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Turning Pain into Peace

17 May

Marcelina with David, and Scott Simons and Cheri Steele from Terra Nova Church

I’ve never known the pain of losing a child, but through my counseling work I have met many people who have faced this life-altering experience. Recently one of my former patients lost her son as the result of a chronic ear infection that was never treated properly and resulted in an abcess in his brain. (The lack of resources and adequate health care here in Mexico could be the topic of another post sometime!)

On Mother’s Day weekend, this grieving mom accepted my invitation to join us and members of Terra Nova Church as we returned to Casa de Esperanza, a refuge for abused and abandoned mothers and their children. By being willing to move beyond her own pain, Marcelina experienced joy and peace that had been eluding her in the two months since her son’s death.

We thank Terra Nova for sharing their Mother’s Day with women in Mexico who really need to know that they are loved and valued and at the same time provide an environment where a mother’s pain could be replaced with peace.

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For Roberto, Every Day is Father’s Day

15 Jul

The home Roberto is fixing up for his children

On a hill overlooking Ensenada, Roberto is working to transform his makeshift workshop into a home for his three children.  They were supposed to vacate the house they are currently renting more than a week ago, but the workshop has no windows or doors, and the walls and roof have cracks that expose the kids to the elements.

The interior of the workshop

Disabled in a work related accident and abandoned by his wife and the mother of his children, Roberto is an example of perseverance and commitment.  Even with the available option of placing his children in the many orphanages in our city, Roberto readily expresses his deep love for his children and refuses to relinquish his role as their father, despite the overwhelming obstacles they face every day just to exist.

The reasons Roberto perseveres to seek a better life

Roberto has fallen through the cracks of our government system.  Because he is a single father, and not a single mother, he does not qualify for any of the aid programs.  His attempts to solicit help from the goverment to build a small room for his family have met with lots of paperwork and promises, but no results.  However, our friend, Mimi Montoya, receives Roberto’s children in the Day Care she operates, where they play, learn, eat meals and hear about the love of Jesus.  She introduced us to him and now we are sharing their need with others who will be able to show Jesus’ love in real and practical ways to help this family.

Juan from EOC considering Roberto's house as a potential project

Through sharing Roberto’s need, our home church, other ministries in the area, the family crisis center and even some government officials have shown interest in helping Roberto obtain what he needs and build a safe and  adequate shelter for his small family.  But there are still many bridges to cross.

The waiting continues for Roberto and his children

Meanwhile Roberto and his little family wait.  Please pray with us that the necessary pieces would come together soon and that God would provide a home for this loving father and his children.  If you are led in any way to help, please contact us and we will give you further information.

Mother’s Day at Casa de Esperanza

17 May

The Terra Nova group gave each mom a beautiful and bountiful gift bag

For women who have fled with their children from violent home situations, Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet holiday. Separated from friends and family and living in a remote shelter setting, these moms can feel like they have little to celebrate.

Precisely for that reason, the families of Terra Nova church in Irvine, CA chose Mother’s Day weekend to celebrate the positive choices these mothers have made in providing a safe and nurturing environment for their splintered families. During the hours they spent at Casa de Esperanza, the group worked in teams doing construction projects on the facilities; games, crafts and stories with the kids; and varied activities with the moms.

The story of Jesus calming the storm (Geneva translating behind)

The women loved being pampered with haircuts and flat iron styling.  There was also a pizza fest celebrating a birthday from the home and one from the group, complete with lots of cakes, cookies and soda too!  Both the kids and the moms made crafts that were not only beautiful but meaningful as they reminded them of the truths from God’s Word shared throughout the weekend.

The picture frame craft that holds her family picture

Our family was privileged to be a part of this special weekend, through coordination and translation being able to facilitate the relationships being built between the families from both sides of the border.  Thank you Terra Nova and bless you for making this a Mother’s Day these women and their children will never forget.

These moms modeled their new hair styles as we said our goodbyes

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