December 8th, 2010 at 9:30 am
LEVELLAND – When Pastor Brian Hill heard more than 300 people were being forced from their homes by Mexican drug cartels fighting for control over a Mexico border city, he felt compelled to help. When he helped buy and deliver food to a collection point, the refugees of Cuidad Mier, Tamps., Mexico were on his mind.
Weeks later, they were still in the heart of First Baptist Church’s minister of education.
“I knew first-hand and when I came back, I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” he said.
Wanting to do more for the former residents of Ciudad Mier, he asked other church staff members to consider doing something with him. They agreed, wanting to send Christmas presents for each of the children temporarily staying in Miguel Aleman.
But the task was bigger than they could accomplish alone. A Buckner International staff member along the border made some calls and discovered more than 100 children ages three-10 were pushed out of Cuidad Mier.
First Baptist Church members joined the effort, putting together care boxes for each of the children. The containers included school supplies such as pencils, pens and books; hygiene supplies like a comb, bar of soap and a washcloth; and other items like small toys, candy and a ball.
Hill acknowledges the gifts are not the most practical supplies the children could receive, but he hopes they receive the message behind them.
“Our prayer would be that those kids know God loves them, that people are praying for them, that people care about them,” Hill said.
On Nov. 5, more than 300 people evacuated Cuidad Mere on the eve of fighting breaking out between rival drug cartels. The refugees began living in a Lion’s Club and in a plaza in Miguel Aleman. Texas Baptists churches poured more than four tons of relief into the area and the Baptist General Convention of Texas also responded with financial support for aid.
Miguel Aleman residents have opened up their homes, taking in the majority of the refugees, but more than 100 remained in the Lion’s Club until Dec. 4 when the shelter was closed after Mexican officials secured Cuidad Mier and people could return to their homes.
Hill said his congregation continues to watch the situation evolve and will seek to provide aid if needed.
“We’re continuing to monitor it,” he said.