Above Photo: Mikayla Rodriguez sorting through baby clothes. Diapers packaged in small packs behind her.
Last week we had the privilege to sit and hear from missionary/pastor Dr. Eric Buell, as he spoke about missions and the mission of God through the whole Bible, to two of our summer interns in the Envíame Project. After the morning session, we joined him, his daughter Paige and another member of the Rio Valley Church of the Nazarene, to serve at a Respite Center where he has been serving since 2014. This charity is a very small 5-room building with volunteers who are there from 2:30pm to sometimes late. They serve immigrants from Central America through out the week. Daily, as many as 180 women, men, and children, come through this ministry. These are families who come in, having just been released with an ankle monitor, before they are taken to bus stations to travel to different parts of the US to join extended family in the United States. Pam, one of our summer interns, and my job this day was to keep the women’s shower line moving. I handed them a towel with the knowledge that the end of the line would not get towels because we were going to run out. More than anything we stood and talked, offering smiles and a listening ear. I shampooed and combed out several little girls’ hair who were there with their fathers. The men asked if I could do anything with their hair after it hadn’t been combed for several weeks.
I asked two teen girls in line how many days they had been traveling and they said 15 days and a lot of it in a trailer with one apple to eat. You have to understand the desperation, fear of loss of life, and need, these people were facing to have to travel all this way. Many traveled with their kids in order to save them.
My oldest daughter found her place in volunteering to hold and dress babies after their moms showered them. They handed them off to her so they could then take a 5-minute shower. My other two kids and PJ, our second summer intern, packaged diapers in small packs, found clean clothes and shoelaces, for those in line. Robert and Josiah served chicken noodle soup and tortillas to everyone and then made sandwiches for their journey. Eric and his daughter Paige worked circles around us since they knew the other volunteers and the system, having spent countless hours in service there. If I had a question or a special need, Paige knew exactly what to do and always served with a smile.
In life, what breaks your heart and calls you to action? In my life I can name specific times that God stirred my heart to the point of tears. I understand what Nehemiah was saying in Nehemiah 1:4 “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven”. Nehemiah’s story started with a burden. Take the time to pray and ask God what our response should be as His church. God stirred my heart to action and I have asked Him, “What can I do?” I can volunteer my time here in McAllen, Texas, but as I prayed I felt compelled to ask you to join me in serving the real needs of those who come into our country. This has been going on for a long time now, but in recent days we have seen more about it in the media. God wants us to see the needs of His people and get the word out. They need used or new clothes for small skinny people, new underclothes, and things like disposable diapers. We are putting a list out of needed donations that can be sent directly to Pastor Dr. Eric Buell in McAllen Texas. Any monetary donations can be sent to General Treasurer- GMC 17001 Prairie Star Parkway Lenexa, KS 66220. Make sure that in the memo line you include – Nazarene Border Initiative- Respite Center. We will work closely with Dr. Buell to purchase the needed items and making sure they arrive.
- Disposable diapers all sizes
- Infant socks
- Infant onesies, pants, and clothes
- Gently used kids cloths (no shorts)
- Gently used Small-medium/short men cloths (no shorts)
- Gently used Small-medium/short women cloths (no shorts)
- New men’s underwear size small and medium
- New women’s underwear, & bras (small sizes)
- New boys and girls underwear
- New boys and girl’s socks
- Hair bands and accessories
- Brushes and combs
- Body soap
- Trash bags
- Cleaning supplies
- Disposable gloves
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Over the counter medications (example Tylenol, cough drops)