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How can I get involved?
There are many ways for you to get involved with Faith Ministry . You can bring a team to Reynosa or Miguel Alemán, Mexico, to do any number of necessary ministry activities: build a house, work in the medical clinic, and/or volunteer with our feeding program. One of the most important aspects of our mission work groups is the relationships the volunteers build with the Mexicans who live and work in these areas. By working alongside each other all week, group volunteers build friendships with Mexican volunteers that can last a lifetime. Even if you cannot make it to Mexico, you can benefit the ministry in a very significant way by sponsoring a child or donating to the ministry.
Who can come to Mexico?
Anyone who has a special interested in doing mission work alongside our Mexican brothers and sisters can come and work with Faith Ministry.
Do we have to build a house?
No! We have many other projects for your team in our medical, nutrition, and spiritual areas, as well as small construction projects. Some teams come for medical clinics at our clinic (dental or general practice) or for evangelism activities with our church (VBS, crafts with locals, prayer walks, Bible distribution, special services, etc.). Small construction projects can include building a bathroom for a family in need, painting at one of the churches or clinic, roofs or floors for families, rebar tower construction, etc.
What are the age limits for participants?
Mission group age limits mainly depend on your church’s or organization’s policies. We do recommend that participants be at least 12 years old because they will be working with construction materials and tools. Participants under the age of 18 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian and supervised at all times in Mexico.
How are families chosen to receive a house?
We run a socioeconomic survey to assess the family’s needs. We then visit the family and invite them to get involved and participate in the program invites them to work side by side with the U.S. groups to build houses for all the participating families involved during that year. Typically, their participation with the housing program is for eight months.
What are the requirements for a family to apply for a house?
First, the family must complete our application stating their needs and desires for housing. Second, the family agrees to an interview with Faith Ministry at their current living space as part of the evaluation and assessment process. Third, the family must provide proof of land ownership, and finally, the family must come to help others until we finish the activities for the year.
Is the family required to be a member of the Faith Ministry-affiliated church in Reynosa or Miguel Alemán?
No. We ask them to come to the daily devotions to bond with and to have fellowship with the teams coming to volunteer, but they are not required to come to our churches. We do talk to them about our mission and the love of Jesus Christ.
Does a family have to own land first?
Yes. This is something we enforce because this house will be a gift for the family, and if they do not hold ownership of the land, they could lose possession of the property once the house is built. We always ask the family to provide proof of ownership before we accept them as volunteers and potential homeowners.
How does a family get land for their house?
There are several ways for a family to obtain land. Most of the families have been living in the same area for a long time and are able to build on a small part of land belonging to their parents. Other times, the families just came from southern Mexico, find land, and occupy or “sit” on that land for several years until they get squatters rights, which are legal in Mexico. Some families buy the land by paying little by little until they own the property, and some families receive support in their land purchases from donors through their special gifts to Faith Ministry.
Can we give money directly to families in Mexico when we are there?
No. We have found that many families, due to their extreme poverty, tend to share their needs with several teams, and we often find several donations coming for the same need. We ask the families to bring their needs to the Faith Ministry office so we can assess and evaluate the validity of their requests within the needs of the whole community and other families.
What kind of house is built?
We build a cinderblock house with a concrete floor and roof. Each house is about 12 feet by 24 feet and has two windows and at least one door.
Why concrete/cinderblock? Isn’t wood cheaper
We purchase all materials for the houses locally in Mexico, and wood is more expensive in Mexico than in the U.S. Due to the extreme weather in Mexico, wood may only last for eight to ten years. The concrete and cinderblock houses provide better shelter to the occupants and last for many years. They are sturdier and provide better protection in extreme weather conditions. They maintain a more constant temperature, warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Where do groups stay when they come to volunteer?
Our complexes in Reynosa and Miguel Alemán are always ready to receive teams. They are both located right next to the Faith Ministry churches and are equipped with dorm rooms, bathrooms, showers, and kitchens. We recommend staying with us to get a closer experience with the local culture and the Mexican volunteers; however, you do not have to stay here. Some teams stay on the U.S. side in Texas and others at local hotels.
Is it safe to stay in Mexico?
Yes! The violence that has been reported in the news is in very specific areas, such as bars and nightclubs within the city. Staying at our complex or in hotels is very safe.
How does Faith Ministry ensure our safety while we are there?
We always have one or two security guards patrolling the complex area, and a staff person stays with the team during the night. We have access to the local police and hospitals for any emergency.
What do we need to get across the border?
For entry into Mexico, any official ID will suffice as most of the time, the border patrol does not ask for any documents. To come back into the U.S., you will need to show the officers proof of citizenship. The most common forms of ID are passport, birth certificate (with raised seal) and drivers license, or voter registration card. As of July 2009, a valid U.S. passport is required to reenter the U.S. from Mexico.
Can we stay in Texas?
Yes, there are many hotels and missions (hosting churches) that can accommodate your group. Please be aware that you will cross the border every day going to and from the worksite. Each team member must have a passport or proper ID in order to reenter the U.S. It can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to cross the border.
What do we need to bring to the worksite? Tools? Personal items?
If you are able to bring tools like trowels and wire cutters, we are always in need of those items. However, we will definitely provide the tools you need to work. Other than that, you will need a hat, work gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, and sunscreen.
How do we dress for the work?
Old clothing is suggested for working on construction sites, as well as very sturdy shoes. Protection from the heat and sun is essential. It can get very hot in the spring, summer and fall.
What if we forget to bring something?
You can always buy anything you need at local stores, such as Soriana or S-Mart (our Mexican “Walmarts”).
Will we have help? How will we know what to do and how to do it?
You will always have help from the volunteer Mexican families. We will also make sure your team has a construction foreman, who is an employee of Faith Ministry at the job site to guide your team through all phases of the construction process.
Can we play with the children? What if we want to do something like Bible school or crafts?
Yes, of course! The children in Mexico need more than a house or medical attention! They need love, so feel free to play with them. If your team would like to have VBS or any other activities with the children, please contact the Faith Ministry leaders to make plans for the activity.
What about medical facilities for emergencies?
Reynosa and Miguel Alemán have local hospitals that can handle any emergency. We also have a doctor and nurse on staff at the Faith Ministry clinics who are available for any need you may have. The border is not far away from the complexes, and we could bring you across the border to the U.S. hospital as well.
Can we drink water in Mexico? Where can we get it, and how do we purchase it?
No! The water from Mexico is not safe for Americans to drink. The locals can drink the water without any problem because their bodies are accustomed to the different minerals and bacteria that your bodies have not experienced in the U.S. Drinking the water in Mexico will make you sick. Large jugs of safe drinking water, as well as large bags of ice, can be purchased at the complexes by the group leader.
How hot does it get?
During the summer, it can get up to 110 degrees, but that is extreme. Most of the time, the temperature is around 100 in the summer and in the 90s in the spring and fall. There can be cool days in early spring and late fall that may require light jackets (sweatshirts/pans) at the work site and blankets at night.
What about bathrooms? Can we flush toilet paper?
No, you cannot flush the toilet paper! The Faith Ministry complexes have modern bathrooms with showers to accommodate your team. Flushing toilet paper is not allowed because of two main problems. The plumbing pipes are smaller in Mexico than in the U.S., and the water pressure is low and cannot push the paper through the pipes. Attempting to flush toilet paper will clog and back up the system.