Monday, July 23, 2018
Text Size

20171219 Trade Winds ChristmasGifts JB 1105A group of about 40 Winter Texans from Trade Winds and Mission Bell RV Resorts gather to assemble gift bags of toys and candies for the children who live in some of the poorest areas of Reynosa, Mexico. Seated at front left are Scot and Cynthia Swafford, park managers. Scot is also a pastor for park.

The recreation hall at Trade Winds RV Resort in Mission was filled with tables covered with small toys, such as toy cars for boys and little dolls for girls, along with puzzles, booklets of Bible stories in Spanish, and bowls of candy on Dec. 19. Approximately 40 volunteers – mostly from Trade Winds and Mission Bell RV Resorts – were manning the tables, filling plastic bags with simple dollar store toys and trinkets destined for more than one hundred children living in shacks in the poorest parts of Reynosa, Mexico.

The bags were then delivered by Whitewater Ministries pastor Scot Swafford, his wife Cynthia and some of the Winter Texan volunteers to colonias in Reynosa on Dec. 20. Scot Swafford said the people living in these areas are “the poorest of the poor” and have very little of their own.

Swafford founded Whitewater Ministries about 10 years ago when he and his wife and moved to the Rio Grande Valley from Kansas. Back in Kansas Swafford was a farmer and a banker. After visiting Mexico and seeing the poverty, he felt the need to help.

20171219 Trade Winds ChristmasGifts JB 1110Winter Texans Ron Norbie, Floyd DeBruin, Marilyn Dishman and Tom Dishman help assemble bags of toys and goodies at Trade Winds RV Resort to bring a little Christmas cheer to children in Reynosa, Mexico.

Scot has also been pastor for the church services referred to as Whitewater Ministries, held at Trade Winds on Sundays for the past 10 years. The Swaffords are also the new activity directors for Mission Bell and Tradewinds this year.

Swafford said 100 percent of the donations at the services go to the ministry in Reynosa where he holds Bible studies at five locations in the colonias. They do not have a church building there, and they typically hold their church meetings in Reynosa in someone’s front yard.

In the beginning, Swafford, and others who accompanied him, would fill backpacks with bags of beans. They would walk along through the colonias asking people if they believed in Jesus Christ and pass out the bags of beans. After a while, they were invited to hold Bible studies at people’s homes.

20171219 Trade Winds ChristmasGifts JB 1114Trade Winds park managers Cynthia and Scot Swafford are pictured with stacks of coloring books and crayons that were included in the gift bags they delivered on Dec. 20 to children in Reynosa, Mexico. These children might not have received any Christmas gifts at all if it were not for the small gift bags prepared and delivered by Winter Texans.

Over the years the ministry, which provides bags of beans and animal crackers to those who attend services weekly, has grown. Swafford estimates there are over 700 children in the colonias being served.

He said they buy the beans and animal crackers in bulk and divide them into smaller portions in zip lock bags with the help of volunteer members of the project. He estimates 300 to 400 pounds of beans are distributed weekly. At Christmas, a bag of rice is added as a special treat.

But, noting that the only way out of the impoverished conditions for these children is education, Swafford said they also try to help as many of these children as they can with their secondary school education costs. In Mexico, he explained, the parents have to pay many of the school’s expenses if they want their children to go to school. The families have to pay for items such as school supplies, school uniforms, teacher supplies and even toilet paper. The cost is about $300 per child per year – an amount these families cannot afford to pay, according to Swafford. So, Whitewater Ministries funds school costs for about 30 children each year to give them an opportunity for a better life.

The ministry has also helped these people in a variety of other ways, including providing medicine, medical care, and even paying for funerals, when they are able to assist.

When the Swaffords decided to sell everything they had and come to the Valley and start a ministry, they had considered constructing a building in Reynosa to house their Mexican ministry, but became concerned that the cartels would take it over. So, they decided the need to buy food to feed the hungry people they met was more important.

And at Christmastime, with the help of many Winter Texan friends, they are able to provide just a little bit of Christmas cheer for many children whom they fear would not have any Christmas gifts at all without their donations.

