Day One: Arrival

Four years ago, we were lucky enough to meet David Rodriguez of Faith Ministry (FM) in Charlottesville, Virginia. We were inspired by David’s work and the work the ministry is doing. Unfortunately, a wave of violence hit the Reynose area at that time, and we were unable to join FM to work with them in person. When the violence in Reynosa subsided and the opportunity came to join the intern program this May, we were happy to join as the first FM interns in the last four years.

Yesterday we arrived in McAllen, Texas and were greeted by David and Omar. Meeting them was like meeting two old friends. We enjoyed a delicious lunch together and toured the FM facility. After making a quick stop for provisions, we easily crossed the border and arrived at the FM church and compound in Reynosa, Mexico. The compound is a two story dormitory, church, living area, and dining area where American and Mexican volunteers and FM employees live and work together. After our arrival, we toured the local community with Omar and viewed the large health clinic run by FM, as well as the building site where we would be working for the week. Omar gave us a quick overview of the work FM has accomplished over the past two decades. We were excited to be engaging with the Reynosa community and eager to engage with the local customs and culture. Before heading off to bed, Omar took us to a famous local taco shop for dinner where we experienced some live music with our delicious meal.

In the morning, we woke up to the arrival of our Mexican volunteer team with whom we set to work building rebar columns. Our American volunteer team from Grace Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, arrived shortly after, and we headed off to the build site. We spent the morning hours preparing the work site by filling in the foundation of the house we were building. We met the family of the house being built, who served us fish tacos as a snack during construction. The family’s two small children kept us entertained with their antics as we prepared the foundation to receive a floor. After a long morning of work, we returned to FM for lunch, devotional prayers, and some time spent getting to know everyone who had joined us that day.

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Our afternoon was occupied with the mixing and laying of cement for the house floor. The volunteer teams worked seamlessly together and finished the task in short order. We returned to the FM compound and had dinner with the American volunteer team, getting to know each other even better. An exerting game of basketball followed the evening meal, along with an evening devotional and a chance to relax and talk about the day while sitting out on the balcony in the cool night’s breeze.

FM’s deep roots in Reynosa have revealed the wealth of a caring community and hardworking individuals. Providing shelter, security, and dignity to the community is work that is worthy of the time and effort we are investing.

Written by Ken Dabkowski and William Nuckols. Ken and William came from M-CAM in Charlottesville, Virginia, to work for a week as Faith Ministry interns.

Posted in Reflections