This summer marked the return of the Feeding Those Who Feed Us ministry outreach events at migrant centers throughout California in nearly two years due to COVID-19.
With 26 centers throughout the state, The Madera Center was the sixth to celebrate the return of this ministry August 13. Outreach events at other centers will extend into September for each of the locations. Residents of the Pomona Ranch Housing Center and local volunteers from various churches, faiths and child evangelism groups celebrated the word of God in a variety of ways including an evangelism rally, plates of tacos and children’s activities. The celebration ended with the distribution of groceries, backpacks and a New Testament to nearly 60 families that call this center home.
Pastor Mansel Trimble from Golden Valley Baptist Church of Madera noted, “It’s a privilege to come out here and share Jesus with them.” Having been involved with this event for the last 15 years, Trimble has seen many families and individuals begin their relationship with the Lord through these events.
Maria Garcia, a volunteer with the Good News Club and member of Community Bible Church in Madera since 2019, shared, “The children’s activities have been going on throughout the week. Working with the kids and talking about Jesus and the impact He can have on their lives has really been special for me.”
Lucero Valdez, a resident of the center, has attended this event for more than six years.
“From May to November, I call this place home,” he said. “The rest of the year I go back with my family to Coachella Valley. The temperatures there are much hotter than they are here. Life is not always easy but having my faith in Jesus, we know He is watching over us.”
Another resident, Miguel Rebollar, shared, “ I’ve been coming to this center for 20 years. Nights like these, seeing my neighbors getting to know our God, [are] good.”
Lily Sanchez, wife of CSBC Migrant Ministries leader Oscar Sanchez, went to apartments, knocked on doors and invited residents to come out for the festivities. She also encouraged children to get involved with the activities that were taking place.
Pastor Ignacio Ruiz and his wife, Sylvia, who are new church planters in Madera live just a few miles from the center.
“We’ve been holding services in our own home for the past year,” he said. “I know these people aren’t here all year long, but when they are, I hope we can share Jesus with them.”
‘Contributing to the same cause — Jesus’
Pastor Osvaldo Valencia and his wife, Rosa, from Pentecostal Church of God said, “We’ve been coming out here and working with the kids mostly the last few years this event was happening. Usually there are more in attendance, I think probably because of the drought it has affected how many workers are needed in the area.”
Rosa added, “The beautiful thing is that there are lots of different churches out here helping, yet everybody is contributing to the same cause – Jesus! Its like a puzzle party for Christ!”
Oscar Sanchez said, “3715 decisions for Christ were made in the migrant communities in 2021. I’m excited to see how many decisions will be made to follow Jesus for 2022!”
By the close of the evening, 24 professions of faith were made. 13 adults and 11 children chose to grow their relationship with the Lord.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally written by Lisa Kooiman and published by California Southern Baptist Convention.