Our Neighbors in Action Youth Group had an amazing time at the First Methodist Student Ministry Winter Retreat. We were blessed with good weather, lots of fun, and great worship. Our speakers challenged us to think about our own Journey, lay down the things (or people) that are leading us in the wrongdirection, and recognize that growing in our faith requires sacrifice. Thanks for everybody who supported us with this retreat!
Neighbors in Action hosted a community-wide Thanksgiving Dinner at Port Houston Elementary School on November 17. Parents and children feasted on traditional Thanksgiving fare with all the trimmings and plenty of delicious desserts. While the children enjoyed crafts and face painting, the adults participated in a Christmas craft. Sweet musical notes filled the air, thanks to the St. Peter's Youth Choir. The highlight of the event came as Port Houston mother Carmen Garcia sang a solo with her daughter, Leslie. NIA is indebted to the many sponsors and volunteers from the community, area churches, and school staff who made this festive occasion possible.
Christmas is the season of giving, as evidenced by eleven Port Houston students who joined the First Methodist Youth on a mission trip to Eagle Pass, Texas on the weekend before Christmas. While some students repaired homes, others hosted a Vacation Bible School for the poverty-stricken families of this border town. More than 50 children attended! In the afternoon, our First Methodist Houston team partnered with First Methodist Eagle Pass to sort gifts and clothes for families of the neighborhood and followed by hosting a giant Christmas party for 50 Eagle Pass families. The mission trip was a very tangible way to demonstrate God's love. All were richly blessed and we are incredibly proud of our teenagers who truly worked hard to give their time and energy in helping others.
With a growing heart of care and compassion, the NIA Houston Moms' Small Group has begun to organize service projects for mothers from the neighborhood. Once a month, the women visit a local nursing home to reach out to elderly residents who are often lonely and have very few visitors. The Port Houston mothers paint nails and cut hair, as well as host bingo parties and Christian karaoke hours. It is a blessing to serve Jesus in this very special way!
On December 17, Neighbors in Action hosted its annual Christmas party at First Methodist Houston, inviting all families involved in the Port Houston outreach. More than 120 children and adults enjoyed food and drinks, games, photos with Santa, and listening to the Christmas story while sipping hot chocolate. The children experienced the joy of giving as they selected and wrapped Christmas gifts for their parents. The evening culminated as each child received a special Christmas gift from Neighbors in Action.
What many in attendance that night did not know was that in the morning prior to the party, the parents were able to come to the community center to "shop" for fabulous gifts for their childen in exchange for an hour of volunteer service at NIA.
We want to thank First Methodist Houston, Kingwood UMC, A & A Diesel Truck Equipment, St. Peter's UMC, State Representative Ana Hernandez, and the many volunteers who purchased gifts for the children, supported the party financially, or helped host the celebration . . . and for all of your prayers for the families and children of Port Houston.