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Church members provide assistance, hope to Yucatan communities

Church members provide assistance, hope to Yucatan communities

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Church members provide assistance, hope to Yucatan communities

By Melanie Doran | Dec. 9, 2008

In October, five United Methodists spent a week working in the Yucatan area of Mexico with some of the poorest people living in those communities.

The team included the Rev. Carroll Phillips, the team’s leader and a retired United Methodist pastor working as an evangelist; the Rev Julie Stephens and Sandra Ruckman, both from Carrabelle United Methodist Church; Richard Larsen, the team's translator; and I, a member of Ellzey United Methodist Church.

Sandra Ruckman (left) of Carrabelle United Methodist Church visits with preschool children in Merida.

We fed a total of 1,400 children in the city of Merida. We visited schools and shared the Gospel and our testimonies. Hands were lifted at several of the schools when we asked how many wanted to accept Jesus Christ into their lives.

On one school visit, a teenager came to the fence and after hearing about testimonies of healing, requested, with tears in her eyes, for us to go to her home to pray for her sick asthmatic grandma. We did, and her grandmother could breathe again.

We distributed hundreds of hygiene bags containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, shampoo, combs, underwear and a toy. We made sandwiches in the mornings for the children and some of their parents. Some have only one meal a day so this was very welcomed.

Our host missionary had raised some goats, and he gave them to us to give away to poor families on behalf of the churches we represented. It was our hope that they would use them to raise more goats and sell them, using the funds to buy more food, or cook the goats to feed themselves and their neighbors. With no refrigeration, many must either smoke their food to preserve it or eat it until all is gone.

We also visited an AIDS care facility and prayed for the people there, two dying and paralyzed men, in particular. We anointed them with oil, and Rev. Carroll talked to them about Christ and His love.

We offered a healing service in “Arca de Noe” (Noah’s Ark) church in Ucu, and almost all present went to the front of the church to receive prayers from us. I was touched to tears when two young people told us they wanted to grow closer to God.

It was a great joy to be able to share God’s love with the people of these Yucatan communities.