Grace’s Team: 8 IUP students, 9 adults, and one 12 year old boy
Our team was greeted by Alberto and Luis, Caring Heart Ministry
staff members on Friday evening. They provided a power point
orientation describing the Caring Hearts Mexican Ministry.
Saturday, January 12 the Grace team visited their first work site,
organized 17, 40+ lb suitcases filled with tote backpacks, hats, socks,
soaps, clothing, and shoes. At 4:45 pm the team went with Alberto
to the Village Ministry mission to provide worship, praise Jesus
through songs and bless the people with Beans, Bibles, and treats.
The team attended the Sunday 10 am service at the church Pastor
Francisco preaches. The team gathered materials, prepared the area,
and made plans for their first work project; a roof for a local house in
Monday-Friday, 2-3 team members walked to the Soup Kitchen to
make a warm breakfast for the local children. The remaining team
members participated in their daily 8-8:30 devotions. After collecting
all the needed tools & materials from the Oasis workshop the team
walked to their project. The project moved along quickly, God blessed
us with a great team! The men finished the roof up in the afternoon
while the girls visited 3 shut-in families and the Women’s Rehab
Our team visited Shut-ins throughout the week: a family of 11 children
living on their own; a bedridden widow; a very ill mother with 5 boys; a
physically challenged grandma and her 4 grand kids; a 30+ year old
bedridden women that is not only coping with her painful illness but
recovering from finding her 13 year old daughter who was kidnapped,
drugged, and came back pregnant; a young women in a wheelchair,
supporting 2 children who creates pinatas for money. We were blessed
to be able to buy 5 of her pinatas for our Thursday evening picnic for
the Caring Hearts Staff & volunteers cookout. We were also able to fill
them with candy to share with the kids from the area attending the
Soup Kitchen’s Saturday morning block party, lunch, and games.
Our team built a Corn Hole game for Oasis. We left the building design
for the boys to build more games to sale or play with.
Team members worked daily on the 1 st , 2nd roof projects and/or went on
the various outreach ministry projects. On Wednesday, we went to the
Park at 1:30 to hand out sandwiches and drinks to the homeless and
transients seeking a place to rest. Alberto blessed many with his
short sermons, and words of encouragement.
The team attended the Wednesday 6:30 pm service. Pastor Francisco
mixes his English and his Spanish so all can enjoy his amazing
message. The congregations always walks around to greet us with
open arms, many hugs, and wonderful smiles. We may not always
know everything they are saying but we definitely feel God’s presence
when we are in the church.
Thursday’s picnic is usually one of our favorite activities. We cook for
the boys, the staff and their families. We play games, sing, cook
marshmallows and hot dogs over the fire. The corn hole game was very
popular Thursday night. Two of our College girls did a great job
painting a Sunset, desert scene on the game. One of our girls brought
4 hammocks, the kids spent a lot of time playing and giggling on them.
After the Oasis Boy’s ceiling was painted and the two roof projects
were finished, we were able to do various Outreach Projects on Friday.
We took sandwiches, treats, burritos, drinks, and donation in tote bags
to the Dump site to hand out after Alberto's message and a few
songs. After leaving the Dump, we all went to the Blind Center to
worship, sing & praise, and buy handmade items. Friday afternoon
was busy visiting more shut-ins. We took all the boys, Luis (our work
project manager), Fran (boy’s house mother), Angelica (finance
coordinator), and Pena (house assistant) to a local restaurant. All 34
of us laughed, ate way too much, and wished the night could go on
forever. The boys and 5 of our college kids went to youth group at the
church after our meal.
Saturday morning, we packed early so we could go to the 9-11 am Soup
Kitchen Block Party. Our group provided face painting, fishing for
ducks, bouncing balls, bowling, hoops, balloons, and many suitcases
full of clothing, shoes, socks, hats, and purses for the kids and families
to take home.
Saying good-bye to Oasis is never easy. Tears are shed, life-changing
memories are never forgotten, life-long friendships bless us as we
solemnly drive to Phoenix and fly back to the freezing temperatures in
Pittsburgh. Our hearts warm up as we go through our phones, looking
at the Oasis boys, the children we grew to love and the passionate
adults that take care of them and each other. Thank you Caring
Hearts Ministry for everything you are doing!!!
Grace UMC Team