The Colonias Project – in partnership with Texas A&M University we serve in Hidalgo County Colonias providing health education, coordination of health care services for pregnant women, and food to help address food insecurity in the Colonias. Our community partner Border Missions provides food for the families we serve.
We work alongside Promotoras de Salud/Community Health Workers from the University and from the Migrant Health Program. We are addressing health disparities and compassionately serve people who are hungry, oppressed, and poor.
Healthy Lifestyles of the Rio Grande Valley is a research project funded by PC(USA) to assess the effects of healthy lifestyles education and practices in adults with diabetes or an elevated Body Mass Index and at risk of developing diabetes. The US-Mexico border regions have some of the highest rates of diabetes and other medical conditions due to poor diet and lack of exercise. We addressed barriers to healthcare such as transportation, limited access due to clinic hours and cost of medications. The Diabetes & Healthy Lifestyles Program provides nutritional education and classes for healthy eating and an active lifestyle.
The second phase of our Healthy Lifestyles program includes gardening classes with a partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension program. At the completion of the classes’ participants receive a certificate and gardening tools and helped build garden beds for our community garden. We cultivate more than food; we are building lasting relationships with our community. Puentes is actively engage in the community and has formed a garden club.
Puentes de Cristo is a resource center for Hispanic ministries and assist with resources, ministry supplies and technical assistance to help expand their programs to actively engage in their community. We walk alongside them and assist with leadership training for the health education classes. We connect them with community partners and resources and meet with them quarterly to assess additional needs, share stories, and celebrate what God is doing in their ministry and out in the community.
Building a Healthy Temple – in partnership with the University of Texas in San Antonio and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. This program provides health education in congregations and free colon cancer screening for church members without health insurance or underinsured. Each congregation forms a health care ministry team that will organize monthly health sermons and events.
Puentes de Cristo Community Health Workers assist with health events and resources in English and Spanish to share with congregational members and their families to establish healthy practices at church and in their homes.
As a Matthew 25 organization we are called to welcome the stranger. Puentes de Cristo assist non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that serve migrants that remain in Mexico.
We participated in the annual Antorcha Guadalupana Pilgrimage of Remembrance in Falfurrias; Texas organized by the South Texas Human Rights Center. Puentes de Cristo has been a financial supporter of this organization and has helped coordinate public relations events. Donations of goods and services have been provided to Dulce Refugio Shelter in Matamoros, Resource Center Matamoros, Senda de Vida Migrant Shelter, and the Sidewalk School in Reynosa. We are an active partner with the Asylum Seeker Network of Support for the camp infrastructure at the Santa Rosa Matamoros Respite Migrant Camp. I am grateful for the multiple diverse opportunities to serve God and my neighbor as part of Puentes de Cristo. I give thanks to God for the partners of Puentes de Cristo who give of their resources to meet the needs of the southern Texas - Mexico border.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
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Puentes de Cristo is recognized as a Matthew 25 organization within Presbyterian Church (USA).
Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities.
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