Partner:The UMC, Texas Annual Conference
Describe the need affecting the community.
The US/Mexico border area is unique. We are in one of the poorest areas of the U.S. and the poverty level along the border in Mexico is astounding. In the area of south Texas about 1/3 of the population live in poverty and lack health insurance. The "colonias " of the Texas-Mexico border may lack some of the most basic living necessities, such as potable water and sewer systems, electricity, paved roads, and safe and sanitary housing. While people living in poverty in Mexico live in another context dire of poverty. Both lack proper healthcare. Many lack basic living supplies. Families do not have the money to purchase school supplies for their children, uniforms or proper clothing for them to wear. Single parent families are prevalent in our area adding to the issues. Prenatal care is lacking in many areas therefore children are born with health issues. Cooking in the homes in Mexico is often done with coal or wood and the smoke produced causes breathing issues. All along the border, poor nutrition plagues our communities because of lack of nutritional education and extreme poverty levels. This results in health problems plaguing both adults and NOW children in our communities with obesity, diabetes, hypertension being the number one health problems. In each area of the border we deal with ongoing substantial immigrant/refugee issues in different ways, and trying to find ways to effectively address these needs. In the border area of South Texas migrant farm workers live in the colonias and rural areas. Migrant children leave school in April or May, before school is out and travel north with their families, coming back to Texas after school has started. Thus causing lapses in education, coupling with other issues these families face. Many families living in the South Texas border area are undocumented, living in fear and in extreme poverty. And in our churches, so often we do not know our neighbor or those coming to join us in mission in our area. Cultures are different. Our own denominational churches do not know each other or anything about each others mission and ministries. Certainly, not our brothers and sisters across the border. Many who come to our area to serve do not know about where they are coming, in what context we live, and how to best help. In January 2015, the former Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences united into the Rio Texas Conference of the UMC. We are now one Conference working together, learning the mission field in which we both exist.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
We will: 1) Continue to strengthen partnerships and relationships focusing on model the "In Mission Together-50/50 Partnership" method. 2) Establish a tool that can be used to help develop new mission and ministry with the asset based community development method. 3) Cultivate creative ways for ministries to become self-sustainable. 4) Continue to assist in ministries and strengthening ministries for immigrant and refugee assistance. 5) Work toward strengthening the community ministries in areas that the communities see a need. 6) Establish more relationships with others as they come to join us in our mission field from the north. 7) Work on better avenues of communication with all. 8) Work in "clusters" in the area represented by the MBFC in the Texas-Mexico border area so that these areas can form stronger relationships and get to know each other better. (i.e. Brownsville, TX/Matamoros, MX area churches). 9) Continue to stress with the UMVIM teams coming to the area both construction, medical and other to partner with our churches in our mission field, so that relationships are built and our work can continues. 10) Continue to host "tours" of our area so others can learn about the border area we live in and the gifts the people offer and the issues we face. 11) Host annual Joint Worship Services and continue to spread God's word.
Describe the primary goal of the project.
Coordinate existing ministries among the border Districts of the Rio Texas Conference of the UMC and the Eastern Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico and assist in the development of new ministries as the need arises, promoting friendship and fellowship, evangelism and mission.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project.
Healthy children and families. Churches connected in their communities and those that come to serve, serving together to meet each others needs. Strong developing relations between border churches and those coming to serve. Our churches sharing their gifts in new, creative and concrete ways with those coming to serve. We would also like to see the development of more self-sustaining mission and ministries that recognize the importance of moving from mission and ministries that promote dependency to ones that promote independency and self-esteem. We hope to encourage our churches and ministries to evaluate their current and developing ministries, moving to justice related ministries as possible. We will encourage the focus to be not so much on charity missions/ministries, perhaps tweaking ways we have "done" mission in the past.
Budget and Financial Information
Annual Advance Financial Goal
Local Financial Support
Border Area Mission Coordinator
Border Area Mission Coordinator Expenses (including office, travel, meetings, etc.)
Educational - Scholarships, backpacks & supplies, teacher assistance, job training
Bibles, Literature, Curriculum
Local pastoral support for new mission sites/community building
Joint Worship Service
Partnering Ministries UMVIM/VIM between Conferences