McAllen Mission Trip: Second Update

After a couple of days in McAllen, we are finally starting to settle in – even if we are a bit more sore and we are fairly convinced that the alarm clock is going off a little earlier every morning. Lisa mentioned this in the previous post, but one of the most continual sources of encouragement on this trip has been the staff that are here full time. When we arrived this morning, we were welcomed by a group of people that took effort to reach out and told us how excited they were to see us again today. Their continual joyful spirit helps us feel like we are making a valued contribution as we try to serve God and some of His most vulnerable children. For the most part, we’ve been able to stretch out a little further than we did yesterday. We may have still done a lot of the unglamorous (but necessary) work that we did before – sorting clothes, moving water around, things like that – but we have gotten the chance to try some tasks that allowed us to make more of a human connection. For example, we were able to help distribute clothes and shoes, and seeing the excitement on a child’s face when you’ve finally been able to find a pair of shoes that fit (and that they like) reminds us of the difference we are making. And that, really, is I think the most important thing we experienced today: even the smallest ways we can show honor and respect to people make a huge difference. We’re in the midst of so many people that have been cast aside, and even the smallest things we do to help them find dignity are valuable. With gratitude, Seth Martin

McAllen Mission Trip: First Update

The days seem to be flying by. As pleasantly uneventful that day one was (we were driving all day), day two was filled with sweat, joy, and tears.

Sweat – we sorted clothes, cleaned tables, and organized hundreds of bottles of water. It seemed both simple and never ending, but we made a small dent in the work that many of the staff and volunteers have been doing for months on end. As I’ve shared with others in the past, this work isn’t glamorous. Its exhausting and menial in a ton of ways, but I’m reminded over and over again that God sees and is honored by faithfulness in such small things. Honestly, one of the sweetest pieces of our time here has been bearing witness to the work and love of God’s people.

Luckily, they do have an “air conditioner” for volunteers!

Joy – What a joy it was to meet the staff and volunteers at the Respite Center. Their love exudes every interaction and every small act of compassion. They welcomed us with warmth, appreciation, and open handedness; we quickly felt at home and were “deputized” to serve as we saw need. They made us feel part of a bigger community, serving and gathering together around love for God and our neighbor. In these interactions, we were struck by how much we have to learn about sacrifice and commitment.

Tears – it was also clear that the challenges and work faced on a daily basis are overwhelming to those on the ground. The work is overwhelming and unpredictable, and yet, they have created a process that works as efficiently as possible. At lunch, we dropped by a local taqueria next door, and the most impactful moment of my day was when the waitress wept with us as she shared how grateful she is to meet people who care. She shared how easily these brothers and sisters are forgotten and overlooked, but when she meets teams who come to serve, even when they’re only here for a short time, her heart fills with joy because she is reminded that they are seen and that God sees them.

Overall, its been a great two days. As we dive into our next, would you pray for us? Pray that God would continue to give us a sense of purpose, eyes to see places of need, and willingness to step into them. Pray that God would strengthen and sustain the staff as they continue to lay down their lives day -after-day. Pray for our migrant neighbors to experience a glimpse of the kingdom as they find respite and welcome at the Center.

With gratitude,
Lisa Jacob