This past July our junior high youth group went for a week to Weslaco in the Rio Grande Valley. There they met with youth from La Santisima Trinidad UMC and Weslaco First UMC for fellowship. During the day they worked at two projects, the Rio Grande Food Bank http://www.foodbankrgv.com/ and building Personal Energy Transportation vehicles. You can read more about PET here: http://www.umc.org/site/c.gjJTJbMUIuE/b.1985743/k.60A5/Volunteers_build_ATV_of_wheelchairs.htm
Recently Bishop Huie went with a group of district superintendents and provisional elders (pastors who have been commissioned, graduated seminary, but not yet ordained) to the Rio Grande Valley for four days of mission work. Their work was out in the colonias, doing house repairs. This work was more in depth and more intense than our junior high students could do, but is help that is deeply appreciated by colonia residents. http://www.txcumc.org/news/detail/3598
The Texas-Mexico border is noted for having a high rate of poverty and unemployment. In the colonias, living conditions are difficult, and basic services such as water and sewer are often lacking. Unemployment in the Valley is high, but in the colonias can be as high as 20% or more. You can read more about colonias here: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/border/colonias/faqs.shtml
Faith UMC hopes to build on the relationships begun by our junior high youth with La Santisima Trinidad UMC and Weslaco First UMC. We plan to have more mission trips to the Rio Grande Valley. Rev. Brian went on a mission trip prior to his ordination, just like the provisional elders who worked alongside the Bishop. Would you be willing to go for a few days to the Rio Grande Valley and work with United Methodists there? Have you ever been to the Rio Grande Valley before? What questions do you have about this beautiful part of Texas?