On a Mission

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

I will be traveling tomorrow to Rio Bravo, Mexico just across the border from Donna, Texas.  The purpose of my week long trip is to assist a local mission called Manos Juntas Mexico (Hands Together Mexico).  The organization was created to help provide housing, medical assistance, and educational scholarships for the very poor in Rio Bravo.  This will be my 3rd year participating as part of a team from the Highland United Methodist Church.

My primary role will be to assist in building a 12 ft. x 20 ft. “casita” for a family identified by Manos Juntas Mexico.  The home will be made of concrete blocks on a concrete slab, topped with a metal roof.  The structure will have no plumbing or electricity.  Although the home may seem simple, it is a step-up for the family.  Those assisted typically live in scrap wood/metal shelters with dirt floors.   All materials are purchased in Mexico and the construction is supervised by local working foremen, called Maestros.

At the end of the trip, the home is dedicated by the local pastor.  I have to admit that it is very hard to hold back tears when you experience the emotions of the family, as they often tell us they can’t reciprocate the gift.   The pastor always takes the opportunity to explain to the family that they can do something.  They do have the ability to give back by thanking God and “paying it forward” by helping others.   I believe that adhering to such wise advice will lead to a good and meaningful life.

P.S.   Stay tuned next week as guest bloggers from the Community Development Department will be contributing daily while I am away.