On August 15, Children of Hope hosted a volunteer appreciation evening for all those who are part of the Hope for Children thrift store. About 40 of the 70 volunteers came to hear updates from Aaron Toews, Brian Heppner and Jeremy Van Beelen about the work in Mexico. A big THANK YOU to all the efforts of the volunteers in helping the children in Mexico. Please pray for the thrift store ministry and that another 30 volunteers will step forward to help in the store. Spread the word and donate your goods to the store!
It has been a busy start to 2015 for Pan de Vida. We have hosted three teams since January from different parts of Canada.
From January 2 – 14, we hosted three couples from Manitoba who helped build some cabinets, fix cars and weld some roof structures. On January 21st, Pan de Vida hosted a team of nineteen people from Manitoba. Some have been down before, but there were new faces in the group as well. The team had a great time interacting with the children through different afternoon events with the girls and boys. They also managed to finish some major projects like laying 341 square meters (about 1100 square feet) of paving block in front of the new boys’ dorm. They poured the back patio area behind the boys’ dorm kitchen, painted Ginger and Kike’s new apartment, installed a 12 by 6 meter roof for the animal shelter, as well as other welding and painting projects. The team went to help for a day at the Esperanza para Ti orphanage, visit the Casa Otomi ministry in Amealco, and went to the town of Guanajuato for a weekend break.
From February 13 – 23, Pan de Vida hosted a Children of Hope team comprised of seven people from Ontario, a couple from Alberta and a couple from British Columbia for a total of thirteen with Brian and Bety Heppner as the leaders. The team was busy with painting the bleachers of the football/soccer field, pouring curbs for the paving block, painting steel beams, welding a roof behind the boys’ kitchen patio, fixing the playground and fixing cars. The team went to visit the Casa Otomi in Amealco, a soup kitchen outreach that Children of Hope supports. The team also made hamburgers for all the children as part of their goodbye party. A big thank-you to all the team members for their hard work in their time of service at Pan de Vida.
Pan de Vida welcomed Herman Aikema from my home church in Langley, British Columbia. He stayed for two weeks to help with different carpentry projects around the property. It is always surprising to see the list of projects that people give me when I tell them that a carpenter is coming!
Did you know?
Over the past couple of years a number of Pan de Vida youth have been involved in local soccer teams and camps. One of these youth is now involved in try-outs for the below seventeen age group for the Gallos Blancos (White Roosters) soccer club in Queretaro. This club plays on the national scene in Mexico, so it is no small feat to get to this stage. We are really proud of Borre and wish him the best in these tryouts, and above all hope he’ll be a Christian witness to the other players he plays with.
Speaking of sports, the American football pre-season for the Bufelos Dorados (Golden Buffalos) is just starting up again at Pan de Vida. There are three different groups playing this year: the medium- aged boys, the girls’ team, and a youth boys’ team. We give thanks to Alfonso Venegas and his coaching staff who all volunteer their time to help train these children! A number of team members come from outside the orphanage. Pan de Vida has one great advantage and that is it has its own field to practice and host games on. This field isn’t a dirt field like most in Mexico but rather a field with GREEN grass. Due to the irrigation improvements implemented last year, this field has stayed green all year long. This might not sound like a big feat to some, but in Mexico this is a big deal! It costs a lot of money to keep a field green all year due to the water costs, but Pan de Vida uses recycled water for its irrigation system, so it is all free other than the gasoline to run the pumps!
A big thank-you to all those helping with the Hope for Children thrift store that opened its doors on February 10th in downtown Langley, BC. May God use this opportunity for His glory and honour. Check out their facebook page at: Hope for Children Thrift Store, or better yet, visit them yourselves if you are in the neighbourhood.
• Please pray for the thrift store that the Lord will continue to provide the donations and the staffing needed to keep the store running at full capacity.
• Please pray for protection from the frustrations of the Devil in the work of the Lord that is going on at the orphanages in Mexico. These frustrations comes in different forms, but it is all the same in the end, and as sinful human beings we need God’s help all the more.
