The last “work” day of our 2017 Mission to Mission trip was powerful in many, many regards. For a variety of reasons beyond our control, the time spent at the home in Donna, TX was limited to half a day. In some ways, that was probably a pretty wise decision, given the heat we experienced this afternoon. As with most things in our lives, we didn’t finish the job entirely, but we had to stop anyway. We’ll trust that just as the Lord raised up hands to begin work of which we knew nothing two weeks ago, we’ll trust that there will be hands sent to complete the tasks we were obliged to leave undone today. At any rate, it was wonderful to see this project to this point and to celebrate with the homeowners as they continued to dream of moving into their own new space.
Once again, we found ourselves the recipients of lunchtime hospitality. This time, it was not a meal cooked and delivered to the site, but rather the treat of personal pan pizza in air-conditioned comfort. Our liaisons at First Presbyterian Church of Mission TX, Kathy and “Tejano Bob”, took us to Pizza Hut in an effort to break up the day. It worked. Folks were in a food coma ten minutes later…
Several of us took advantage of the extra hours in the afternoon to visit the Refugee Center located at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen. Here we were privileged to see how this congregation has rallied people of faith and good will across the Rio Grande Valley to provide a hospitable welcome to those fleeing persecution and danger in Central America. Persons who are seeking refugee status in the USA are received by the Border Patrol and vetted at a detention center nearby. Those who are cleared for entry and continuing the process are then brought to this center, where they are given a hot meal, a clean set of clothes, a shower, and a place to sleep for the night before going to the bus station the next day to travel to the city in which their sponsors will receive them. It was our honor to be on hand when two young mothers and their children came in and were received so graciously by the volunteers of the parish.
Dinner provided us with the incredible opportunity to share in a lengthy reunion with the Paz family, with whom we were glad to work two years ago. We stopped by to say “hello” yesterday, and then got a message inviting us to dinner today – and what a feast we shared. There was enough chicken and sausage to feed an army, along with some amazing beans and a homemade cake. It was good to get caught up on the who’s doing what in school and to see how the house is continuing to provide a blessing to our friends and those with whom they come into contact. We don’t often get a glimpse of the kingdom, but tonight we did. And we were glad for it.
Tomorrow is a travel day – we’ll take the drive up to Houston and then on Saturday return to Pittsburgh. It’s been a great trip for all kinds of reasons, and I hope and pray that the fruit will show in years to come.