In-person WMU project cancelled but home will be built

Volunteers with Woman's Missionary Union of Texas work through Buckner International Domestic Missions to construct a home for a family in Peñitas in 2016. (Photos/Aimee Freston/ Buckner International)

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The COVID-19 pandemic forced Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas and Buckner International to cancel its in-person Women’s Build missions project in the Rio Grande Valley, but a qualified family in Peñitas still will gain a new home.

Tamiko Jones

Texas WMU Executive Director-Treasurer Tamiko Jones announced the “revision” of the annual project on Sept. 9. This year’s event—originally scheduled for Oct. 18-27—would have been the 10th consecutive year for the hands-on construction project.

Each year, Buckner identifies a family that earns enough points to qualify for a home by participating in the local Buckner Family Hope Center classes about managing finances, parenting and job skills, along with volunteering to help others. Texas WMU volunteers typically work alongside members of the family to construct their home.

“We all know that 2020 has been full of challenges, and these challenges have caused us and our partners to re-evaluate how we do missions in the midst of a pandemic,” Jones said.

“After staying in communication with our build partner, Buckner International, I learned today that due to our build community being a hot spot for the pandemic, and all of the uncertainty and necessary restrictions for a construction site that come with that fact, they cannot allow in-person mission trips this fall.”

She noted the decision was made to protect the safety of all involved, as well as those in communities where mission trip participants would have returned.

‘The home will still be built’

“The home will still be built—just not by our WMU of Texas family this year, but by the family who shall inhabit the home,” Jones emphasized.

Texas WMU is working with Buckner to enable the family in Peñitas to build their own home, with construction materials and other assistance provided through the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions.

“We will get to witness their process and possibly interact with the family virtually,” Jones said. “So, in essence, we are developing a virtual missions experience.”

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Texas WMU will contact mission teams that already had paid their deposits to provide a refund.

“In my conversation with our friends at Buckner, one theme was evident—none of this has caught God by surprise,” Jones said. “While we are sad not to be able to make that trek down to the Valley this October, we look forward to the day when we return, and oh, what a reunion and celebration that shall be!”

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