The Rio Grande Valley is tucked into the most southerly point of Texas with the Gulf of Mexico to the east and Mexico to the south. About 25% speak English only and another 25% Spanish only, while the other half are bilingual. For the past 4 years intensive gospel work has been done in Spanish. Seed Sowers, flea markets, street evangelism, and meetings held for both adults and children have been the methods employed in outreach. Many have worked together during this time; seed has been sown and a few have been saved.
Presently, the work is concentrated in Pharr, Brownsville, and Reynosa, Mexico. Six or seven believers meet twice weekly in Pharr. Last night was the midweek study in Pharr. It has been encouraging to see the recent attendance of a young couple at this study; this couple previously attended only on Sunday mornings since being saved in the past year. Growth is slow, similar to the markings on a child’s height chart on the wall. The man now mentions relevant verses in the studies. Last week the young lady posted a long list of verses on Facebook showing that Christ is the One and Only Savior. She is paying a price as one of her sisters in California has turned against her. Others in the group have been saved for three years and have shown steady growth and faithfulness to God.
The Brownsville work started in December with a text distribution, thanks to a willing group of Seed Sowers. Nightly meetings, with the help of Rick Sawatzky (recently commended to the Lord’s work) and others, were held through January and most of February with attendance of 5 – 10 most nights. Meetings presently continue on Wednesdays and Saturdays in this city of 175,000. Last week La Quinta Inn bumped the meeting to Thursday night. By chance, a hotel guest came into the meeting held in the breakfast room. After the meeting he stated how much he had learned and left his name and address with an invitation to visit his home on weekends. He and his family are bilingual and are from Corpus Christi, one and a half hours to the north of Brownsville. Who will go? Volunteers are needed for this area!
The little work in Reynosa, Mexico is just that – small. Three years ago on a hot American Thanksgiving afternoon, free pumpkin pie and cold Pepsi were given out in downtown McAllen. A lady from Reynosa accepted. Follow-up contact with her had been very sporadic until 2013. Three weeks ago a Sunday afternoon gospel meeting was started in her home just across the river with up to 11 in attendance. A month ago she was confused about salvation as every church she has attended has talked about the need for her being baptized in their church. She has not said she is saved but shows positive interest. Two Sundays ago she suggested she would accompany us to nearby street flea markets to distribute texts. Pray that she will soon be the firstfruits, if not already, of the work in dangerous Reynosa.
Alejandra is 16, and has been attending Sunday mornings with five younger siblings for the past six months. A few weeks ago we invited them and their mother for supper. During the evening the mother asked if we had decided if we were going to stay or leave. I told her we were committed to the work long term. Alejandra had a smile from the Atlantic to the Pacific as she instantly said, “That’s the answer I was hoping for.” And it is individuals like her for whom we are staying.
Some works are described as being small. It is just the one’s and two’s. The Rio Grande Valley work is smaller and slower yet! A married couple is needed to anchor the work long term. Believers are looking for guidance; the lost need salvation. There are about 4 million living within a 60 mile circle including the Mexico side of the river. Will you consider going? If you can’t be that person or couple, then please pray that the Lord will provide someone.