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The Texas McAllen Mission is on the border of the United States and Mexico. There is a large Spanish population and many Spanish and English speaking missionaries are called to this area. Missionaries called to this area can expect hot, humid summers and mild winters.
Snapshot of the Texas McAllen Mission area – Texas is the second most populous US state and the largest of the “mainland” 48 states. Once an independent republic, Texas became the 28th state in 1845. The mission includes the southern part of Texas and borders Mexico very closely; hence, cultural attitudes are heavily influenced by nearby Mexico, especially because over 75% of the population identifies as Hispanic (of any race). Fun fact: the Texas McAllen Mission is the only “stateside” US mission where all missionaries are called Spanish-speaking!
The Church is strong in Texas, with both Spanish- and English-speaking wards proliferating. There are five stakes within the Texas McAllen Mission boundaries. Overall, the Church has an increasing presence throughout the state, with a total Church membership of nearly 315,900 in over 600 congregations and four temples.
Missionaries eat a lot of Tex Mex. Those serving in the northern part of the mission can expect a lot of BBQ.
Depending on the size and location of your area, cars and bicycles will be your mode of transportation. If you are assigned to a bike area, you will want to purchase a bicycle that you can transport with you during your entire mission. It is simple to purchase a bike in the mission, so it is probably easier to wait until you are assigned to a bike area and purchase an adequate bike in the mission field.
The Texas McAllen Mission has been described as “very safe” by former missionaries. Missionaries should use proper bike etiquette when on the roads and ensure that their bikes are locked up securely with a U-lock to avoid bike theft.
The Valley: “The Valley” is a shortened term for the Rio Grande Valley, which is the area just north of the Rio Grande and the United States/Mexico border. The majority of the mission is located in The Valley including Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen and many other smaller cities.
Tex Mex: This term refers both to a local dialect—Spanish mixed with English but with a Southern accent—and to the food. Because of the mix between cultures, much of the Spanish food is cooked with Barbecue sauce.
Tie Diving: This term is used locally among missionaries. There are places in the mission called “Ropa Usada” (Used Clothing) where missionaries go “tie diving” and pay by the pound for used ties. This is a favorite preparation day activity for many missionaries, but there are limits to how often missionaries can go tie diving.
Missionaries will want a bike that will last throughout their mission and a heavy U-lock to avoid bike theft. Former missionaries also recommend carrying a Camelbak or similar pack that carries water while working in the heat.
200 W La Vista Ave
McAllen TX 78501-2131
Current mission blog: http://texasmcallenmission2013-2016.blogspot.com/
Alumni website: http://www.mission.net/texas/mcallen/
What did you eat the most of?
“Tacos and flautas.” -Chase
“Tacos, tamales, menudo.”
What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Menudo. It is cow stomach soup and a Mexican delicacy.”
“Crickets, cow eyes, cow intestines, cow brain and menudo.”
What was most surprising about the culture?
“There is a large number of transient people, many of which are illegal immigrants.”
“There is a complete mix of Spanish and English languages in the culture. You will often use both languages combined.”
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
“People here are very loving and open. Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone.”
What do you wish you had known before you served?
“Humidity is very different from dry heat.”