Church group builds small houses, receives big appreciation

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 21, 2000

For 17 Natchez teenagers, a trip to Reynosa, Mexico, was an eye-opener. They weren’t going to Mexico on summer vacation; they were going to build houses. The houses they built will help provide shelter for six families living in Mexico.

The teenagers, from New Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church, were a part of a mission group which worked in Mexico July 2-8. For church pastor the Rev. Dennis C. Flach, this was his second mission from Natchez. &uot;We go to the mission field thinking we will unwrap this great present and give it to the people,&uot; Flach said. &uot;But we get to receive something from them that is more than we give them.&uot;

The mission group was directed by a Spanish Baptist church in Mexico, Flach said. &uot;The preacher there pointed out six families that needed shelter,&uot; he said.

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The group was responsible for building two of the six houses built during the week.

&uot;We were from the smallest church but we had the largest group there,&uot; Flach said. &uot;We learned how to build up our congregation.&uot;

Though the group was large, the size of the houses it built are small. The 12-foot-by-16-foot structures are the only shelter the families have, Flach said.

Though the houses are small the appreciation shown by the families was great, Flach said. &uot;They were very dignified in the way they received it,&uot; he said. &uot;There were some very touching moments.&uot;

The houses the teenagers built may not have been perfect, but they were built in some of the worst conditions imaginable, Flach said.

Those small houses may have been the only bright spot in the impoverished area of Reynosa. &uot;They lived in an area called ‘Colonia,’&uot; Flach said. &uot;Hunger was prevalent and they were severely undersheltered.&uot;

The lack of shelter was not the only problems facing the residents of Colonia, Flach said – no water, electricity or sewer services exist in the town.

&uot;The houses are little more than shells, but it is all they had,&uot; he said.