A team of 19 missionaries, including volunteers from Portage Community Chapel in Ravenna, spent the week of July 30 to Aug. 4 ministering in Juarez, Mexico.
For the past 18 years, Portage Community Chapel, located on S.R. 14 in Ravenna, has helped several organizations in Mexico that are working in the lives of Mexican youths. The church's team spent time in Juarez, which is just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.
This year, the team worked with missionaries Mark and Perla Livengood, Ken and Esmeralda Hanna, and first-time missionaries Joe and Erin Suttle, in their ministry, Onnemi (meaning "He is risen").
In 2010, the team visited with Mr. Renteria and his family. The chapel has been praying for Mr. Renteria, who lost his wife and daughter within a few months of each other and then came down with Guillain-Barré Syndrome -- a rare, virus-caused disorder that affects the nervous system. It can take up to a year to recover from the temporary paralysis that is the main symptom of this syndrome.
Upon returning this year, they found Mr. Renteria walking and able to take care of himself. A small house was built for him, because he donated his original home. It has been converted into a community center with a small room for the neighboring children to have access to computers for their school work.
The team continued this project with donations of a stove, windows, doors, locks and dry wall for the already constructed large room for gatherings. Ditches were dug to bury electrical wires for the community center and for Mr. Renteria's home.
Vacation Bible School was conducted throughout the week and ended with a carnival-festival celebration for almost 100 families. The team stayed in the large home in El Paso of a donor with pool and accommodations. This was greatly appreciated, due to high temperatures of 99 to 102 degrees.