Monday, March 19, 2012

Helping Hands Service Project

 One of the first great activities we participated in was a "Helping Hands Service Project." It was planned and arranged by several Stakes of the Church in this area to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the welfare program of the Church.  Some of the missionaries here were ask to help so Elder Choules was assigned to coordinate the Mission effort with the Stakes effort. The project was to clean up a "Colonia" or a neighborhood in Weslaco.
The neighborhood called Colonia Llano Grande was so run down and overgrown that the garbage trucks couldn't get down the alleys to pick up trash. Trash had just stacked up and was over flowing.  Years of neglect and limited resources had left this area in a mess.
The service project was held on Saturday, March 17th and about 600 members of the church and 60 missionaries participated. We all wore yellow " Helping Hands" T-shirts or vests.
We trimmed trees, bushes and weeds that were choking drainage ditches and alleyways.  We cleaned out trash, brush and junk from vacant lots and streets.  We helped repair houses by replacing new windows, making roof repairs, and built wheelchair ramps.
It looked like a sea of yellow as you looked up and down alleyways and streets.  Everyone came together to serve and in one morning the Colonia was transformed.
All in all we filled 20 of the huge garbage dumpsters with almost 100 tons of junk.  The church provided the volunteers and the county provided the dumpsters and trucks to haul everything away.
What a great experience! To see the Colonia at the beginning and then at the end was amazing.  One lady that lived there commented, I didn't expect this. I'm giving thanks to God. He is the one doing all of this.  What a profound statement.  We are just the Saviors hands to do his work.  We were so proud of the saints here and so impressed.  Everyone working so hard laughing and joking and enjoying being together in a great cause.
Our testimonies were strengthened so much.  It was a blessing to be involved.

President Chandler, Emily and Autumn greeted everyone and handed out gloves!

We found some strange things in the trash. This is an Alligator Gar fish.

So much trash. Where do we start?

All this from one alleyway.

Cleaning one of the alleyways.

Some of our sister missionaries.

We filled about 20 of these dumpsters.

We are working hard.  We were in charge of taking pictures for the Mission.

A sea of yellow working to clean an alleyway.

Here is our group of  Missionaries.

A job well done!

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