Day 1 We are off on our Virtual Mission Journey! Today, we were commissioned for service by Bishop Joel Martinez.
Our day started with a devotion centered on Mark 6:37a. “37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” Our challenge was to be aware of where we saw God today? How did we feed the people? How have we been fed?
Nan McCurdy shared an overview of GYTTE. The project was founded in 1977 to address the needs of impoverished farmers with the purpose of strengthening the capabilities of marginalized communities to meet basic needs.
The team was led visited some tourist sites by Ivonne. We learned about the city of Puebla, its architecture, crafts, and food. It is indeed a beautiful place!
Next, Clara showed us Rural Reality, the agriculture piece of GYTTE. Teams serving here assist with cutting and gathering firewood, watering plants, and caring for livestock.
Small group discussions helped us realize the impact of NAFTA on this region of the world.
The fun fact for today was that the Methodist Church of Mexico is an autonomous church and a concordat church. It has six annual conferences with 400 pastors and approximately 50,000 members.
Day 2 of our Virtual Mission with Give Ye Them to Eat began with devotions and Psalm 107:8-9 “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. 9 For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.”
Miguel shared the major part of the Community Development projects at GYTTE. Teams work alongside the homeowner and others to build a house, complete with mud stove and composting toilet. The houses are built on a rock foundation with walls built of bales of straw, a layer of mud and straw, followed by plaster. This keeps the homes cool during the heat of the day and warm in the cool winter months.
The community is taught how to maintain better nutrition and increase family income through Agriculture Projects. Soil and water conservation is a key aspect. Sustainable methods of farming, including composting and square-foot gardening techniques, are taught to the people of the community. In addition, the animals raised at GYTTE help the community prevent hunger. The farm is home to goats, sheep, and chickens.
The Construction Team shared data about composting toilets. These toilets can save 6,600 gallons of water per year. The team was challenged to look at local water sources and consider:
Where does your water come from? What is the quality of your water? What is the #1 concern of the water department?
Breakout groups discussed readings for the day with questions around agricultural exports, environmental racism, and the effect of remittances, especially now in the climate of COVID-19, and the presence of God in the midst of all the challenges facing the people of Mexico.
Did you know that Mexico has 56 native tribes and cultures? There are 89 native languages in addition to Spanish.
Day 3 Today was our last day on our Virtual Mission to GYTTE! We started out with our devotion team leading us in a devotion for the book “Meeting God in the Ruins” focusing on 2 Peter 3:11-13 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people out to be? You out to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in that heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and earth, where the righteousness dwells.”
The first agenda of the day was to learn from our Meals Group about the food that we would have been eating if we were there. The group shared delicious recipes, and one of the team members created a few recipes with a fusion of Mexican and Filipino flare, all while using ingredients that are readily available in Mexico. Milton gave us a recipe using Mole, and Mole has a rich history in Puebla, and had we actually been in Puebla we would have gone to experience Mole in an authentic restaurant on our last night!
Next up, Clara gave us an overview of the Community and Family Health Program. This program trains women from the age of 20-60 to meet health needs in the community. They work as volunteers, and they learn about treating illnesses in their early stages so that they can be treated more easily. There are 3 courses that these women take: Basic, Intermediate, and Advance. Please see the pictures below to see what is taught in each course. They have regional meeting where the women come together to report their service, learn new techniques, and learn new medical information. We also learned that medical teams teach patients who are waiting in line to meet with the doctor important medical and hygiene information.
Then Ivonne spoke to us about Church and Faith Development Programs. The objective of these programs is to be supportive of the spiritual growth of Methodist congregations through training events for laity and clergy. This is done with retreats and camp experiences for children, youth and adults, production and distribution of Christian Education Materials, and God centered devotions for all workshops and training events. Youth can come to learn crafts so that they can have an income, the materials developed for distribution are sold at subsidized prices so that churches are able to purchase and use them, and the events are held at the Tree of Life Center. The youth are also taught that it is our responsibility as Christians to take care of the world God gave us.
Next up was our reading group breakout sessions. Each group was given questions to discuss about migration and jobs, US policies towards undocumented migrants, what does our faith say about low wage jobs, and what is our kingdom vision of what justice looks like for the US and Mexico?
Finally our Health/Safety team gave us some information about what to do to prepare to go on a mission to Mexico and some health facts about Mexico. We need to make sure we get our travel immunizations and see our health care provider well before we leave and check our medicine cabinets to see what we have and what we might need to take with us. Then we learned that 76% of Mexicans live in urban areas and 24% leave in rural areas and health care is primarily available in the urban areas. Many clinics know how the treatments for health issues but don’t have the proper medication in their clinics. The average age of men is 74 and women is 72 in Mexico.
Fun Fact: The largest pyramid in the world is in Cholula, Mexico and measures 404 square meters.