As I type, I am enjoying my 2nd week of a 4 week long furlough in Northern Michigan. Our home for the first part of our lives before we left for the field.
It has been pure torture. As I am sure you can imagine!
I have had the privilege of speaking at many of our supporting churches and visiting beloved friends, family and supporters. I get to share from my heart, who we are and what we do!
It's been amazing so far!
I realized this afternoon, that the presentation I've been sharing would actually make a really good blog post!
So here goes!
My family and I serve with a ministry called Baja Love Outreach. Together we serve close to130 children in 5 different orphanages in Baja Mexico.
The vision of Baja Love is to touch the lives of children in orphanages with the tangible love of Jesus Christ.
We do that with financial support and material goods that help to keep the orphanages running, but our heart is to go much further than that. We want to touch the lives of individual children.
My job as administrative coordinator encompasses many things.
I help coordinate whatever projects are done south of the border.
If there are teams of missionaries coming down for a work trip, I’m the girl that they come to.
But the best part of my job is working to help kids dream of having a chance of a brighter future.
Baja Love’s biggest project this year and in the future, is creating ways to support children in orphanages to find a career and to fulfill their dreams.
We feel that if a kid knows he’s loved and feels empowered, they can literally change the world.
And when we do all of this in the name. and in the love of Jesus Christ, his spirit is free to move on their hearts and draw them to himself.
So much of my days involve building authentic relationships with the kids at the orphanages by serving them in whatever capacity is needed.
And thru those relationships I can authentically represent them and advocate for them.
I get to talk with them, build trust and help them dream of their future.
When they have a goal of a career or vocation, I help connect them with Baja Love who can help them find sponsors and reach those goals.
I am proud to be a part of an organization that wants to be more than just a “dump and run” American group.
We know that providing material and financial support to our orphanages is very important! The orphanages count on that to keep the children fed and cared for.
But what Baja love does is deeper. We stick around long enough to really know the kids and really invest in their lives in meaningful, long-term, sustainable ways
The five orphanages we support cover all the main needs that are so prevalent among the needy orphans in Mexico.
The Kid’s Kingdom is a long-term care home for children that have been abandoned and abused, and will likely never go back to their families. Adoption of older children is rare in Mexico, but this orphanage has faithfully stood in as a stable loving home for close to 300 children over the last 28 years.
Many children that arrived at the kid’s kingdom as small children, are now getting the chance to go to college and start their own lives, built on a foundation of love and support from a family-like setting.
It is an incredible ministry!
The Gabriel House is an orphanage that cares for special needs kids. They currently have over 30 children with all sorts of varying disabilities.
Many have autism, cerebral palsy, AIDS and other types of physical and developmental limitations.
My family absolutely LOVES to serve at the Gabriel house.
My son Zeke even has his own lego ministry there.
He comes with his big bin of legos, dumps them out, and all the kids come running, rolling or scooting over. It is a blessing to watch!
The Puerta Hermosa is also a special needs orphanage, but they extend their care to the most medically fragile and severely disabled children in Mexico.
The home is highly specialized and cares beautifully for the physical needs of many children that have nowhere else to go.
The above picture is of our beloved Manny that received this bean bag chair from Baja Love. It adds quality of life for a child that otherwise would need to remain in his hospital bed to ensure comfortable and safe placement of his fragile body.
A New Dawn is a transitional home for the children of parents who are drug or alcohol addicted and are going through rehab.
Filipe and Consuelo, the directors, observed that many mothers at the area shelter home were having little to no success getting clean when they had the responsibilities of caring for their children as well.
Not to mention that the children were still in a cycle of instability and at times, neglect.
In a culture full of poverty and a deep lack of support, they could see that something needed to be done.
They offer a safe place for these kids to recover from trauma and abuse all while supporting the parents and advocating for reunification of the family.
Lastly, we proudly support the orphanage called Youth with a vision.
The orphanage stands in the gap for children that have aged out of the system but are still struggling to make it on their own.
What 18-year-old do you know that is completely ready to fly the coop and make a successful life for themselves in society? Especially if they don’t have the blessing of a supportive family to back them up?
Erika and Arturo have also opened their home to children that have failed out of other orphanages due to deviant behavior. They have a highly structured therapeutic environment that supports rehabilitation and success for some of Mexico’s toughest kids.
We are so proud of them.
Living in Mexico full time we see that the need for support is great.
I am proud of being a part of a ministry that digs deeper. That helps in ways that empower children for the long haul in authentic and sustainable ways.
So, another really great part of what the Lord has us doing in Mexico, is opening up our doors to our newest family member, Jose.
(Shown here in Bob's lap as he reads to the kids).
Jose is a 9-year-old boy that lived at the Puerta Hermosa. I met him while I was offering supplemental physical therapy to the kids there.
Jose was severely shaken as a baby and as a result is profoundly brain damaged. The way I tend to describe him to others is that he is a perfectly beautiful, precious newborn baby.
In a 9-year old’s body.
He cannot talk or walk. He eats through a tube and is cortically blind. When I first met him, Drs told us that sadly, there was not much we could do for him.
He was described as being nothing more than a bunch of reflexes. And I can understand how people would have assumed that.
But as I started working with him I discovered that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
He does understand our voices. He knows his name, responds to touch, can be calmed when held and absolutely is aware that he is loved.
But why would the Lord call us to adopt him? Why, when I see abandoned children every single day, did we want to adopt a child that will remain a child for his entire life?
What kind of crazy person says yes to taking care of someone full time for the rest of their lives anyway? Who would do that if they were given the choice?
But God made it crystal clear to us that if we were serious about loving Him and sacrificing our lives for him, that this was the next chapter in our story.
I still remember the day I admitted to myself that I was falling in love with Jose. The Lord spoke as clearly to me as if he were sitting in the chair next to me.
“Whatever you do for Jose, you do for me.”
The words in Matthew 25 became alive to me in that moment and I knew that the Lord was inviting me to kiss and love and hold Jesus himself every single day of my life. Once I heard that, the decision to adopt this precious child was easy. He was already mine.
Although the idea came to me first, my husband and children were on board immediately.
My husband is so gentle and kind with him. His siblings protect and cherish him as much as if he had been born to us.
I am proud of what our family is doing as we love this helpless yet precious child of God. It says to our kids and to the world that ministry and Christianity itself is not just something we do when we put on our church face on Sunday. It’s our entire lives!
Everything we do flows from a deep gratitude and love for Jesus. There is no spiritual life and then our regular life. Our kids are learning every day to authentically and truly walk out their love for Christ and others. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything in the world.
The truth is, I am living my dream life right now. I have always wanted all of this. Ministry, family, missionary life.
But I know that there is so much more.
I am getting glimpses of it as we pray together as a family and with the board of Baja Love.
There are many many children across Mexico that will be touched by the hands of Jesus because of what Baja Love, and our family is doing.
It’s humbling to think about. The only claim to fame, so to speak, I even have in all of this is a strong willingness to obey the Lord and to be used for his glory. Its not always easy but wow is it worth it.
I do want to share that with our new addition as well as our expanding ministry, we are in need of an increase of monthly support of 1,000 dollars a month.
We are praying for 20 families that believe in what we do, to partner with 50 dollars a month. If you would like to become a part of our ministry family, please find us here on our website on the contact page or find us on facebook under that messy missionary mom.
Thank You again for supporting us as missionaries in Mexico. I pray that every seed sown will come back to you 100 fold!
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!