Tomorrow or today, depending on when you read this, will be our third Christmas down here in Bachiniva. I must say I absolutely love Christmas here at the orphanage. I’d say a lot of that has to do with the peace and quiet that comes with the holiday season in a small Mexican town.
Yes, I did use the words “peace” and “quiet” in the same sentence as “orphanage”. In all actuality, this is the most quiet and relaxing time of the year for us. It is filled with both joy and sadness.
The joyful part, obviously, is celebrating the wonderful birth of our Savior. I find that being away from the distractions of the holiday season in the USA, allows me to really ponder and reflect on our sweet Lord and His miraculous birth. It is also a joyful time prepping all the presents and holiday treats for the kids here. The month has been filled with so many Christmas crafts, carols, sweets, cozy fires, and random visits from friends in the community.
The children, you see, well that’s where a bit of the sadness comes in to play. Christmas vacation is when the majority of our children leave the orphanage to spend time with their moms, grandparents and other family members. Now, some of you might think, why is that sad? A huge part of Christmas is all about spending time with friends and family. Yes, that is true. But, the very reason why these children are here in the first place is a sign of the sadness and brokenness within their families.
The majority of our children are not true orphans, and do indeed have a mom. However, their moms are either busy working, trying to survive, and can’t take care of their kids. Or, life is simply easier without their children. That gives us the wonderful blessing and privilege of caring for and ministering to the children here at the Casa. Truly we want the children to have a relationship with their moms, but, that is hard when they only see them once a month, OR, a few times a year.
I must admit its difficult to be truly joyful and excited for these visits with their families, because we know what they are going back to. Chaos, lack of quality meals, spending most of the day home alone while their moms still work, being subject to their moms random boyfriends and men that come into the homes, etc. But, we know and trust that the children are in the Lord’s hands and He is with them wherever they go.
Currently there are only four children here with us, Erasmo, MariaAna, Juan and Luis. Juan and Luis are our true orphans, brought to us by the government, and have no family. Erasmo and Maria Ana are a unique situation. Their father passed away a number of years ago and then the two of them, along with their 3 siblings were abandoned by their mom. The 5 children were taken into care by their grandparents, up until coming to the orphanage. So, basically for the past 5-6 years, there has been no relationship with their mom whatsoever. They have seen her a few times when going back up to their mountain village to visit their grandparents, but its been short and unfruitful.
This year however all that has changed and the Lord has brought us one of the most amazing Christmas presents yet. 2 days ago, we drove to Cuahtemoc to pick up Marisela (their mother) and their two little sisters, Carolina and LuzyDalia. Marisela called on Monday and asked if she could come spend Christmas with her children. I honestly didn’t believe it at first and not even until with actually picked them up at the train station. Maria Ana and Erasmo couldn’t believe the news when I told them their mother was coming and were overjoyed. Wow, what an amazing Christmas present for them.
I can’t express the joy that has warmed my heart as I have watched an estranged mother reunite with her children, the past 2 days. To see them laugh together, eat a meal together, hug each other, go for walks as a family, and now, get to spend Christmas together is indescribable. In fact, it brings tears to my eyes as I type this.
I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas then what we are experiencing now. To see a mother do the dishes alongside her daughter. To see her son help her carry her things. To see a family hold hands as we all pray before a meal. To hear a mother and her 3 daughters talking in their room until late in the evening. These things have changed me, will forever stick with me and I will treasure for the rest of my life.
This truly will be a wonderful and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...from the Casa de Bendicion family!