The Journey Continues: Mission Good Neighbors
My journey with the 10-week Mission Good Neighbors outreach at Redwood Baptist Church is over — June 4-Aug. 9.
Good Neighbors is like a traditional vacation Bible school in concept but greatly expanded to 5 days a week for 10 weeks. A typical day begins with the children arriving in the church van driven by Debbie Ruiz.
First stop is at the pavilion where they are served a nutritious lunch by San Marcos CISD employees Beatrice Gill, Martha Gutierrez, Maria de la Rosa and Reyna Rodriquez. A total of 1,355 meals were served during this year's Mission Good Neighbor.
The weekly menu:
- Monday- chicken nuggets
- Tuesday- sandwiches
- Wednesday- hamburgers
- Thursday- pizza
- Friday- cheese sticks
- An alternative meal is a peanut butter sandwich.
- Each meal includes milk, a vegetable and a fruit and there are no sugary desserts.
Next, and offered with a parent’s permission, is the reading program using American Bible Society’s classic Bible stories. Sixty-two children were enrolled in this program. Laura West and Rose Ann Bilodeau were the directors with Gary Strunk and Laura Villanueva assisting.
“It doesn’t get any better than telling kids about Jesus as they practice their reading skill,” one volunteer said.
Reading time is followed by a daily Bible story told by Elena Estrada, who along with her husband, Carlos, are summer missionaries from Chile. Phil Walker and Wanda McCoy also supported the program. Pastor Robert Rodriquez and Brother Michael Johnson are the church leaders.
Highlights: Dr. Fred Simmons, a retired dentist from Houston who moved to San Marcos in 1995, brought his companion dog, Clover.
“Clover and I are helping children understand the word of God through the eyes of a dog — Clover gives examples of trust, faithfulness, obedience, discipline, and love," Simmons said.
Especially meaningful to Debbie Ruiz, van driver and long-time worker, was the testimony of young Enriquez M., who remembered how this program had helped him to grow up.
Abner Pina, 19, a past participant of the Good Neighbors program, stopped in to inform us that he had volunteered for the United States Army with a departure date of Aug. 26 for Infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia. I thought to myself, Service to the nation is an honorable calling, God take care of him on this new journey.
Bookbags were handmade by volunteer LaDean Williamson, a member of First Baptist Church, to hold the gift books awarded Friday.
Some day when these children grow up and drive down Redwood Road, they will see the church and say to themselves, “That’s where I learned about Jesus.”
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6