A letter from Andres Garcia in Mexico
The group of five of us boarded Puentes de Cristo’s van and headed toward Reynosa. Many months had passed by since no mission groups dared to cross the bridge for working on the Mexican side of the border. Our vehicle slowly but smoothly made it across the bridge, and then several automatic bars showing the driveway for custom crossing or inspection, depending on green or red light, blinked ahead of us. Our turn showed green. We didn’t have to stop for inspection of our van, which allowed a fast crossing through the security checking post.
Going through the streets of Reynosa, our concerns and fears changed into curious and wide-open eyes, watching and observing the vibrant mood of a city full of contrasting pictures of the Mexican way of living. Mary pointed with her finger at one of the newest developments in town, the Mexican Cultural Center of Reynosa. She said: “I am glad I am here, experiencing firsthand that life on this side of the border is not only about drugs, narco-traffic and the drug cartels war.” Yea! Richard added: “Look at that machinery at work. It seems the government is investing here good money for the benefit of people.”
We drove the route around the cultural center, sightseeing the digging of a lagoon that is being transformed into the largest sport and entertainment facility in the city limits. Beside it the municipal government is also building a new soccer stadium that (according to the Ministry of Culture and Sport) will accommodate around 35,000 fans.
After 25 minutes from Hidalgo we arrived at the gate of the Community Center in Colonia Lucio Blanco. The kids and teachers were waiting for us to start the work of that day. Pastors Krin and David wore gloves and took the power saws, and Mary, Bob and Charlie began nailing the roof, led by the master carpenter, brother Feliciano. No matter the hardship of the mission, seven hours later the great work of the day was accomplished: “The roof of the future computer lab is done,” said Pastor David. “Next weekend we will install the electricity connections and then the internal network will be completed.”
This day we offered our hand labor, they a meal with loving grace and prayers for our safe return home. The table dressed with tortillas, tacos, fried beans, cheese and jalapeno sauce on top looked to us like a truly communion table shared among friends who know the real, living presence of Jesus Christ. Every one of us, in our own way, felt the spiritual touch in sharing the sight of those vulnerable kids whose smiles and timid shaking of hands with strangers was the welcoming voice of God in the territory of his Kingdom.
We left Lucio Blanco after 5:00 pm and headed toward the International Bridge that connects Reynosa and Hidalgo City. The crossing through the Mexico checking post was smooth and easy, but then, 20 meters ahead, hundreds of vehicles were in long lines, waiting their turn to cross over to the U.S.A. side. The following minutes were very long, but at the end we made it to Puentes de Cristo, two miles from the bridge.
Reasons for join us in prayers
1. Thanksgiving for the renewed commitment of the PC(USA) to support the outreach ministry in the Mexico–U.S.A. border region.
2. Thanksgiving and petition for the new Presbyterian Border Region Outreach Organization (PBRO). May this validated body faithfully accomplish its purpose of living out the gospel of Jesus Christ holistically on both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border.
3. Prayers for Claudia, Lupita Casas and the group of 40 women, our partners in ministry in Reynosa, Mexico. May the Lord strengthen them to become an empowered community to bear witness of Christ at Colonia Lucio Blanco.
4. And don’t forget to keep Gloria and me in your thoughts.
Thank you very much for your loving support.
One with you in Christ,
Andres and Gloria Garcia