I apologize for taking so long to update you all on what's been happening the past month. Honestly, it has probably been the busiest month since we have been down in Mexico. The Lord continues to stretch us and teach us what it means to FULLY rely upon Him, and His timing and way of doing things. We are actually up in the states and have been for the past 2 weeks. It's truly been a blessing being up here and spending time with family and friends as well as sharing with churches the new things that are taking place with 'the house of blessing' There is so much to update you all on and I will do my best to keep it short, sweet and too the point.
Things really began about 2 weeks before our scheduled departure (October 18th) to come back to the states. We had the plane tickets booked, trip planned out and everything organized, but it seemed as if the Lord was going to change things up. I had some problems with my visa and was actually grounded in Mexico and could not leave the country. It took 13 hours of driving, from Bachiniva, to El Paso, Juarez, Chihuahua and back to Bachiniva, multiple appointments with government officials, and OBVIOUSLY the Lord...to work everything out and give me my visa 3 days before we left.
I feel like I am on an uphill roller coaster ride, learning what it means to run and facilitate a children's home in Mexico. It especially felt that way when we met with the DIF (Mexico's DSHS). As we prepare to open the orphanage, I wanted to meet with the government and gather any last minute information, tips or help regarding the next step of receiving children. We met with a gentleman for about 2 hours who gave some of the most valuable and helpful information. It was interesting to learn that that don't use the term 'orphanage' but rather 'children's home' or 'casa hogars'. I left that meeting very encouraged but a bit overwhelmed. I was glad that we weren’t to far off track...and very eager to begin implementing some of the regulations and requirements that government has regarding children’s homes.
The final update that I wanted to give, to me, is definitely the most exciting one. It is a little bit long, but I know it will encourage and excite you about our next step...!
We received a phone call, from a woman (Nena) in the church, regarding 5 children up in the mountains who might be in need of coming to the house of blessing. Nena's brother passed away 2.5 years ago and the children's mom abandoned the kids, who are now under the care of their grandparents. One thing led to another and we soon found ourselves heading up to a small village in the mountains about 8.5 hours away. Its actually only 230 miles or so, but because of how how curvey and unpaved the roads are, it takes much longer. Obviously the car ride gave room for lots of meditating, praying and wandering what we were about to encounter.
There were moments when I thought we are literally out int he middle of nowhere….and then, as we came down a little hill, we saw the village (named Corarayvo). I'm not sure what to call it, a town, village or what…nevertheless there wasn't much there. As we drove into town, there was a fairly large school, full of children laughing, playing basketball and staring at us as we entered. We passed a number of small little homes, a store, and the only church in town (small little catholic church). The rest were rolling hills and beautiful mountains, which contained houses and animals here and there.
Nena showed us the house she used to live in, where we met her father, as he was coming down the mountain with 2 donkeys loaded with firewood. We then headed up to her brothers house (the one that passed away). This is where the 5 kids and grandparents are currently living. Nena's mom was making homemade tortillas (the best i've ever had) and heating hot water on the outdoor fire for coffee. The younger children were at school, the older boy was some where off with friends and the oldest girl, Judith was at home. She was very shy and didn't say much. There actually wasn't much talk for the first hour or so with anyone. We just sat around on tree stumps and buckets inside the home, drinking coffee. Doesn't seem like the Tarajumara Indians have much to say…or…they didn't know what to do with us being there. The opportunity then came, to talk with the grandma about the kids. She shared the struggle its been trying to take care of a 8,9,12,13 and 15 year old, being 70 years old.
Later that afternoon the kids came home from school and things seemed to liven up a little bit. And for the rest of the day, we played, laughed, talked and ate...it was amazing. There is no power in the town yet and limited drinking water. There were too little ponds that the kids loved swimming in and they are also used for washing clothes, water for cooking, cleaning and bathing. We had brought up a bunch of toiletries and it was as if they had never seen nor used soap or shampoo before. The girls went and bathed in one pond while we went with the younger boys to the other. It was pretty powerful seeing Pastor Luis help them and teach them how to wash their hair.
Passing out toiletries...
Teaching Judith and Erasmo how to floss your teeth...
Between the beauty of the mountains, sunset, children laughing and playing as well as seeing the endless possibilities of ministering to the natives here, it was overwhelming. I kept having to get away for a few minutes to pray, thank the Lord, fight back tears, and compose myself. Little little getaways caught the attention of the kids and they began laughing and thought it was so strange that I would go down by the 'arroyo' (pond) and drink coffee by myself.
Erasmo, the 13 year old son, had come home sometime that night and was there in the morning. Like the others, he was very standoffish at first, but quickly warmed up, especially to Nieves. Nieves was definitely in his element, being a youth pastor and relating to this young man. I'm so glad that he was there and working for the orphanage.
After breakfast we sat with the grandparents, Nena's other brother and the two older children, Judith and Erasmo. We shared why we were there and the vision and desire behind the orphanage. The kids remained silent the entire time. The grandparents and uncle are in full agreement that their is no hope or future for the two of them here in this little village. The possibility of being cared for, taught and trade, maybe going to school…was very excited and they should go for it
There were defitinly mixed emotions especially from the grandma. How hard it would be to realize that your grandchildren whom you have been caring for the past 2 1/2 years could have a better future, but that would require you letting them go. We had explained everything, and I felt like it was time to go and not push anymore. It seemed to be a little awkward after that, but before we piled back in the van…the kids were laughing and smiling again. We waved good by, gave hugs and began the trek home.
That was probably one of the biggest life changing experiences that I am still trying to process. The Lord revealed to me a glimpse of what He has in store….and it is so much bigger then what I thought. It is all starting to make sense. Why such a big facility, why so much land, where are we going to get children, how are we going to impact Mexico for Christ. It seemed like the Lord was saying…its starts right here with this little village. Basically there are a 100 families whom most of them have never heard the pure unadulterated gospel message. This village needs the touch of Jesus. This village needs missionaries that will come and dedicate their lives to sharing the gospel, teaching, training, ministering etc. Nieves Luis and I immediately thought of Erasmo. How amazing it would be, and our prayer…that after years at Casa De Bendicion, that he would get saved, discipled and then sent…back to his home town…to be a missionary.
"Look among the nations and watch, be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you" (Hab 1:5).
We have 3 more weeks left here in the states, to continue teaching and sharing at churches, before we head back down to Mexico. Upon our return, it is our heartfelt prayer and deepest desire to head back up to the mountains and bring Judith, Erasmo, Marianna, Carolina and Luis back to Casa de Bendicion and begin to minister the love and care of Jesus to them. We are trusting that this is an open door from the Lord and that He will guide our every step through it!
Please join us in prayer as we trust Him for words to share at churches, spend final moments with family and friends, but most importantly, for the children up in the mountains...that God's hand will be upon them and His will would be done. Regardless of what happens, we are SO EXCITED to finally be opening the doors to Casa de Bendicion and begin caring for children!
Judith, age 15...
Marianna, age 12...
Luis, age 9...