Every January a group of men from all walks of life come together to engage in a 7 day ministry venture along the Texas-Mexico border that stretches from Del Rio in the north to Brownsville in the south. Armed with hammers, measuring tapes and Bibles, these merry men make their first pit stop in San Antonio before launching out to do what they have done faithfully for the past 18 years: build churches, orphanages, houses and lives.
On any given January you might see them in the form of a caravan of numbered white vans cruising down a Texas highway, or encounter a joyful tide smiling men (70 or so in number) making their way into an otherwise sleepy local restaurant in some border town.
They call themselves Power Ministry. Founded in 2000 by a small group of men from southern California intent on making a difference in a needy world, Power engages in a year round effort to raise funds through golf tournaments, raffles and other events. All of the money raised—well into the 6 figures each year, is then “invested” in missionaries, rice and beans, Bibles, Christian literature and building materials.
Three one-week Power Trips are scheduled each January and men are recruited from all over the US and Canada to join in. Like a Christian “Special Ops” team, 65-70 men per wave set out on a mission to be a blessing to Christian workers and ministries on both sides of the border. Yet they will tell you, to the man, that they have received the greater blessing in the process, that indeed it is more blessed to give than to receive.
One Powerful Journey
Co-founder Doug Wible sums up this year’s Power Outreach nicely:
“A one trip, 3 group, 8 city (4 on each side) 19 day and 168 man journey in serving our Lord along the Texas/Mexico border. As wonderful as the blogs, videos, pictures and prayer pages are to remind us, nothing can take away from the personal experience each of us had during our time in the region. Projects, joy tours, prison visits, van rides, prayer meetings, worship and devotions, visits to Magdiel, and meals shared with ourselves and the Mexican nationals made for another fantastic chapter in the history of POWER Ministry.”
The trip fee is only $750.00 for the week—every dollar used to cover trip overhead: housing, food and transportation—all first class. Each participant gets a personalized duffle bag loaded with Power wear. Team members work like troopers, eat like kings and sleep like babies.
The age of participants ranges from 19 to 99, literally. Vance, who will be turning 100 soon, is a long-time participant who still wields and electric saw with precision and grace. Working alongside him is a treat. His stories from by-gone eras are priceless, and his energy level at such an advanced age is enviable.
Then there’s Bob Smith, who at 80 still scales ladders like a teenager, amazing the 20-somethings on the trip.
At 19, Daniel Lipp came on the trip with his father and gave his testimony of overcoming Asperger’s and family separation before a crowd in the barrios and jail mates at a local prison, resulting in a large number of people coming forward for prayer.
One of the many highlights was the Alianza Festival in Reynosa where the Power guys interfaced with thousands of kids and their families from all over the city. (See video below.)
“Power isn’t so much about building structures as it is about building men.” says co-founder Mark LeDuc. “Men coming together as one body to do God’s work and experiencing life change in the process. It doesn’t matter what church or background you come from. We are a group of men working together to help others for God’s glory. This is what Power is all about.”