July was a very difficult month for Faith Ministry. We lost a very special and important member of our ministry family, the coronavirus continued to plague our communities on both sides of the border, and our area was hit by a strong hurricane. One of these things by itself would be hard; all together, they made for a very tough month for our staff, our families, and our communities.
But, in the midst of difficulty, we know God is here. Right now, life around us feels shaky, but we are strong because our foundation, our rock, is the Lord. We have hope for the days ahead, that God will continue working through Faith Ministry to change lives and make a difference, that we will weather these storms together, unidos, unidos.
“He alone is [our] rock and [our] salvation, my fortress;
[we] shall not be shaken.”
Our Brother Angel
This month, Angel, our brother in Christ, passed away. Angel was a pillar of the Faith Ministry family and a leader among the staff. He dedicated over 15 years to the ministry, and he was deeply respected and loved by his fellow staff, the local volunteers, and the hundreds and hundreds of U.S. volunteers who worked with him over the years. Not only did he supervise the construction of countless homes for families in need, he was instrumental in the day-to-day operations in Reynosa, helping with everything from logistics to security to maintenance and more. If we needed something, Angel was always there to help. He valued the friendships he built at Faith Ministry, and he looked out for the staff, volunteers, and groups as if they were his own family.
It is hard for us to comprehend what Faith Ministry will look like without Angel, and to say that he will be profoundly missed is an understatement. What we do know is that we have to honor his memory by continuing to work hard and serve families in the same way he always did, with dedication, kindness, and an open heart.
Angel was the third in his family to pass away in the span of under two weeks; he lost his grandmother and his mom a week before his passing. His family, including Lupe, have appreciated all of your prayers and support this month; continue praying for strength, comfort, and peace for them.
Our Focus for the Rest of 2020
As you may have seen in the news, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, and, by extension, Reynosa and Miguel Alemán in Mexico, is currently a hotspot for the coronavirus. The high number of cases, paired with little to no hospital space, makes it a scary situation, particularly for families in need in Mexico. Because of this, paired with the loss of our construction supervisor Angel, we are having to reimagine what our programs look like for the rest of the year.
Our focus right now is on the safety of our staff; we want everyone safe and healthy. We are also dedicated to taking care of our community through grocery packages and hygiene kits, as well as helping where we can with damage due to the hurricane, and we will continue meeting medical and financial needs where we can.
🏠 HOUSES & MISSION WORK GROUPS:
After much thought and consideration, we have decided to pause the construction of additional houses for the rest of 2020, as well as cancel any remaining scheduled teams for the year. When it is safe and possible, we will be finishing up pending construction projects from the beginning of the year, including three houses that were underway, but we do not plan to build any additional houses for the rest of the year.
❤️ HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Many of you have reached out asking how you can help and support us during these difficult times. Right now, the best way you can do that is by making a financial contribution to Faith Ministry. We are using those resources to make sure our staff is paid in full every single week, to meet the needs of families in our area through grocery packages, supplies, and other expenses, and to continue making a difference wherever we can. Any contribution, no matter how small, goes a long way. You can donate online at faithministry.org/give or by sending a check payable to Faith Ministry to PO Box 756, McAllen, TX 78505. We appreciate all of you so much, and we thank you for all your love and support.
When we talked about riding out this “storm” of 2020 together, we didn’t expect an actual hurricane! Hurricane Hanna swept through McAllen, Reynosa, and Miguel Alemán Saturday evening and brought heavy rain until early Monday morning. This caused wind damage and heavy flooding on both sides of the border, but thankfully, all of our staff and the families we know in Mexico are safe. We did have some damage to our clinic in Reynosa, as well as some minor damage and flooding to our complex in Naranjito. We will be working with staff to fix those issues and upgrade our weatherproofing on the roofs of our facilities to help prevent against further damage. We are also assisting our staff and their families whose homes were damaged or flooded by the storm. Thank you all for your prayers over the weekend!
Four members of the Faith Ministry family celebrated birthdays this month!
🎂 Carlos, our pastor in Reynosa and Naranjito, who has done an outstanding job leading his congregations over the past several months, making sure church members are safe and cared for
🎂 Beto, one of our long-term volunteers in Reynosa, who patiently teaches many of us to lay blocks and whose smile and jokes are favorites among the mission work groups
🎂 Agueda, our secretary in Miguel Alemán, whose hard work and effort helps make everything run smoothly, lending a hand wherever she is needed
🎂 Oralia, our sewing instructor and cook in Reynosa, whose kindness and patience is noticed by all who meet her and whose delicious cooking nourishes children everyday
Feliz cumpleaños to Carlos, Beto, Agueda, and Oralia! 🎉
Stay in Touch
One of the best things that has helped us get through this difficult time is the technology we have to keep in touch with all of you. Whether it’s text messages, phone calls, video chats, or emails, staying connected with all of you, especially during this month, has meant so much to us. One example is a video hangout we had this month on Zoom with a youth group who was supposed to be working with us that week; that time, even though it was through a computer screen, was so important for us to recharge and remember what an amazing community we have.
If you have a group of people (whether it’s your church group who comes down or friends from other places that love Faith Ministry) and would like to set up a Zoom with us, we would love that! Get in touch with Colleen, and we’ll see you there. 😊
We believe in the power of prayer, so please join us in praying for:
- Lupe and his family, who lost three family members, including Angel, this month. Pray for strength, comfort, and peace for them, as well as for their own physical and mental health.
- Our staff in McAllen, Reynosa, and Miguel Alemán, who have been through so much this month. Pray that everyone stays safe and healthy, and pray for comfort and peace as well, as we have lost one of our own.
- Omar, our administrator in Reynosa, who is dealing with health problems unrelated to COVID-19. Pray for his health and his strength.
- The father of Luz, our construction supervisor in Miguel Alemán, who broke his leg and is having difficulty recovering. Pray for his strength and recovery.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
On the Blog
Written by Britt, who was supposed to be one of the leaders of a youth trip to Reynosa this month, and, like many of you who have had cancelled your trips this year, is grieving what should have been while finding new meaning to the word “church”:
“Some mixture of dust, cement, and sweat is actually a recipe for fellowship, shared mission, camaraderie, awareness, empathy, and love.”
Especially during this difficult time, thank you. You have no idea how much your love and support has meant to us this month. We appreciate your emails, your calls, your texts, and your check-ins. We appreciate your donations and your prayers. We appreciate your dedication to Faith Ministry.