When you talk about doing missions, most people will automatically picture missionary work in third-world countries. What few people realize is that there are also missionary fields within the United States. At New Vision Community Church, we host missionaries on a regular basis that assist us with our ministries here in Laredo, TX. One of our most recent teams was from a KeHE company Tree of Life Canada.
This Canadian team arrived on Wednesday, October 1st and departed on Sunday, October 5th. Although that only involved 3 full days of work, the team helped us immensely make progress in some areas of need. They were able to install an irrigation system at our En Geidi Ranch with the assistance of our volunteer botanist Tony Ramirez. En Geidi serves as a central point in one of the poorest areas of Laredo as a center of community outreach. The irrigation system will certainly free man hours to invest in some of our other projects. The team was also able to distribute food to very low-income areas known as the “colonias” and to the children of the stables. And they were faithful laborers at the church itself helping out in the kitchen and with our Silver Star Program.
The children of the stables is a heart wrenching situation. It is hard to believe that in a country as wealthy as the United States, there are still children and adults living in these conditions. The stables are exactly that, horse stables. The horses are used in races and the workers “hired” to care for these horses live in the stables themselves. The workers and their families live in cubicles set up in between the stables. The outdoor bathroom facilities are about 200 feet away. The missionaries that were here were able to minister to these families and their children.
We are very thankful to this Canadian team and the support they were able to provide. They showed the love of Christ and made an impact on the community. Most important of all, the people of Laredo that benefited from their work are thankful. We were delighted to see how easily the team integrated into our ministries and how warm they were with the people. From the feedback we received from the team, it seems that they were also thankful for having taken part in this opportunity. Here are some of their comments:
Helen wrote: “I went to Laredo thinking that I knew you both. I left realizing that I had entered with no idea of the goodness of your hearts, the depth of your kindness. I went to Laredo thinking that I would be giving something to the people that we met. I left having taken much more from them than I could ever have given. You both spoke about the goodness of God and about how He always seems to know just what you need and when you need it. I saw that actually come to life when the truckload of fruits arrived for the seniors and when a call came in about furniture for the family who’s house the boys worked on. Truly amazing.
You’re team are absolutely wonderful. They took such great care of us, always with a smile and a hug. Please thank them for us. They are very special.
Finally, thank you both so much for allowing our team to be a part of your mission. I know that we all left feeling like we had been given a gift. We will be sure to use that gift wisely as we work to develop opportunities in Canada. The trip was truly inspiring. Thank you”
Madonna wrote: “You have made an impact in my life in such a short time.
I will never forget the friendships made, the laughter and the tears shed.
I have grown personally and spiritually from my experience. I appreciate more what I have and have a more positive outlook on life. Thank you, may you have continued success. I hope we our path will cross again, maybe in our Mission in Canada.”
When I decided to participate in the mission trip to Laredo, I didn’t realize how much of an impact it would make. Little did I know, my world was about to change. I arrived in Laredo with the expectation that I was going to help as much as I could, doing whatever was needed. It was such an eye opening, humbling experience. It was so shocking to see the reality of the poverty that exists in North America. Despite that, the people have so much faith and hope. When I first saw them, I thought to myself that they really had nothing, but by the end of the mission trip I realized it was I that really had little. They do not have many possessions, shelter or food but they do have much love and endless smiles and are just so thankful for each and everything in their lives.”
Debbie wrote: Pastors Luis and Lucy along with the volunteers at NVCC were incredibly gracious, welcoming us into their lives and community. The volunteers prepared delicious meals, provided direction on tasks to be completed and were tremendously patient and always upbeat and often injected comic relief into a couple of “smoking hot” days. Pastor Lucy ran a tightly, organized ship and through her never ending passion we were afforded the ability to assist many more than I could have believed possible.
Everyone from children to the elderly were so appreciative of every gesture, big or small. I met a wonderful woman during the Senior Citizen Silver Star event. Her English was limited and my Spanish even more so, however we were able to communicate to each other how much that morning meant to both of us. We ended our exchange in tears and hugs thanking God for the blessings we had received that morning.
We now are home but I’m certain for many of us, our hearts are in Laredo. The people there treated us with so much love I felt like we were the ones being served ….. funny how life works sometimes.
Pastors Luis and Lucy, thank you for all you do at the mission and never stop what God has started because in Him great things are happening. I would encourage anyone and everyone to open their hearts and join a mission trip sometime in their life.”
Larry wrote: “I traveled to Laredo to try to help out. I feel that I took away more than I was able to give. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this mission. Thank you to Pastor’s Luis and Lucy for all that they do to make people’s lives a little better.”
Diane wrote: Even though I’m home safe in my own comfortable little home, my thoughts return constantly to the time we spent with you both. The ride home went quickly and we were all very quiet as we reflected on our individual experiences.
I am very grateful for what I have and even more grateful to have given my time and energy to your wonderful project – it ended too soon and I would love to return there one day or maybe join you on another mission.
I left Laredo knowing I was blessed and loved. Thank you for filling my heart with the pure joy of giving and sharing. My work has only just begun – I will make sure that the Canadian Roots of Hope become an integral part of my life moving forward.
Vickie wrote: “If I had to sum the trip up in three words, they would be, Enlightening, Inspiring and Emotional.…….Oh…and one more word…Amazing!…….We reached out to a community in need and helped out with enthusiasm and compassion. But I believe we all came away with a greater reward in our hearts.”
THANK YOU AGAIN TREE OF LIFE CANADA!!