A Little History
2017 has been a trajectory-changing year for Thad and me. How we arrived at this place, at this point in our lives, is a testament to God using the weak to highlight His Power!
Thad and I are perfectly imperfect people. An alcoholic and a gambling addict, now 10+ years in recovery, we are examples of how broken lives can be redeemed and used for good.
Thad and I met in 2009 and, that same year, were introduced to Casa Hogar Elim orphanage through Preston Trail Community Church. I remember barely sleeping that first night in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. At 4:30am I was wide awake on the balcony just waiting for the children to come out so that I could get to know them better. Many of these children had been removed from their homes after experiencing violence and abandonment yet still desperately wanted to be loved. They broke our hearts and opened reservoirs of love we didn’t know we had!
Since that time, Thad and I married and have served with Casa Hogar Elim as individuals, rarely missing our monthly visit. After eight years, they are now our family.
Over the Years
Casa Hogar Elim exists to provide a home to children whose parents cannot provide for them due to death, abuse or abandonment. As of today, there are approximately 80 children who call Casa Hogar Elim their home.
We began to see that one of the devastating results of the children’s life stories was the loss of their ability to dream of a future they could believe in. While we could see the God-given potential in these children, they could not. So, while we did see some success stories, we watched as many children fell into sexual promiscuity and pregnancy, drugs, illegal activities or simply slipped away never to be heard from again.
In 2016, we were thrilled when my home church, Chase Oaks Church, also decided to invest in the orphanage and asked us to lead short term mission trips to the orphanage for them. We began to develop goals to improve access to educational materials and vocational skills building. The desire was for the children to break the cycle of poverty by having the best possible chance of success in school, university or other sustainable vocations.
As we implemented the plans, it became clear that, while our goals were good, success was not possible with only 1 ½ days a month on site. In 2016, I began talking with Mama Lupita, the orphanage founder and director, about a plan for an onsite education center and was delighted to find that she had the same dream! We continued to dream together, knowing that it would be several years before Thad and I retired and could dedicate ourselves to the work.
In February 2017, I spoke with a friend about the burden on my heart and the desire to move more quickly and how awesome it would be if I was laid off from my job of 18 years so I could focus on preparing for the work at Casa Hogar. Guess what?? Two weeks later I was laid off. Hallelujah!! I don’t think they ever had someone smile so much while being let go!
Here We Go!
And now, Thad and I are all in! We are selling our home and moving to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in October 2017. We will begin building a learning center on site and expanding and automating the existing chicken, vegetable and tilapia farm. And no, we are not experts at any of this but, in my experience, God equips the called, not calls the equipped. He has been opening doors and surrounding us with amazing people, like you, who are willing to support us through prayer, financial giving, expertise, and straight up muscle and sweat!
While our goal is to improve access to education and vocational skills, and nutrition through the farm, there is, of course, more. Through it all, we will point each child to Jesus Christ as their Savior so that they can experience restoration to a life of purpose and be a light to others. These children have experienced more loss and devastation in their short years than seems bearable, but God has a plan for each and every one of them and it is good!
Please Join Us
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. God is calling us to go far and we cannot do this without you. Prayer, financial support and even being hands and feet on site as projects are launched – there is a role for everyone to play. And as a supporter, you will receive frequent updates to see the impact YOU are having on the lives of these beautiful children.
The power of prayer cannot be overstated. We need and welcome your prayers. Financially, we are dependent on others to come alongside us as we do this work. We are starting from scratch and there is much work to do. The next blog will provide an outline of our work plan.
We have partnered with Commission to Every Nation, a 501c3 organization, to handle your donations and tax-deductible receipts. They are a highly regarded sending organization with more than 20 years’ experience supporting missionaries around the world. They have been evaluated by Guidestar, Charity Navigator, ECFA and Ministry Watch. You can read more at cten.org.
We thank you in advance for whatever way you choose to support us! Welcome to the Gift of Dignity team!
… Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8