Four months ago, a devastating tornado ripped through the city of Acuña, Mexico and hit with a ferocity that has not been witnessed in more than 100 years.
Baptists in both Texas and Mexico are gearing up to assist in recovery efforts for the city through "Acuña Rebuild." Partners include Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), First Baptist Church in Del Rio, First Baptist Church in Acuña, Texas Baptists River Ministry and Eagle Pass-based Mission Border Hope.
The six-second twister was a part of the same weather cell that impacted Houston, San Marcos and other Central Texas towns over Memorial Day weekend this year. The tornado that struck Acuña killed 13 people and injured over 200. It also destroyed approximately 400 homes.
TBDR will mobilize volunteers to assist with rebuilding efforts and with ministering to people at a new house church. Meanwhile, River Ministry will mobilize church groups and pastors along the Mexico border to be involved in Acuña Rebuild efforts.
Mission Border Hope will provide cinder concrete blocks for building and FBC Acuña will enlist families needing help and provide housing for Mexico volunteers. FBC Del Rio will provide housing for U.S. volunteers.
Marla Bearden, TBDR specialist, said the partnership between the organizations has been developing since the summer and is the beginning step to recovery for the city.
"We worked with Mission Border Hope this summer and they approached us with the idea of a partnership," she explained. "We are excited that it has come about. We plan to begin mobilizing volunteers around March of 2016."
A vision trip is scheduled for October 1-2 for pastors and church leaders to assist in making further plans to rebuild homes in Acuña and to minister to families in need. Lodging and accommodations for the trip will be provided by TBDR and River Ministry. For more information, visit texasbaptists.org/acuna."We would like to invite our Texas Baptist churches back to the River," Bearden said. "The violence has greatly subsided. With a passport in hand you can be the presence of Christ in Acuña, Mexico and make a significant difference in the lives of these who have lost so much."