Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mission to the Rio-Grande Valley, Texas

If you want to read this as a Google doc instead click here.

This January I have the opportunity to go on a short-term missions trip in the Rio-Grande Valley, Texas January 11-16. The Rio Grande Valley lies on the border of the United States and Mexico. This area of The Valley is extremely different from any other area of Texas and is also distinct from the rest of the border regions along Mexico. The region is somewhat isolated from other metropolitan area of Texas. It is 236 miles south of San Antonio and 152 south of Corpus Christi. The Rio Grande Valley region's unemployment rate is 12.0%, which is almost 6% above the state rate of 6.2%. The per capita income in the Rio Grande Valley region is $9,337, which is less than half the state per capita income of $19,617. With high unemployment and low per capita income, it is not surprising that the region's poverty rate is 35.7%, more than double the state's poverty rate of 15.4%.  
(  Given the number of migrant workers in the area, the percentage of the population 25 and older with a high school diploma or equivalent is guessed to be less that 50%. Spanish is the most common spoken language (according to 2000 US Census) it is the primary language in approximately 75% of the households. There is a very large population of people under the age of 25 which present great challenges, yet opportunities for change and growth in the area. The predominant "religion" declared by those in this region are religions other than Evangelical Christianity.

Our mission team, coordinated through Psalm 67 Missions Network, will seek to accomplish the following goals. We first and foremost will be working under the authority and direction of the local congregation, seeking to submit ourselves as servants in every way. Our current plans include to assist them with minor construction detail/cleaning, of their facilities. Much of this congregation is over the age of 65 (approximately 10 people). The other part of their congregation is under the age of 12 (approximately 30 people). In order to assist all of the members, we have been asked to mentor/teach those that have regular teaching responsibilities and to "join with them" in leading a Vacation Bible School for their children and as an outreach to their community. We will also seek to serve the congregation in visiting families and sharing the Gospel both in groups and individually. Some member of our team will be delivering books and resources to Pastors inside the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. These book include Spanish-language copies of "The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan and "Desiring God" by John Piper. Member of our team will also have the opportunity to visit a missionary language school/seminary. This will allow this trip to also serve as a "visionary" journey for those who are considering future opportunities for work among those who speak Spanish.

Would you, your small group, congregation, or Sunday School class be willing to partner with us? We are needing those to partner with us in prayer that we might use ever moment to serve and not be served. We desire to live and speak the Gospel before our brothers and sister with whom we will minister as well as to their community in a demonstration of the power of the Gospel. The cost per person to go is $325.00. Any donations beyond this level, unless otherwise indicated, will assist the group as a whole in purchasing additional supplies, or with team members who have not raised their support. Should you request, you can view the accounting of the trip upon our return. All donations for the trip can be made out to Psalm 67 Missions Network "January 2012 Rio Grande Valley Mission". You can donate by cash, check, credit card, or paypal. For information of how to do this, please contact Debbie Ferrell as or 314-602-3827.

You can follow our team and receive updates by "liking the Psalm 67 Missions Network page on Facebook, "following" us on Twitter or adding us to your circle on "Google+". Thank you for your prayerful support and consideration!

In Christ,

Billy Jackson

P.S. Look for pictures and video upon my return! (maybe sooner!)

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