Empowering School Children on the Border: Mission Offering Update

Date Posted: 6/13/2016

The annual conference donations for school supplies at the border is just one of several 2016 initiatives related to developing 50/50 mission partnerships with eternal impact.

Knowing that an investment of just $25 helps one student along the US/Mexico border feel special and have the backpack and supplies to succeed in school, attendees at the 2016 annual conference generously donated $15,233 to the cause. With other gifts, the total is now nearing $17k. To support this program, send any additional payments to the Texas Annual Conference to save the cost of mailing the actual items to the border: Texas Annual Conference or TAC, 5215 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002, with notation “School Supplies.”
According to our border coordinators, your donations will benefit these groups:
Rio Bravo, Vamos Tamaulipas Community Center: 70 kids and 4 teachers 
On its fourth year of serving low-income families, this center is working very successfully. The emphasis remains the education of children of this community.  Currently we are serving 72 children with Pre-school and Elementary School classes, we are also teaching women in the community with sewing classes and piñata making classes.  This month, we started the After School program to reinforce the reading and math learning by using games, music and other teaching tools. Our budget is $1200 dollars per month. Additionally, last November, we started a feeding program with the Federal Government agency SEDESOL in our facilities. This allows our children to receive a Monday - Friday breakfast and lunch. Our current budget is $240.00 per month. 
Rio Bravo, Project 92 Community Center: 37 kids and 7 teachers 
At this center, we are providing classes in sewing, carpentry, English and adult literacy on a budget of  $400 per month.
Reynosa, Betania Methodist School: 40 kids and 6 teachers 
Located in downtown Reynosa, it has Pre-school and Elementary School and has operated for 20 years. 
Reynosa, Buen Pastor Periferico Methodist Church: 100 kids and4 teachers 
This church with over 300 attendance on Sundays, is big for a Mexican congregation. They meet in a tent as they are working on their Educational building with no Sanctuary building yet. People come to this church from six different areas of the city so they are also planning on opening a church in each of those new areas. 
Other churches will also receive some of the school supplies throughout the Eastern Annual Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico including seven Rio Bravo  Methodist churches serving 100 kids and 14 Sunday School teachers; Monterrey and Saltillo with 100 kids and 10 Sunday school teachers and Piedras Negras with seven churches and 250 kids and 14 Sunday school teachers.
Next Steps: U.S./Mexico border initiative
Rev. Diane McGehee, Director of the TAC Center for Missional Excellence, is excited about the plans underway for a 50/50 Partnership Training and Congregational Pairing between churches along the U.S./Mexico border and churches in the TAC. Notes Diane, “We are looking for one partner congregation, or one group from several churches, from each district in the Texas Annual Conference to be paired with one congregation or group of congregations in one region along the Texas U.S./Mexico border.

Susan Hellums with Methodist Border Area Missions and Willie Berman, United Methodist Missionary with Manos Juntas will make the match-ups, with Rev. Patrick Friday from GBGM leading the training on October 7-9, 2016 in McAllen, Texas. “We will be working with churches on the Mexico side of the border as well as on the U.S. side of the border,” she adds. “The partnerships will start, not with us going to do a project, but with building relationships through prayer, worship, bible study and sharing our stories. Then out of that relationship and listening to what each of us needs and what strengths and gifts each partner brings to the table, the partners will decide what God is calling them to do together for the furtherance of God’s kingdom in the world.”  The deadline to apply is September 1, 2016.