Church plans trip for youth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The Sunday morning worship service at First Presbyterian Church was devoted to a presentation with slide show and testimonies from adults and youth who attended the church’s weeklong mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico, last June. The mission of the trip was

to build a cinder-block house for a family living in that city in cooperation with Faith Ministries and the Presbyterian church in Reynosa.

A similar trip is planned for June 6-13.

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The presentation on last year’s trip occupied the whole service and included several of the six adults who went with the youth group, and 11 of the youth who made the trip. Two of the youth who are in college this year could not be present.

Last year’s itinerary included travel from Selma to Birmingham, Birmingham to Houston, then to McAllen in the Valley of Texas on the border with Mexico, with the final destination being Reynosa. Tracey Cothran, an adult leader who went on the trip and who made opening remarks said, &uot;We saw things in Reynosa (living conditions) that I had only seen on television.&uot; She continued, &uot;We ate, worked, sang songs, learned new skills such as mixing mortar by hand, laying cinder blocks, speaking Spanish &045; a little, she laughed &045; but mostly what it means to be a Christian. God was there as we shared life and ministry with the people whom we were serving. The kids were absolutely wonderful. It was a very heartfelt thing to see what God can do (through these youth). We take for granted in the United States so many things. We put (our work) in God’s hands and

watched what God did.&uot;

Three youth presented a children’s sermon to a couple dozen children who gathered at the front of the sanctuary where a simulated work site had been set up.

The basic message to the children was, &uot;What we did does not make a big difference in the world, but it made a world of difference to those who were helped.&uot;

The other youth who participated in the presentation summarized each day of the trip by the reading of a Scripture and then telling what happened.

Oft repeated was the way that the unique gifts of each person in the group were needed and used in completing the cinder-block house for a family with a mother &045; Abuela &045;

and six children who had been waiting for such a home for 20 years &045; and their joy at finally having it.

The father had left the family a number of years before because of the different denominational affiliation of the mother.

Part of the requirement for having one’s home built through the program is to help build other homes in the neighborhood, which this family had done.

One of the leaders, Mike Granthum, talked about the details of constructing a simple cinder-block house with a concrete floor, and about the dedication of the new home on the final day, including the placement of a cross on the front of the house with the names of those who had participated in the building.

All of the houses built through the program in the neighborhood, he said, have a cross on the front.

Near the end of the presentation, all those present in the sanctuary who had participated in previous mission trips to Mexico were invited to come forward, and about 20 adults and youth gathered.

Dick Morthland, who also accompanied the youth as an adult volunteer, offered the morning prayer and the benediction from Hebrews 11:1, which was a verse on the wall of the Reynosa church.

Signup for the June 2004 trip began Sunday morning at the church and will continue through Feb. 29. A $50 deposit is required.

For further information call the church office at (334) 872-3449.