Spring Break & The Children...

I'm sure most of you can relate to the feeling of your first day back to work after a wonderful, relaxing vacation.  “Painful”, “exhausting”, and “miserable” are a few words that come to mind.  Having had the past 2 weeks off for spring break, the children and staff were in for a bit of a rude awakening this past Monday as it was back to school and the daily grind.  Alarms went off at 6:00 AM and long gone were the days of sleeping in.

All but 5 of our children went to spend time with their families for vacation.  Those who stay behind love when the other kids leave, because they know that there will be extra movie nights, day trips, lots of activities, and just a few children with whom to enjoy them.

This break we decided to take the kids to Chihuahua city, which we have done before though we've never stayed the night.  I found an incredible deal on Expedia for 3 hotel rooms, which happened to be at the nicest hotel in Chihuahua city.  When we arrived, the children could hardly believe it.  I could hardly believe it.  It was indeed one of the biggest and nicest hotels I've ever stayed in.  This was the first time the children had ever stayed in a hotel and seeing their excitement and reactions was priceless.  

We had a wonderful time swimming, shopping at the mall and Costco, playing laser tag, jumping on trampolines, driving bumper cars, lots of arcade games, and eating out.

I LOVE this picture, especially with Luis' face seeing the hotel!

I LOVE this picture, especially with Luis' face seeing the hotel!

Felt like you were swimming on the edge of Chihuahua City!

Felt like you were swimming on the edge of Chihuahua City!


Thank you for your continued prayers regarding Teresa.  Unfortunately, there is nothing new to update you all with other then she is still gone.  After multiple tries to make contact with her parents and family members, we have been unsuccessful.  I think things finally set in when some of our staff cleaned out her closet and things.  This was a pretty sad day.  Obviously, we get incredibly attached to the children when they come into our care and it’s always hard to see any of them go.  Yet, I think we are all realizing this is an aspect of the ministry that will always be there, therefore we look to the Lord for strength, encouragement, and hope.

A little over a month ago, Tonio and Esmy, whom we’ve cared for over the past 2 years, also left and went back to live with their mom.  We got a call out of the clear blue from their mom informing us she was coming the next day to take them.  Now that she is married, she is able to be available more for her kids and put them in school in the town she lives in about an hour away.  Again this was very difficult and sad, however, we’ve been able to talk with Tonio and Esmy on the phone a number of times.  Although they are no longer living here, they still feel very much apart of our extended family.  We are continuing to build a good relationship with their mom and they plan on visiting us in the coming month.

This morning, I was reading in Isaiah and Joshua, and came across one of my favorite verses.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” (Joshua 1:9).

This is my prayer for Teresa, Tonio, and Esmy.  I would ask that you all join me as well in praying that these three precious children will be strong and of good courage.  That they might know that the Lord their God, Creator & Sustainer of all things, is with them no matter where they are or go!

We are reminded in the book of Job, that the Lord GIVES as well as TAKES AWAY.  Yes we have lost 3 children, however, God blessed us with a wonderful, precious little girl this past weekend to begin to care for.  Diana is 3 years old and is the younger sister of Idali, who has been with us for 2 years now.  Because she is Idali’s sister, we’ve gotten to know Diana a little bit over the past few years as her mom has visited Idali from time to time.  We are excited to begin to love on and minister to her precious little heart.  Please pray for Diana and her new transition.

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Update On Bachiniva Happenings...

It has been two weeks since I sent out our blog post regarding the things taking place here in our town with the drug cartels.  As you know I was hesitant at first to share with you all, not quite sure what the response would be.  However, through you're outpouring of prayers, words of encouragement, scripture verses and support, it confirmed all the more how vital, important and special the body of Christ is.  We received more emails, texts, phone calls and messages from this blog post then any others in the past.  Many of you thanked us for sharing what’s been taking place and how it has encouraged and strengthened you as well.

So, thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts.  I am convinced all the more about the power of prayer, intercession and encouraging one another.

Many of you have recently asked for an update regarding the situation.

Soon after sending out that initial post, 2 weeks ago, things actually escalated to an all time high.  Small battles continued to take place and there were talks of something “big” that was coming.  It seemed like more and more “soldiers” or cartel members were flooding into Bachiniva.  Reports at one point said that there were 200 in town.

On March 20th I sent out an email to our immediate family letting them know what had taken place over the weekend.  Here is the email below...

