Service in Reynosa, MX

Sponsored by JCU's Center for Service and Social Action

Pictures of Pilar de Esperanza

We had a great time in Jan. 2009 and look forward to seeing you in January 2010!



09-10 Dates:  January 7 - January 16, 2010 (includes a one-day retreat prior to departure)

08-09 Dates:  Saturday, January 3 - Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cost:  $1300 - Plus cost of passport (if participant does not have one), immunizations, and spending money for travel/souvenirs

Immersion Site:
Mexico is a beautiful country with a rich culture and breathtaking scenery, but it also faces some very significant problems.  Here are some interesting statistics:

  • The average yearly income of a Mexican person is 4 times less than a person from the United States.  The average household income is $7900 per year.  The official unemployment rate is 3.2%, but the percentage of people who are underemployed is probably closer to 25%.
  • 16% of Mexican children (ages 5-14) work for a living.
  • Less that 30% of Mexicans will graduate from high school.
  • There are 62 phones per 100 people and only 17% are internet users.

Our specific destination is the orphanage, Pilar De Esperanza, in Reynosa, Mexico.  Reynosa is just across the border from McAllen, Texas.  We will fly to McAllen and take rented vans to the orphanage.  The orphanage is home to approximately 35 children and is run by a group of Mexican Christians who have dedicated their lives to this work.  The orphanage was founded in 1997 and they have been steadily building on their property so that they can serve more and more children.  They constantly struggle with having enough resources to support themselves, but they believe that God will faithfully supply all of their needs.

Partner Organization:
We are traveling to Mexico with the assistance of Covenant Merge Ministries. Merge Ministries has been in existence for over a decade and they have assisted thousands of people from the United States in their service travel to Latin America. They provide facilitators, translators, food preparation, tools, pre-trip planning and everything else we need for a good trip.

Our group will be doing some sort of construction or renovation work at the orphanage.  This labor is usually hot and dirty.  In previous years, groups have moved piles of dirt with wheelbarrows, constructed ribar forms, dug trenches, worked on repairing PVC pipelines around the property, and mixed cement with shovels.  Because we are unskilled laborers, the work tends to be non-glamorous.  However, the projects are always very important to the orphanage and our group will provide labor that would not otherwise be affordable.

In addition to physical labor, we will be leading various activities for the orphanage and other local children.  These activities may include games, crafts, singing, an Olympics, and special outings to the pool or movie theater.  It is important that you are willing to share yourself with the people that we will encounter.  Relationships are, by far, the most important thing that we are building at Pilar De Esperanza.

We will be living at the orphanage during our time in Reynosa and will need to provide our own sleeping mats and bedding.  There are several bathrooms and showers available to us.  By our standards, these facilities are rudimentary and somewhat difficult to use.  In Mexico, toilet paper cannot be flushed down the toilet but must be disposed of in the trash cans that are provided.  An American style breakfast will be served in the morning; sandwiches, vegetables, and other items will be provided for lunch; and an authentic Mexican dinner will be cooked every evening by a local cook.

Thankfully, during the time of year that we will visit Reynosa, the weather should be very pleasant.  During the day, you can expect the temperature to be around 70° F.  At night, temperatures can dip below 50º F.  The region gets very little rainfall during this part of the year.

One of the days will be designated as our “day off” and we will have the opportunity to go shopping.  You can buy a wide variety of clothing, jewelry, art objects, and vanilla for a very low price.  We may also make the trip to Monterrey, a bustling city 2 hours west of Reynosa that is home to thriving industries and over 5 million people.