Mission Trip to the Landfill in Matamoros Mexico 23 Apr 05
Report by Elias Garcia
We are continuing to work with S.O.S. Ministries (Servants of the Savior Ministries). Our contact is Robbie Gardner. Robbie and Paul Gonzales operate four soup kitchens at the city trash dump in Matamoros, Mexico. There is a large manufacturing segment in the Mexico/United States border area (NAFTA Zone). This provides many jobs and attracts thousands of hopeful applicants. Unfortunately, there are many more applicants than job openings, resulting in a huge number of displaced, unemployed people. These “good” jobs pay an average of $65-$75 per week. If unable to find a job, after coming from the interior of Mexico, families have few options. They soon find themselves with no money, no food, no home, and no hope. Thousands of these families have found their way to the city trash dump. Here, they spend hopeless days scavenging through the trash, looking for anything of value. Living conditions are horrible. No running water, no electricity, no window screens, and quite often no food. These people live a hard life in harsh conditions with little if any hope of a better life. There are no Mexican government programs to help the poor. This is where S.O.S Ministries is working on making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children and their parents. It operates four soup kitchens in the trash dump. These kitchens provide a nourishing meal to more than 200 children daily, Monday thru Friday. Through S.O.S these children benefit from a good meal, have access to a playground, and are cared for in a Christian environment. They also learn Bible scriptures and songs. The children are a joy to work with. They are intelligent, energetic, and well mannered children. The soup kitchens also double as churches. On Saturday, church services are held for the children and on Sundays for the adults. Meeting the daily needs of supplying four soup kitchens and feeding 200-220 children five days per week can be a challenge. Donations are always welcomed, in any amount. With an inconsistent donation base, S.O.S. Ministries doesn’t know from week to week how much food will be available.
First Baptist Church Pflugerville made plans for a church mission trip to the landfill in Mexico. FBCP conducted a garage sale to raise money to purchase needed items. Announcement was made to the church in general and during Sunday School. Donations were taken. It was put in the church bulletin and more donations came in. Several persons signed up to go on the mission trip. God provided the money needed!
We purchased some items to take with us. These we individually packed to pass out to the needy at the landfill:
We then went to one of the soup kitchen and unloaded donated items. We then went on to pass out the food and hygiene bags we had individually packed to the needy families. We did not have enough items to provide for all the families
We also purchased beans, rice, sugar, Kool-Aid, toilet paper, four tables, bowls, cooking oil, and other items in Brownsville just before leaving to donate to the soup kitchen.
Praying before leaving.
Unloading donated items at the soup kitchen.
Unloading more beans and rice.
Unloading more items.
Paul Gonzalez being appreciative for the drums set donated by the Rogers to be used by one of the missions being started in the landfill area.
The children singing hymns.
Helping unload some toys for the children.
Passing out some beans to the needy.
Passing out Rice, Beans, Toilet Paper, water, and hygiene bags.
Passing out some necklaces.
Passing out some candy to the children.
Passing out some more necklaces.
Posing for a picture.
Some of the items purchased at SAM’s with money raised by the garage sale and donations.
Getting ready to load the items in the vehicles.
We dropped these items off at one of the soup kitchen helpers home. They then transported the items to the soup kitchen a little at a time so that they would not be turned back at the International Bridge Check Point.
IT WAS JUST A GREAT MISSION TRIP! We thank God that everything went well:
· We got to the Matamoros landfill ok
· We were not stopped at the border check point
· We were able to deliver all the items
· God blessed the needy at the landfill
· We all got home safely
· Everyone that went was blessed! Just ask them.