“Hola family, just wanted to give you an update on what’s going on down here.  Unfortunately things escalated to an all time high yesterday (Sunday the 19th).  People believe it was the big battle that everyone was anticipating.  There were major shootouts in towns about 25 minutes away.  One of our workers and I stood outside our building and watched truck after truck race by our property full of armed men ready for battle.  I shared with most of you that Jackie and the ladies from our church were at a women’s event in a nearby town when the fighting started. Thankfully they all were okay and made it back home safely.  However, the fighting continued into the night and a bit this morning (Monday).

News reports are saying that amongst the numerous that were killed, one of those was the rival drug cartel leader, who has been trying to take over Bachiniva.  This of course is bringing some peace to people here in town, but worries others as most likely someone will rise up to take the fallen leaders place.  They also confiscated 17 abandoned trucks all over the towns that were left behind by cartel members.

Patrols are still taking place in our town as they are looking for someone/some people, no one really knows exactly who. The children continue to not have school due to cancelled classes.  

In light of all this, we are encouraged, as well as our staff, the children and other people here in town.  We know our hope and protection lays in the Creator and Sustainer of all things.

Last night, as we were laying in bed, I read Joshua chapter 1 to Jackie as she was falling asleep.  Multiple times, the Lord speaks for his people to be strong and courageous, for the He is with us.  What comfort and perfect words to fall asleep to.

Thanks so much for the prayers and we ask that you continue to pray fervently.

Jason, Jackie, Ayantu + Erasmo, Juan, Maria Ana, Carolina, Luis, Jesus, Jorge, Osvaldo, Sandra, Idaly, Natalia, Gladys, Valeria, Edgar and Angel

The days following Sunday’s battle seemed as if everything had completely turned back to normal.  It was almost eery a little bit, as if nothing had happened.  Patrols, checkpoints, random stops and the presence of armed men seemed to fade away.  School for the children resumed and it was back to the daily routine for everyone in town.

Was it because the other team was defeated?  Of their leader was killed? Or the calm before another storm?  Or simply God’s hand intervening on behalf of the prayers of His children.  Some would say it was because of the first two.  However, we know that our God who is ever present with us, had His mighty hand upon his people and this town.  Thank you Jesus!

Please continue to pray alongside us each and every day as we don't worry about tomorrow, but focus on the day at hand!

"For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up,lest you dash your foot against a stone" (Psalm 91:11-12).


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Today is a very, very special day for all of us down here in Bachinva.  In fact it will be a first for us personally AND the Casa.  At 3:00 we will be celebrating the lovely Maria Ana’s 15th birthday, also known as her “quinceañera” or “quince”.  Months and months have been spent planning and preparing to celebrate and honor Maria Ana.  Honestly, it’s almost as intense as planning a wedding.

I had to do a little research to understand more about the meaning behind a “quinceañera.”  Quinceañeras developed in Aztec culture in Mesoamerica around 500 BC.   A young woman’s 15th birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood.  Sort of like a rite of passage.  500 BC, that’s a long time ago to start celebrating turning 15.  Nowadays, for a young woman here in Mexico, Latin America and in the Americas as well, turning 15 is a huge, sometimes massive celebration.   Basically like a wedding.  In 2015, they say that a traditional quince cost anywhere from $5,000 up to $15,000 dollars. 

From the moment we started talking, planning and sharing about the quince, people within the church and community stepped right up to help.  Whether that was helping with organizing, purchasing, painting nails, doing hair, making decorations, cakes, food, practicing music, etc, a community of people who love Maria Ana, have rallied together to make this an unforgettable day for her.

One of Maria Ana’s favorite places to be is at church.  Whether is for a service, youth group an event, or just helping clean, she requested her quince to be held at the church with all of her church family and friends.  We are also very blessed to have Maria Ana’s mom, older and younger sister here for the special occasion, who traveled down from the mountains (8 hours away).

Normally, the young woman’s father walks her down the aisle and dances with her.  As many of you know, Maria Ana’s father died years ago.  And so, I’ve been asked to walk her down the aisle today.  Wowza, during rehearsal I almost lost it.  I still remember the first time I ever met this once shy, quiet, embarrassed little girl, who today, becomes a young woman.  Sheesh, I hope I don’t start balling!

Today will truly be a memorable day as we have the blessed privilege to honor, pray for, encourage through scripture verses and song and celebrate Maria Ana.  Lots of stories, laughs, food, postre (desserts) will be had.  But most importantly, Maria Ana will know that she is loved and cherished by not only her friends and family gathering today, but also her Heavenly Father looking down from above.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 139:13–14).

First time meeting Maria Ana in her village Corarayvo, located in the Sierra Madres!

First time meeting Maria Ana in her village Corarayvo, located in the Sierra Madres!

Maria Ana turning 15 years old!

Maria Ana turning 15 years old!

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