A journey with your Mary Hill Davis Offering® dollars to the Valley

by Meredith Rose on July 27, 2021 in River Ministry

Have you ever wondered, “If I made a donation to the Mary Hill Davis Offering, where would it go? What would it do?”

Take a moment to go on a journey with your dollars to the Rio Grande Valley. You’ll see how your gift might impact the lives of countless people on the Texas-Mexico border through Texas Baptists River Ministry and Mexico Missions.

Guiding this journey is Vanessa Quintanilla-Lerma, a River Ministry missionary located in McAllen, TX, who has been ministering with local churches and serving along the border since 2001.

“Working with River Ministry is such a blessing,” said Lerma. “Our goal is to be a support group for people and demonstrate God's love in everything we do. The Mary Hill Davis Offering supports this work.”

Ministry across the Valley

When you give to the Mary Hill Davis Offering®, your gift could go to support Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) or church missions work. River Ministry partners with BSMs and churches both locally and across the state to mobilize people to serve those in need of the Gospel on the Texas-Mexico border.

“This spring break, students from a Christian high school from Kansas came here and we ministered with them all week. We were able to visit homes and pray with families in need,” Lerma said. “We also planted vegetable gardens, and provided food through our drive-through hunger relief ministry. Several students from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley BSM also came alongside us one day to provide a block party to reach families in our community.”

Your gift might also help strengthen churches or care for pastors who are working to bring the good news of Christ to the more than 1.3 million people who call the Valley home. Through your gifts, River Ministry provides church health resources, ministry training and financial support to pastors on the border.

“These days, part of ministry is reconnecting with churches that are reopening after COVID-19. We come alongside and assist churches, either by equipping or by providing resources,” said Lerma.

“Ministry also continues to look like caring for pastors who have been hit hard during the pandemic,” she said. “We were recently able to provide several gift cards to pastors and their families. One family in particular was struggling to make ends meet and had to move in with their parents. The retired couple was trying to take care of their kids, and we were able to come in and provide gift cards to bless them. Since then, they have accepted Christ, joined a church, and we continue to do discipleship.”

Reaching the world through the Valley

When you give to the Offering, your dollars might also impact the lives of immigrant families through immigration relief ministry. Since 2014, River Ministry has worked to care for both the physical and spiritual needs of refugees who come across the border with little more than the clothes on their backs.

“Immigration ministry has been big this year,” said Lerma. “We have churches that are coming and being Jesus' hands and feet through this ministry. They might not speak the language, but they understand there is someone who needs to be cared for and loved. Someone who needs to see Jesus and feel dignity and be treated like a human being.”

“We’re the welcoming committee for these families. When we provide food for them to eat or a hygiene kit for them to get clean, we are planting important seeds. One day they will think back on what happened in their journey to this country. They might not remember me, but they will remember that I represented the Lord. That might make them seek a church and fellow Christians, because they will remember that we were there loving and caring for them,” Lerma said.

Your gift might also travel across the border into Mexico, where River Ministry is partnering with Baylor Scott & White to provide telemedicine and virtual clinics for immigrant families on that side of the border. When we care for the physical health of families, Lerma explained, they become more receptive to the Gospel.

When you give to the Offering, your dollars might also go to support missionaries like Lerma who are working to build connections, provide resources and spread the Gospel every day in the Valley.

“Your gifts are a blessing to me and my family. And they bless other missionaries who are ministering every day in the field,” said Lerma. “You might not be able to go, but you can support those who can and who are already here.”

All of these things and more are provided by River Ministry through your gifts to the Mary Hill Davis Offering®.

“River Ministry is blessed by this offering,” said Mario Gonzalez, director of River Ministry and Mexico Missions. “Because you give, we can walk the extra mile with missionaries and churches on both sides of the border as they minister to people in need.”

The Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions® is collected by the WMU of Texas. River Ministry is one of the many recipients of this offering. To continue the journey and see how your dollars impact Baptist missions across the state, visit iamtexasmissions.org.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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Read more articles in: River Ministry, Missional Engagement, Mary Hill Davis Offering, WMU of Texas