Our Ministry in San Luis Rio Colorado
San Luis Rio Colorado (SLRC) is located immediately across the border from the town of San Luis, Arizona - 20 miles south of Yuma in the southwestern corner of Arizona. SLRC became an integral part of our Conference-wide hands-on mission project in Mexico in 2004 with the approval of the Covenant Council. Since then major transformations have been achieved as a result of God working through the efforts of people from the Desert Southwest Conference and the Northwest Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico (IMMAR).
This ministry includes two major locations in San Luis Rio Colorado - "Mikedash" Methodist Church in SLRC - and "Ismashias" Methodist Church which is located in la Colonia Ladrillera ("Brickmaker" Colony) - a community also located in SLRC but approximately 5-7 miles from Mikedash.
1. "Mikedash" Methodist Church is a well established church with an established congregation. It is one of the oldest churches in the Frontier District, Northwest Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico. Their senior pastor, Reverend Felipe Ruiz, is also the District Superintendent for the Frontier District.
As a D,S., Reverend Ruiz has clearly shown that he is a "Pastor to the Pastors." He continually strives to be available for nurturing the 14 pastors that cover a wide geographical area that makes up his District This district extends from San Luis Rio Colorado eastward to Agua Prieta and as far south as Magdalena - approximately 1 hour south of Nogales). At their annual conference in 2005, Pastor Eduardo Saenz was re-appointed from "Ismashias" Methodist Church (see below) and became the associate pastor at "Mikedash".
Pastor Felipe Ruiz in Conference
Pastor Eduardo Saenz with Jim Long
The following churches from our Desert Southwest Conference have provided support for Mikedash: (The DSC District is indicated in parentheses)
Catalina UMC (South) Chandler UMC (East)
Desert Foothills UMC (East) Phoenix First UMC (West)
The Fountains UMC (East) Gila Mountain UMC (West)
Griffith UMC (North) Paradise Valley UMC (East)
Yuma Trinity UMC (West)
Following is a list of projects that are currently underway and/or pending at Mikedash Templo and Parsonage:
- Install air conditioning in parsonage.
- Paint stairs to the upstairs classroom area.
- Repair the ceiling in the Templo Mikedash - lighting fixtures.
- Purchase and install windows in the baños of the church.
- Remodel (upgrade) the floor of the Temple "Mikedash."
- Build a storeroom (bodega).
- Construction of a multi-purpose recreational area.
- Remodeling of "back store room."
2. "Ismashias" Methodist Church is located in the middle of a very impoverished area of SLRC known as La Colonia Ladrillera ("The Brickmaking Colony). Ismashias was initiated originally in 2004 as an outreach ministry of Mikedash Methodist Church and is in the early stages of active growth. And even though it is still in its beginning stages, the campus now includes the following three (3) major components: a. Ismashias Sanctuary - a new Sanctuary building was built by a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team from Alabama in the summer of 2004. Since then, members of Trinity UMC (Yuma), Desert Foothills UMC (Phoenix), and Chandler UMC (Chandler) completed the inside of the building. This included wallboard, ceiling, fans, lights, electric wiring, insulation, evaporative cooling and chain link fence. . Bathroom facilities were also erected on the grounds adjacent to the Sanctuary as seen in the following pictures. The sanctuary is in regular use throughout the week and for church services on Sunday mornings. The pastor at Ismashias is Armando Bautista. One of their major ministries is feeding the people after church services on Sunday mornings - and distributing foods to the community. Therefore, beans, rice, oil and flour (for tortillas) are foods that are gladly received when teams visit Ismashias. Further, vitamins are always welcomed in this community.
Ismashias Methodist Church Today
b. Ismashias Parsonage. In March-April 2006, Trinity UMC (Yuma) prepared the ground adjacent to the Sanctuary to make it ready to pour the foundation to build a parsonage for the pastor at Ismashias. In April 2006, a volunteer work team from Griffith UMC (Las Vegas) traveled to SLRC and poured the concrete slab (36 feet by 28 feet) on which the parsonage will now be built. This is currently the District Superintendent's number-1 priority in SLRC for volunteer work teams.
Area before parsonage construction
Foundation for the new parsonage
c. Day Care Center. The present day care center was the first building to be erected on this property, and therefore, it served as their first sanctuary. The building was "roughed in" with lumber and materials that could be found most anywhere. After that, Chandler UMC, Trinity UMC (Yuma), Desert Foothills UMC (Phoenix) and Conference personnel made significant improvements on the inside and outside of the property so it could be used as a Day Care Center and Sunday School building.
Ismashias day care center in the beginning
Ismashias day care center now
Future Plans and Projects: Planning now includes completing the parsonage; building a playground area for children, building a clinic building, and general landscaping. This is a ministry that will be in progress for at least 2-3 more years - making transforming differences for Christ's work through a joint covenant partnership between our respective Conferences.
If you have any questions regarding our ministry in San Luis Rio Colorado or would like to be involved in this work in any way, please contact Bill Sanford.