Texas Baptists partner with Send Relief to launch ministry center in Laredo

by Texas Baptists Communications on September 7, 2022 in News

A new ministry center will open in Laredo, TX, as part of a partnership between Texas Baptists River Ministry and Send Relief. The center will serve Laredo as well as the wider Rio Grande Valley area by connecting churches to ministry opportunities on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The goal of this center is to serve families of all shapes and sizes in the Rio Grande Valley. We want to engage the local churches in impactful ministry for their community,” Josue Valerio, director of the Texas Baptists Center for Missional Engagement, explained. “We are so excited to be working with [Send Relief] on this project. They are bringing a lot of knowledge and expertise.”

The Texas Baptists River Ministry has been working in the Rio Grande Valley for 55 years, connecting churches in Texas to projects along the Texas-Mexico border and supporting 15 missionaries who work in cities on both sides of the border. Valerio believes River Ministry’s knowledge and connections in the Valley coupled with Send Relief’s national network and resources will be a powerful tool to reach even more people in the area.

Send Relief, a collaborative compassion ministry of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB), has opened 19 other ministry centers across North America and Puerto Rico, each designed to meet the specific needs in their local area while training churches to replicate the ministry in their own communities. This will be Send Relief’s first center to open in Texas.

Laredo is home to one of the oldest border crossings in America’s history and serves as the United States’ largest land-based entry point. In addition to its over 260,000 residents, the city sees millions of vehicles crossing the Texas-Mexico border each year. Because of this, Laredo is a unique melting pot of a city that blends the cultures of the U.S. and Mexico.

Josh Benton, vice president of North American ministry at Send Relief, is also excited about the launch of the Laredo Ministry Center.

“Send Relief is grateful to be partnering in Laredo with the Texas Baptist River Ministry,” Benton shared. “Our ministry centers serve in communities all over North America by meeting physical and spiritual needs in Jesus’ name, while also offering compassion ministry training for churches and volunteer mission teams. Because of its proximity to the border, the Laredo ministry center is in a prime location to mobilize churches to serve vulnerable families there.”

The ministry center will be led by Director Osvaldo Lerma, a former Texas Baptists River Ministry missionary. Lerma has deep ministry roots in the area and is excited to see how God will use the center to further His work. He emphasized building connections with the local churches and equipping the churches to carry out compassion ministry in their communities.

“We are here to strengthen local churches, encourage local pastors and provide support to the communities in need,” Lerma said. “When we put all of that together, we will be helping churches advance the Great Commission, meet needs and change lives.”

Send Relief will offer mission trip opportunities for churches across the country to serve in Laredo in the coming year. You can find more information about these upcoming opportunities here.

Lerma asked for prayer for the center as it launches.

“Pray that this center will have a big impact and that many lives will be touched,” he said.

For more information about the ministry center, clickhere.

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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