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Preaching paradise in the dump

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DANNY IVISON

Ellis County Press

MONTERREY, MEXICO - Bristol Baptist Church's mission team has learned over the last four years to be flexible. Flexibility was the name of the game for us on our last trip to Mexico, July 21-28. We held Vacation Bible School, preached, sang and distributed food and clothing in one of the most depressed areas in Monterrey.

Members of our team this year were: myself, Jackie Ivison, Sarah Ivison, Kevin Lewis, Gilbert Abalos and Barbara Green all of Bristol Baptist Church; Wally and Jan Bryant of Midway Baptist Church; and Frank Lopez, Burleson, who met us at the border in Laredo.

We departed Bristol at 6:10 p.m. on Friday evening and arrived in Monterrey at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning. 

Obstacles are part of a mission trip abroad and this trip was no exception. It took us about seven hours to cross the border. We spent $90 in so-called taxes to get our supplies and equipment across. We had to return to the second of three checkpoints to obtain a stamp for our trailer that officials had failed to give us.

We arrived in Monterrey tired and hungry.

After a short rest we met with Pastor Jorge of Siloe Baptist Church in Monterrey for a briefing on the area where we would be working.

Sunday we began a week of non-stop work. We met at Siloe for worship in the morning. In the afternoon we prepared our materials for VBS. At 6 p.m. we traveled out to the site and began visiting and cleaning up the area.

The team was surprised to find out the only place the government would allow us to hold our VBS and services was an area on the edge of the colony. This area was also the place where the people dumped their garbage. Armed with shovels, the combined forces of our team and Siloe church cleared an area large enough for our use. Some of us went walking through the area passing out flyers and inviting people to the services.

During this activity Pastor Jorge, Kevin Lewis, Gilbert Abalos and Frank Lopez went to seek a better place to meet. As Pastor Jorge talked to the maintenance man at the school, the other three prayed. The maintenance man consented to call the school principal for us. God answered our prayer and the principal allowed us to use the school grounds next to the dump for VBS. We would still have to preach the crusade in the dump but we had a great place to hold our VBS.

Monday morning we began VBS with about 120 kids and adults from the colony attending. This number would grow to 150 by weeks end.

Every morning at 9:00, VBS began with a parade of kids led by Frank Lopez singing and playing his guitar. As the parade wound its way through the streets more kids would join the parade.

There were four classes for children and one adult class. Each class had a time of Bible study, crafts, singing and refreshments each day. Siloe Baptist Church supplied the teachers for the Bible study classes and did an outstanding job.

There will be more about the trip in the next issue of the Ellis County Press.

More pictures and an audio journal of our trip can be seen and listened to on our website www.churchaliveministries.com.

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