Volunteers in Mission (VIM)
Manos Juntas in Rio Bravo, Mexico
The purpose of Volunteers in Mission (VIM) is to share the love of Jesus Christ in ways that make a Christian difference. That Christian difference is made not only in the lives of those we serve, but also in our own lives. Each year, each face, each touch, each task leaves a lasting impression on the hearts of those who respond "YES" to God's call. Are you being called? How will you respond?
Manos Juntas is a non-profit organization in Rio Bravo, Mexico. Our partnership with them includes building small homes, assisting with community building projects, remote free medical clinics, skills training, and more. We also support them with finances and prayer.
In March of 2008, fifteen members of HUMC traveled to Rio Bravo, Mexico to join other missioners from several areas of the country for a week-long house building effort. It was our first mission trip into Mexico. Four families lives were changed because of the small homes that were built for them - (casitas: 12' x 20' houses constructed out of concrete block with a wood-framed, steel roof).
HUMC teamed up with VIM, once again, sending five missioners to make a difference in February 2009 by helping to build three casitas for families in Rio Bravo. One was an emergency build for a family of 9 who lost all they had in a fire.
Two teams over two weeks built five casitas in February 2010. The first team of five missioners helped build two homes, while eight HUMC missioners in week 2 helped build three. Five small houses, an unknown number of lives.
Our mission to Rio Bravo, Mexico in 2011 included two teams over two weeks in February (five from our church the 1st week and 6 the second). Two casitas were built each week. Those families will never be the same. Neither will we.
In February 2012 HUMC led the mission endeavor in Rio Bravo. A total of 4 casitas were built in two weeks. Additionally, over 250 local residents were served through 4 days of medical clinics held at area churches and a nearby facility for the elderly. God touched all of them through us, and all of us through them! What a blessing. We are looking forward to leading the efforts again next year. Our 2012 teams (9 & 21) were comprised of missioners from Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, and one from Canada.
2013's trip to Manos Juntas in Rio Bravo took place February 9-16. Team members included folks from Highland (5) and Houghton Lake (2) UM Churches as well as from several churches in South Texas (10). During the week one casita was built for a family of five; mom, dad, and 3 boys ages 4, 7, 9. Medical clinics were held at three locations around town, and for the first time, our work included a community project where we helped build a fourth classroom for a local middle & high school. Be sure to take a look at our photos. It was a week of tremendous blessing and seeing God at work.
Our February 15-22, 2014 trip to Manos Juntas was a week of new projects. Thirty two people comprised of folks from Highland, Houghton Lake, and Horseshoe Bay, Texas held Mission Bible School, did drywall work at a community center and held a medical clinic there, built walls to create rooms in a future dorm, and built 2 casitas end-to-end. The casitas would be the new home for a mom and dad with 3 young kids (they would live in one side) and an older daughter who had a family of her own. They would live in the other side. Check out our pictures for a better idea of our week. Access them in the left column menu under Photo Albums.
February 14-21, 2015 was a great year of serving the community of Rio Bravo. We put up the walls of a school administration building so a room currently used in the school could be converted into a an actual classroom for students waiting to attend. We laid the foundation for two casitas that would be built the following week. We held medical clinics and Mission Bible School. We also had a sewing team who made curtains for the hospial house, knitting classes, and prepared the ground for a foundation to be laid the next week for a carpentry school. We also had a team drywall and paint an elementary school cafeteria and also tile the countertop. It was a busy and exhilarating week .
Our ninth trip took place from February 13-20, 2016. Twenty five us of from Highland UMC, Houghton Lake UMC, Brighton UMC, Owosso UMC, and Horseshoe Bay, Texas served Manos Juntas by helping to build a welding school and doing some finishing work on a community center located on MJ property. We also held medical clinics, a morning and an afternoon Mission Bible School for four days, knitting classes, and some foundation work in preparation for another team's work the following week. There are always so many ways to serve and make a difference, but getting to know the people of Rio Bravo and working alongside the terrific people of Manos Juntas is such a great experience. If you're feeling called by God, step out and join us. You'll be part of a greater purpose & you're sure to see God at work.
2017 marked our tenth year of mission work with Manos Juntas in Rio Bravo, Mexico! During our time from February 11-18, twenty-seven missioners from Michigan, Texas, and Florida worked hard and had fun serving together. Time was well spent helping to prepare an orphanage called the House of Hope for its grand opening in neighboring town, Nuevo Pregresso, sometime later this year. Missioners also built a casita for a local family, held remote medical clinics, Mission Bible School, and knitting classes. In addition to work, the group enjoyed time in the community worshipping at a local church, touring the area, and eating out, as well as visiting a shelter for migrants called Senda de Vida in Reynosa.
In 2018 we did not make a trip to Rio Bravo. However, we still sent money down so a cafeteria at a local kindergarten could be built. We look forward to returning in 19.
Won't you consider joining us in 2019?
Our first trip to Rio Bravo: March 8-15, 2008 Group Photo
Our first couple of trips to Rio Bravo were organized by the VIM branch of the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church. However, in 2009-10, the Eastern Conference of The Methodist Church of Mexico began to take over those duties in hopes of serving their own communities. They have a great desire for continued partnership with U.S. churches, and also partnership with their own people and local agencies. It is a privilege and a blessing to join them in their efforts.