A letter from Andrés Garcia in Mexico
Dear Family in Christ,
We send our greetings to you in the gracious name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him, Gloria and I lift our hearts before the Everlasting One, praying that His love may continues to fill your lives every day.
News from the Roads of Mexico
We were on our way to attend the regular meeting of the honorable Presbytery of Tamaulipas on March 10–13, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It was 7:30 in the morning when we arrived at the bus station in Reynosa. The place was clean, with stands of coffee, soft drinks and fast foods offered to travelers. Across the long and spacious room, from cubicles of various transport lines, well-dressed and polite young Mexicans called and offered to clients routes from Reynosa to multiple destinations within the country.
“Come, Sir! Come, Miss … Where are you going? … To Monterrey? … Or are you going to Ciudad Victoria?”
“Travel with us on a direct route to Mexico City!”
The atmosphere of the station seemed normal and even entertaining due to the different mood and contrasts of the people leaving and entering the terminal building. A few minutes later Raul, our traveling companion, joined us and then we proceeded to the door of the waiting room, where two security officers checked luggage before passengers boarded the bus. They checked ours and then with particular kindness invited us to wait for the departure of our bus.
That morning the sky of Reynosa was cloudy, and the warm breeze that was blowing from the Mexican Gulf suspended across the horizon a sort of gray steam, a mix of dust and microscopic H2O molecules. From speakers sounding throughout the station came the nice voice of a woman announcing the departure of the unit that would take us to “city of San Luis Potosi.”
From Reynosa, through Ciudad Victoria, the Tamaulipas state capital, our bus left behind the plains of Rio Grande Valley and began a slow climb to the lands of the Potosina central plateau.
For us who were traveling for the first time in these lands, the journey was more than pleasant as we went deep into the geographic heart of Mexico. The feeling of fear and insecurity gradually changed to a feeling of delight and confidence in the glorious hand of God, Creator of such beautiful mountains and valleys, where the cactus embrace as countless brothers a village of people of generous works that set their destiny in the context of their particular historical contradictions.
We arrived in San Luis at about 5:30 p.m.; we left the bus station and then boarded a taxi that took us to the meetings of the presbytery. The general secretary of the presbytery, the Rev. Otoniel Vasquez, welcomed us and then showed us the room where we would stay until the sessions concluded. The climate of San Luis was cold during the first days, but the warm sun of the third day allowed us to see a very beautiful face of a town overflowing with historical and cultural heritage. San Luis Potosi with its colonial face evokes the time of the Spanish conquest and Christendom is obvious with the omnipresence of l34 cathedrals scattered throughout the city.
Gloria and I are grateful to God and all our partners in mission because God is gracious and God’s people are faithful and generous. Puentes de Cristo is making small but solid progress in its mission. As a result of a careful evaluation of its program, last month “Puentes” reopened four ministries in the city of Reynosa, Mexico:
A. The Nutrition and Tutoring Projects at the Community Center in Colonia Lucio Blanco
Thanks to financial support provided by First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, Texas, 35 boys and girls of school age are already blessed with a daily meal of a healthy diet. A key aspect of this initiative is also to provide these kids a place to prepare their homework and receive support and guidance for better academic efficiency in school. All of them are kids from the poorest households among the poor, and their personal and family lives we think should be priority in the ministry of Presbyterian congregations in these neighborhoods.
B. Cosmetology and Sewing Project
With cooperation and technical assistance from of the Integral Family Development Program of the City of Reynosa (DIF), Puentes is also reopening the sewing and cosmetology project for young women, single mothers or heads of families in the colonies Carlos Cantu and Lucio Blanco, Reynosa. For most women in these colonies sources of employment and livelihood are scarce. They are the most vulnerable social sector of the population. By implementing these two projects Puentes de Cristo joins the forces of the Reynosa community to add an alternative vocational education for women. These projects are designed to develop manual and technical skills for young women who wish to pursue the occupations of dressmaker or cosmetologist and enter the work industry with qualified ability or to start a small business. We thank God for allowing us to minister to this very critical need.
C. Itinerant Project and Ecclesial Relations Recovery
The coordinators of “Puentes&Rdquo; are committed to the work of restoring two-way partnership relationships between the communities of Presbyterian churches on both sides of the Rio Grande. In the interest of the best future for vital and healthy churches, in the first place Puentes de Cristo bet on the establishment of brotherly relations and a vision of evangelization created through common consensus. Other things related and necessary to implement that vision will follow. For now and from now on, it is critical to recover “the talk” with pastors, evangelism and mission committees and the constituencies of our Presbyterian Church here in the land of the border. To do this, we are taking actions aimed to change the image that Puentes was projecting of breaking with the evangelizing interest of the churches. These days Puentes is leading talks with the Presbytery of Nuevo Leon to find and establish positive understandings that will open doors to closer and enduring relationships.
Join us in Prayer for this Critical Need
We are announcing in this newsletter the reopening of tutoring and nutrition projects, and we thank God for the faithful providence of money offered generously by Presbyterians for this purpose. This encourages us here at Puentes and strengthens our faith and hope for making the necessary improvements in the Community Center kitchen in Lucio Blanco. For now, the preparation and serving of food are being performed in an area adapted for this purpose, but that definitely does not meet the standards of a proper kitchen. It honors us Presbyterians to “do things right and with the best quality,” so for the honor and grace that the children of Lucio Blanco deserve, we encourage all our partners to walk an extra mile with us in faith to build a kitchen in the community center.
As coordinators of Puentes de Cristo and ministers of the Lord, we express our appreciation for your prayers and your continued support to this border ministry.
In the Lord’s service,
Andrés y Gloria Garcia
Puentes de Cristo Coordinators
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 283