The Church Built a Classroom

By Tammy Kuntz*

A United Methodist Volunteer in Mission (UMVIM) team from East Ohio traveled to Manos Juntas in Rio Bravo, Mexico Dec. 28, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015.

Our team expected to help teach Vacation Bible School. After settling in at the mission site, Willie and Julian explained there had been a change of plans – the team would do work on a new classroom at a preschool.

We started work Monday morning. The structure of the classroom was already up, so our job was to put on the roof, gables, eaves, stucco, inside and out, and install the windows. We assisted Julian and Justo, the same builders we worked with the year before, with painting, measuring and cutting, nailing, and stuccoing to complete the classroom.

The request was made to us to bring socks and sweatshirts for the children of the community. Our congregations donated over 300 pairs of socks and 30 sweatshirts. The principal had some students come to the school and we distributed these things to the children. We learned that the school receives no funding from the government beyond teacher’s salaries. There were 17 children waiting for this classroom to be finished. They hoped to start school the next week.

New Year’s Eve in Mexico is celebrated with fireworks. From the mission site, fireworks could be seen all over the city. We were treated to dinner with Julian’s family. It was a joy to celebrate the New Year with friends.

This year, we worked through the rain. The windows were not delivered and the classroom was as complete as possible. The Manos Juntas builders would install the windows when they arrived. The building was basically ready for students.

This was another great mission journey. Each year, the people of Rio Bravo bless us with their caring and their compassion for us as we open ourselves to the culture and work alongside them to create a better place for God’s mission on earth.        

The next mission journeys to Manos Juntas are scheduled for Oct. 11-17, 2015 (medical) and Dec. 27-Jan 2 (construction).

For more information, please e-mail Tammy Kuntz at eoumvim@gmail.com.

*Tammy Kuntz is chair of the EOC United Methodist Volunteer in Missions Committee.