This is the prayer room...you see artwork of these two boys(in the stained glass here) in different spots around the orphanage. They were some of the first children to come here, an older brother caring for and protecting his little brother, the only family they had at the time was each other.
As a family we went in this little chapel to pray each morning before breakfast....it was such a sweet way to start our day there.
This is the sewing ministry that the orphanage has. You cannot see it all here but they have two full rooms of fabrics and sewing machines. They sew all of the curtains and uniforms for the orphanage. Beyond that...they make school uniforms for the children in the villages. In this part of Baja (not sure about the rest), children must have a uniform to go to school. The uniforms normally cost about $150 and it keeps many children from being able to go to school. So the orphanage sews them for these children for free!
There is a beautiful prayer garden on the property right next to the orphanage...it is open to anyone. Scattered throughout are signs like this with Scripture and hymns. It was such a peaceful place. It suffered significant damage during the last hurricane and so as they had volunteers they were working to restore parts of it. The kids and I spent a lot of time there help to weed the gardens. I was amazed at the conversations about God that just flowed out of them as we worked and how excited they were to see their progress. They were usually begging me to stay longer!
Georgia thought it all was pretty cool!
They have a incredible outreach program. Every morning they serve a full breakfast to the community. As people come in they triage their needs. If they need food, there is a food bank, there is a clothing bank for clothes, a full medical center if they have medical needs. They are cared for and prayed for...and it is beautiful.
Parker loved the hands on helping he got to do.
Every day there was a snack break and students from the Bible college (yes, they have a full Bible college that is FREE to Mexican residents) or the staff at the Nut House would cook up some yummy snacks. The money earned from these went to help students with a mission trip to Oaxaca or to help the orphanage.
Those palm leaves you see...they were for building a new roof for a palapa.
Every year at Christmas time the orphanage puts on a production about the birth of Christ called "Nights in Bethlehem." This year they did it for 3 nights and over 4,000 people came to see it!
They have a full sepereate ministry for kids who are mobility impaired. I'm not sure that I can even put words to how beautiful it was. The staff there loved with such grace and joy and love. I honestly just wanted to hang out and soak up the love in that place. They said they were one big family and it was plain to see that this was true.
Our kids just jumped right in...who needs a common language when you have matchbox cars?
The orphanage also has a full fire department and ambulance service. They travel 200 miles north and as far as they can go until they run out of gas south in order to help people who have been injured or if there is a fire. This is no small task since the roads can be pretty treacherous and there are very few towns big enough to have medical facilities to help. While we were there the alarm rang and you could hear thudding footsteps everywhere. You see they do not have a special staff just for the emergency services....it is all of the able bodied people on staff who go on the calls...
I don't have pictures of it but the medical facility has to full surgical beds. Sometimes medical groups come down to perform specific surgeries. They told a story of one of those groups. It was called 'Heaven in Sight' and they did eye surgeries. Well, this group was coming down so the orphanage staff sent word out to the other towns so that people would know that they could come and have eye surgeries performed. The surgeons that were coming knew that the orphanage needed an new anesthesia machine. They got one donated and had it sent to the orphanages storage facility in southern CA. They were not sure how they were going to get it across the border because for some reason the Mexican government did not typically allow medical equipment into the country. Well, one of the surgeons had the idea to take the machine apart. They took it apart, wrapped each little part in pink bubble wrap and placed the packages at the very bottom of each van that was going down. They prayed over the vans and headed to the border. Every van got stopped and searched....right down to the pink bubbled wrap packages. Every single search officer looked right past the pink packages as if they did not see them!
So, they got to the orphanage and got the machine set up and then asked for the 3 bottles of anesthesia that they had mailed down. Well....only one had made it there! They had a lined down the block and three days worth of surgeries scheduled but only one bottle of anesthesia. Again they prayed. Guess what happened? That one bottle lasted all three days and finally ran out at the end of the last surgery!
This is the Nut House! Yep, we fit right in :) Awhile back (I am horrible with dates and numbers) and man worked at the orphanage and had an idea to try to find a crop that the orphanage could grow that would not compete with the local crops but could help to support all that the orphanage was doing. They prayed and prayed and came up with the idea to start a Macadamia nut orchard. They asked some churches in California to buy Macadamia nut starts and send them down. They had churches buy thousands of these starts, prayed over them and planted them. Well....a drought hit, and then a freeze. All of the Macadamia nut starts died. They were so grieved and did not understand how this could have happened, why would the Lord do this? Broken hearted, the man walked out into the fields again. As he walked through the dead plants, he found one that was still alive! One drought and frost resistant strain of Macadamia nut! Now they have a thriving 20 acre orchard growing right where they had thought all was lost!
Doug and Ravenna spent a day harvesting Macadamia nuts...I took great pictures and accidentally erased them somehow :(
There are a ton of Macadamia nut shells behind the Nut House that the kids loved playing in. I love seeing them totally emersed in a blessing like this!
The Nut House processes the nuts and packages them to sell in the gift shop, they also make one amazing Macadamia sticky bun....
The kids and I got to spend part of everyday here...it may not seem like much but it is home to some of the sweetest kids on the planet!
This is where a couple has lived for 8 years taking care of infants with special medical needs. They have helped save the lives of 50 children in that time. The couple was away for the month of December and we helped the woman who was watching the kids in their place.
It was honestly the highlight of our days to spend these hours cuddling and playing with these kids. It felt so much like home by the time we left, I'm not sure if all of my heart will ever come back from there!
Ravenna and this little girl quickly bonded and each morning Ravenna begged to know when she could go and see her again.
This littl guy is such a treasure! He was born with his intestines outside of his body and right now has a special colostomy bag to help him out. They also suspect that he has Cystic Fibrosis and are working on getting the right testing for him. He has a family and they brought him to the orphanage after his first surgery. They had depleted all of their resources in caring for him and needed help. The orphanage has helped him to get his second surgery and will care for him until he is well enough to go back home. He has a smile that could light up the world and loves to be snuggled all the time!
This sweet girl also has a family. She actually got to go home right after we left! She was born with a cleft lip and palate and was brought to the orhpanage at 3 days old. They helped her through her first two surgeries and now she can go back home until her next ones!
I wish I could have brought this guy home with me. He is such a love and has had a very hard start in life. He is doing well but has sokme challenges too. He has a story that is beyond heart breaking but now is in a place where he is loved and cherished.
It was indescribable to be there pouring love into these kids when they were the age that I missed with Georgia...bringing grief and joy at the same time and again reminding me of how God surrounded her with love in the midst of desolation.
Our kids just loved being kids and seriously loved Sarah's red wagon!
Another highlight for us was housesitting for a night. We got to spend an evening with this house full of 9 girls age 4-14!
They colored with a princess coloring set someone had brought.
spent lots of time cuddling and tickling Georgia
playing goofy tag with Parker
and being girly in their bedrooms, brushing their hair, showing me their treasures
again...no need for common langauge when there are sparkles and princesses involved!
Hanging out and watching a Barbie movie in Spanish!
and yes...they had a pet turtle!
Once again, I thought I would get it all done but I will save the photos of the airplane party for another day!!!!!!
Blessings on you today. Step out and follow God's voice, jump to where He is leading, it is far better than any comfort zone that you may want to stay in!