of 24 youth and 5 adults went down to the tip of Texas and participated in a variety of ministries for the week. The Texas-Mexico border contains 6 of the poorest counties in the United States. The small town of Progreso, right on the border where one of the International Bridges is located, is in one of these counties. Buckner International and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship joined forces 5 years ago in forming the ministry KidsHeart. This last week was the South Texas Blitz. Several churches had teams doing construction on houses in the communities in and around Progreso.

We arrived late Saturday afternoon and settled in at our host church, FBC Harlingen, about 20 minutes away. They were wonderful, providing delicious hot breakfasts each morning and dinners all but one night. On Sunday morning we worshiped at the tiny church in Progreso that our church has partnered with over the past few years (and doubled their attendance!). Two years ago, the church was just a concrete slab. Last year, walls were up, and our team built a building for their food pantry. (Of their budget, 40% goes to their church food pantry to be distributed to the community weekly!) This year the church had a roof, 2 restrooms, electric lights, and fans, as you can see.

We all fell in love with Ernie, who played for the song service. The notes weren't all on key, but it totally didn't matter! He was making a joyful noise and serving the Lord!

That afternoon the kids canvassed the neighborhoods passing out flyers and leaving them in fences or doors. Most of the houses, while small and dilapidated, were surrounded by chainlink fences with guard dogs. While they did that I stayed in the van with the driver with a horrible migraine. It was the only really bad one I got all week. I got a couple of mild ones that I was able to stave off with my meds.

Monday afternoon we rented a couple of additional vans and took almost 25 of the Progreso church members to South Padre Island. I drove one of the rental vans, since our middle school minister had to drive mine. (The guy hasn't yet turned 25 and so he isn't covered by church insurance yet!)

That was my first introduction into what a different culture I was in, even though I was still in Texas. I was driving a typical 7-seat minivan. On the way to the beach, there were 11 of us; on the way back, 13! They just piled in, toddlers in their laps. Or in the case of the mom in the front seat by me, her 2-year-old sat on the floor at her feet! I just prayed I wouldn't get stopped or have an accident!

Here's a sneak peak of VBS. I have a couple of cool stories to share from VBS, but I don't want to put it all in one post!



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6 comments:

Christina said...

Wow that sounds like it was pretty awesome. The slides were cool too. You all did such a great work for these people. Glad to hear that you were able to do all this. By the looks of the slides you accomplished quite a bit, I can see why your exhausted. Blessings to you and the others who went with you.

Sandy@ Jesus and Dark Chocolate said...

WELCOME BACK! I am anxious to read more about this. Were you near McAllen or Mission, TX. My in-laws live there, and it sounds like you were close to them.
What a neat experience. And I wish I had read your previous post about going on the trip. I would have prayed for you more and prayed about the migraine issue. Migraines have always been a problem for me also, and I have been hesitant to take mission trips due to those evil things! Good for you for going and allowing God to use you.
I bet you are exhausted.
Will be looking forward to reading more.
BTW, I have been to South Padre Island before. :)

CandaceCalvert said...

Great post, Linda. I love the photo of Ernie making his "joyful noise unto the Lord." My church does mission trips to Piedras Negras--is that near where you were?

I'm glad to have found your blog (it's awesome) and I would LOVE to send an early copy of my debut medical drama, CRITICAL CARE, your for review (set for release by Tyndale House in June 2009). As soon as I get a "heads up" about the availablility date, I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, I need to start catching up on your posts . . . they look wonderful.

Blessings to you and thanks for the cyber mocha,

Candace Calvert

Becoming Me said...

How wonderful!!

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

Sounds like an exhausting, but super-blessed time.

I have seen you around the blogosphere, so I just wanted to drop you a line and say "hello"! :)

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

Hey! I see you are going to the Siesta Fiesta (maybe that's where I recognized your name from....or maybe it was just that I ADORE any reference to coffee or chocolate.)

Anyway, I am going too!