Story and photos by John Hall
PEÑITAS, Texas – For decades, the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas (Convencíon) has shared the gospel through the Rio Grande Valley. This year through Buckner International, it’s making an added physical impact for one family by building a house.
The effort is a dream come true, said Convencíon President Bea Mesquias, who has ministered in the Valley since the 1980s. Convencíon is seeking ways to expand its ministry throughout the year, and the home build through Buckner is an ideal opportunity.
“We’ve never done a big project like this,” she said. “We started dreaming about what we could do apart from meeting at Convencíon and having a good program. Through Buckner, we can come and build something here in the colonias for a family in need.”
In an effort that harkens back to the earliest days of R.C. Buckner’s ministry, churches throughout Texas donated money through Convencíon for the effort, and teams of volunteers provided the labor. People were excited by the opportunity to make a lasting tangible difference in the lives of a family.
“Casa Convencion is a truly historic effort for our missions community,” said Javier Perez, manager of Buckner National Missions. “Not only is a family’s life being transformed, but a whole new movement is rising. This is a movement of hope for the world in which Christian organizations understand that kingdom work can only happen when we put our strengths and resources together. This is what casa Convencion means for Buckner National Missions. We are excited because a kingdom-minded collaboration is gaining momentum.”
The Rosales family – Erasmo Sr., Maria and their two sons Romero and Erasmo Jr. – have been working with the Buckner Family Hope Center in Peñitas for three years. Maria is learning to speak English as well as gain computer and sewing skills to help support her family. The children are involved in the Hope Center’s youth leadership efforts. Erasmo Sr. and Maria are working through a financial skills class now.
Their hard work has helped them grow as a family to the point where they are volunteering through the Hope Center’s community events. They are helping Buckner assist people around them.
Still, a major hurdle remains for family members – their house. It’s constructed largely of medium density fiberboard, which allows moisture to seep through. It turns to mush when it rains and provides little insulation in the winter.
The Convencíon-Buckner house will provide a safe place for the family. Erasmo Sr. is helping construct the house. The children are excited about the project. They’re telling all their friends about their new home. Hope permeates the air.
“The house will make our lives better,” Erasmo Sr. said. “It will change our lives completely.”
Construction is simply the beginning of Convencíon ministry with this family. Volunteers hosted a Vacation Bible School during one weekend of the build, which empowered people to share the gospel. Maria communicated how she came to faith in Christ and how God has blessed her family. Mesquias believes the Rosales family will continue to share its testimony with those around them. That will send waves of hope throughout Peñitas.
“We want to continue ministering with Buckner with this family,” she said. “Whatever we can do to help them have a better life, they will turn around and help others.”
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