Top News

  • San Juan Gardens keeps residents active

    2018401 Shorts San Juan Gardens Ladies LuncheonSan Juan Gardens had many activities to celebrate the Winter Texan season, including a new event called Tape Measure Racing where races are held in double-elimination heats, and everyone is eligible to participate. The park also holds 30-minute low-impact exercise time every weekday for all ages, including a 90-year-old who gets… Read More +

  • Paradise Resort Estates raises money for charities

    20180401 Shorts Paradise Estates1Paradise Resort Estates in Pharr, held its annual Spaghetti Supper and Charity Auction on Friday, Feb. 16th.

    The resort’s Community Outreach Committee sponsored the event and proceeds are donated to local charities. This year’s proceeds totaled $7,000. Some of the items for auction included wood carvings and a… Read More +

  • Split Rail Party

    20180401 Shorts Split Rail Party1At the end of each season, the Split Rail Association at Split Rail RV Park in Mission throws a thank you party for its residents, filled with good food and entertainment. In mid-March, residents enjoyed a delicious catered lunch of grilled chicken, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw and all the fixins and dessert.… Read More +

  • Southern Comfort RV Park hosts Bocce tournaments

    20180401 Shorts Southern Comfort Bocce JPGSouthern Comfort RV Park, located at 1501 S Airport Dr. in Weslaco has been running bocce ball tournaments for the past couple of years. What started as one bocce tournament in the park is now up to three and signs are that the growth is going to continue.

    Read More +

  • Winter Texans volunteer at Lutheran church

    20180322 El Buen Pastor IMG 5095For nearly a decade, Stan Kirschbaum and Bill White of Hidden Valley Ranch, and Ralph Freudenberg of Mission West RV Park have spearheaded projects at El Buen Pastor Lutheran Church.

    The congregation from Westminster Lutheran Fellowship at Pleasant Valley Ranch have collected money and, most recently,… Read More +

  • La Floresta holds tournament championship golf event

    20180315 LaFloresta Golf GAIL CATRON MENS CHAMPIONGail Catron, Men’s Champion

    La Floresta Park and Golf Course held its version of the PGA Championship March 5-8 with 32 men and 24 ladies competing in the annual event. La Floresta is located at 4140 La Floresta Road in Mercedes.

    Read More +

  • The Power of One

    20180308 Palm Resaca Single Ladiesbest2The vitality of any Winter Texan Park is the result of the positive efforts and friendly interactions of its residents. A small core of single women in Palm Resaca Park have made a tremendous effect on helping to make the park run smoothly.

    Single women account for more than 10 percent of park residents. These women have involved themselves in leadership… Read More +

  • Mexican Whistling Ducks enjoy Palm Resaca Park

    20180301 Whistling Ducks mexicanducks2Marching single file, seemingly with purpose. They are not soldiers mustering on the parade grounds or cows heading home at feeding time. They are black-bellied whistling ducks.

    As a Winter Texan from Canada, I find the birds of Southern Texas fascinating. Dozens of Whistlers dwell along the Resaca de la Guerra that flows past our mobile home at Palm Resaca Park in… Read More +

  • Canada Day celebrated at Riverside Club

    20180306 CanadaDay Riverside GU 1889Hundreds of Canadians showed up at the Riverside Club in Mission on Tuesday, March 6 to join in the fun of the annual Canada Day celebration. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the music provided by the Riverside Club Band led by Randy Dupuis and enjoying drinks and food. They were a number of… Read More +

  • Encore brings tribute concerts to RGV resorts

    20180329 Encore Abba Fab 2676The 2017-18 Winter Texan season is fast coming to a close – and Encore is quickly giving Winter Texans some great reasons to look forward to next year.

    The management group that oversees more than 200 RV resorts in 21 states has announced five tribute bands coming… Read More +

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • All
  • Border
  • Charity
  • Free Health Care
  • Groceries
  • Grocery Stores
  • HEB
  • Immigration
  • Mission
  • Operation Lonestar
  • Ribbon Cutting
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Sharyland
  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
load more hold SHIFT key to load all load all