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Southeast Texas is hot. Working in upper 90 degree temperatures, our volunteers installed floor joist and laid the floor sheathing. They also began constructing trusses for this home as well as the other home under construction.

A United Methodist volunteer group of 6 spent the week at house #1. The walls are up and it is ready for outside sheathing and trusses.

Wednesday afternoon was the first MCC educational workshop on immigration planned for weekly volunteers. Our crew returned to camp in time for a two o’clock start. Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, an MDS volunteer from KS, coordinated the event. Several local persons directly involved with Rio Grande Valley immigration programs interacted with us.

As a team building exercise, on Saturday our team visited Brazos Island also known as Brazos Santiago Island. It is a barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Texas south of the town of South Padre. On the return trip we explored the border along Rt 281 between Brownsville and Weslaco. On Sunday our weekly volunteer returned home to Maryland.

We have no weekly volunteers next week. Our long term volunteers hope to complete the building of roof trusses.

Photo caption: Photo back row left to right: Em Yoder, John Stutzman, Jay Finkbiner; front row: Fred Hershey, Larry Bucher, Don Yoder

 

Don Yoder, October 18 2021

 

VOLUNTEER REFLECTIONS ON CROSSING THE BORDER AND VISITING A REFUGEE CAMP IN REYNOSA MEXICO

I need to remind myself that I am a recipient of someone else’s desire to have a better life. Many times we heard “I want a better life for my children and or my family “. Because of not experiencing Their plight, I cannot understand what these people are fleeing from; whether it be inhumane practices, substandard living conditions, or whatever. I sensed that living in the crowded tent conditions hoping for asylum was more preferred to what was left behind.

Within MDS we say we are rebuilding hope in the lives of survivors: I ask myself, how can I help that process when the wait time for asylum can be as long as month’s to sometimes years.

I cringe to see some around the world using “immigration “ as a pawn to gain a means to an end. I conclude my best course of action is to pray God will heal and His justice will prevail.

 

Jay Finkbiner, McAllen TX Project Director, October 13 2021