Harvesting Cactus

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Did you know that cactus is a power food? Yes, it is edible and full of nutrients and one our most recent mission teams, Roca Nopal, helped reap our first cactus harvest ever. The cactus is grown at our Ein-Gedi Ranch along with a variety of other fruits and vegetables. The cactus will be used in our church kitchen to feed other volunteers as well as to make edible products that will be offered for a donation at the farmers market and/or our Joseph Store House. All donations go towards financially supporting our outreach ministries in Laredo.

In addition to harvesting cactus, the team members also helped move crushed concrete and fixed the animal fences at the ranch. Through this manual labor, the team members of Roca Nopal were able to become very familiar with the various facets of the farm and they saw first-hand how we are trying to make it self-sustaining. (Below you will find pictures of mission team members holding our beloved ranch residents.) They also put their gardening skills to use by beautifying the garden for the Colorado house nearby.

We try to make sure that every mission team gets the opportunity to interact with the children of the Colonias, some of the poorest neighborhoods in Laredo. For Team Rocal Nopal that meant entertaining the children with costumes and handing out toys. These little children rarely get the opportunity to enjoy what other children in this country take for granted. These small acts of kindness are always received with huge smiles from the children and it had an infectious effect on the mission team members as well.

As always, Team Roca Nopal distributed food bags at the church during the Silver Star Program and they broke a record. They sorted our largest inventory of fruit and veggies to date!!

Thanks Team Roca Nopal for all your hard work: Leonardo Camacho, Emily Meier, Stephanie Domchick, Pamela Mukai, Russell Samuel, Mike McGuire, J.T. Price, Rene Rivera!

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Find out what the team had to say In Their Own Words!

“Gracias a Dios por esta gran oportunidad …de poder compartir un momento de mi tiempo …y convivir con familias, personas de tercera edad y poder convivir con personas de otros estados de la misma compania donde trabajo y poder conocer grande servidores.”

“It was amazing to hear about and see the blessings put forth in Lucy and Luis’s path and how, once they followed that calling, things became clearer and the vision became reality. I feel blessed for having just spent two days with their mission–giving back to the people of their community. I find joy, comfort, and peace by bringing others happiness and comfort. I cherish what this experience has awakened in me and I can’t wait to see how I can serve in my local community. It was awesome to see the mission ranch – the farm that is so close to being self-sustaining and providing so much. It was humbling to see the pride, graciousness, and thankfulness of those we served–who are far less fortunate than ourselves. It was a great way to meet other like-minded individuals in our company and realize just how special KeHE is as an employer. And the food…oh my…the food was amazing!  Thank you so much for letting use be a part of your journey and igniting something in each of us to take back home with us.”

“The experience left me wanting more. I feel so fortunate to have been allowed for two days into complete strangers’ lives. Doing God’s service and giving to others in need who were so grateful gave back more to me than I can even express. The work that is being done at this mission is incredible and it is written all over the faces of the people they touch. Thank you for giving me my spirit back.”

“This experience has made me more grateful for what I have and increased my desire to do more for the needy. I find it difficult to put into words of what a great experience with a diverse group who enjoyed each other all on different paths. Knowing the fact that we can’t fix poverty in two days, at least us visiting the needy gives them hope that we haven’t forgotten them. Thank you for the experience!”

“Faith and love brought Pastors Luis and Lucy DeLeon to Laredo, TX. Through their service to others they are sharing God’s love by touching one life at a time by helping to feed, clothe, and house those in need as well as provided a vehicle for others to be touched by the hand of God by serving alongside the DeLeon’s if only for a few days. It is here that I am reminded of my obligation to serve others and to bring that service forward to those in need and open the eyes of others that they may also serve and know the Lord.”

“With no expectation before leaving for Laredo, I quickly realized that this trip was going to be a journey. It was rewarding. It was sad. It was an amazing roller coaster of emotions from one minute to another. ………My biggest take away from this is perhaps I will be able to open myself to God again. I have had my issues for awhile now because of things that have happened to me personally and also from what I see every day. My interaction with the Laredo families, and Luis and Lucy vision, has touched me greatly. It is time to forgive and move forward. I will find my “Laredo” and make a difference. I want to return and help again in the very near future.”

“Every time I come to Laredo I am so amazed the way that I see God move and come through in miraculous ways. This is my fourth time here and I still want to come back again! I am blown away by the love that I have experienced here. This is the way God has called us to live. I feel like family here and serving here in Laredo gives me a deeper understanding of how God called me to live. Laredo is like a home to me and this team has become my family. Thank you for this amazing opportunity. I am forever changed and transformed, and I feel refreshed and on fire to live for Jesus and do His will. I am grateful beyond words to this ministry in Laredo.”

If you would like to do a short term missions trip, contact us or call us. If you are an individual, we can attach you to another group. If you are a company/church,/organization that would like to organize something for your employees/members, we can put something together as well. We certainly can use the help!

Author: Luisa Rodriguez is the official blogger for New Vision Community Church, daughter of Pastors Lucy and Luis DeLeon, and the author of Fruitfully Living.

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