Wow, another year gone and we are now in the year of our Lord 2015. 2014 ended with a bang. We had lots of parties for the children. We ended the year with a team from the Chinese Alliance Church of Calgary. We also started the New Year with them. On New Year’s Day they took the children ice skating which was a new experience for many of the children and was enjoyed by all. They worked on the foundation of the school cutting and tying 3 tons of re-bar. They also painted one of the girl’s rooms. On January 3 Jesse, Faith and children came back from their Christmas holidays. Esteban(Doug) a new volunteer arrived following them down from the United States. On the 11th his wife Blanca and two daughters will be arriving. They will be a great addition to help with the children. We said good –bye to Christian Grande one of the boys who grew up here at the orphanage and was helping as a volunteer. He went to live with his uncle. We will miss him. He was always willing to help out. We also are preparing to say good bye to Fanny, another person who grew up here in the orphanage and was helping out as a volunteer. She is going to the USA to study. We will miss her as well since she helped out Marce with a million different things. Her sister Alejandra (Guera) will also miss her and is sad to see her leave. I would like to thank all those who helped out the orphanage in the past year. There are so many people who help in so many ways to improve the lives of these children. Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. Also I would like to thank those who supported my family and me financially, without this support our work would not be possible. I need a few more monthly supporters for this year, so if you feel God calling you to help out you can look under (Get Involved- support our missionaries) on the childrenofhope.info web site. God bless you in this new year Duane Visscher
I give thanks to God for the opportunity to visit Canada this past August. It was great to see so many of you as well as to spend time with my family. I also thank God for the privilege to be a part of the information evening hosted at my church about starting a thrift store for Children of Hope. Please keep this endeavor in your prayers.
The month of September is a month full of emotions for those living at the Pan de Vida orphanage. Emotions in the form of happy dorm parents sending their children off to school, and starting a “normal” routine once again. Emotions in the form of happy and sad children having to study and do homework again.
September 1st, was the first day of school for the 85 children at Pan de Vida, as well as for another 50 or so children coming from the city of Queretaro. We praise God for the blessing to have our own Christian school, one of only 4 others in the city of 2.2 million people. There are about 15 teachers who are helping to teach, all of whom are VOLUNTEERS. Now that is dedication! Pan de Vida was blessed to have two new classrooms for the kindergarten now located in the old boys’ dorm. One classroom was the old kitchen/dining room, and the other was the old dormitory of the youngest boys. These classrooms give more space for the children, and the children will have their own play area. We pray the best for the children in this new school year, and that above all God’s name will be glorified through this special ministry of teaching.
Another emotional day at Pan de Vida was the celebration of Mexico’s independence on September 16th. For Pan de Vida, this meant having a big party. The youth were in charge of the games, and the volunteers and teachers at Pan de Vida helped prepare the food. What a spirit of national pride!
Over the past month and a half, the older boys and I have been busy with different projects around the property. One of them was completing the enclosure for the animals to protect them from the wild dogs. This was accomplished by installing wire mesh fencing around a 40 by 50 square meter section of land by the pig pen near the back of the property. We lost many animals in the past to these dogs so I wanted to put a stop to that. We now have two ewes, three piglets, and one surviving hen. I hope to get two more ewes and one ram to complete the flock. I also hope to get teams to finish a 12 by 6 meter covered overhang to house rabbits, chickens, and whatever else ends up calling it home.
Another project that the boys have been involved in was the paving block path. This project was completed to make a path from the new boys’ house, through the orchard, and to the football field. Whenever it would rain the boys would get all muddy from the black dirt that can be found everywhere at Pan de Vida. This path will help keep things a little cleaner.
The football field received an upgraded irrigation system with 14 different sprinkler heads. This was impossible six months ago, when we only had enough water pressure for one sprinkler. We hope to keep the grass alive all year this year with the recycled water system at Pan de Vida.
With the help of Santo, one of the older boys, we made a new soccer net. This may not seem like much, but we are pretty proud of our achievement since I have never really worked with steel, and Santos was pretty insecure in his welding abilities. For those of you who know Santos, this is a big achievement for him. He is very insecure of himself, but after a little bit of prodding he got the job done. I am really proud of him. Now Pan de Vida has two soccer nets for the kids to use since the old one fell apart.
- Please pray for more Mexican and foreign volunteers to help at the Pan de Vida orphanage.
- Pray that the thrift store meant to benefit Children of Hope will be up and running soon.
- Pray for dedicated teachers in the Pan de Vida school.
Dulce Refugio News July 16, 2014 I am happy to inform you all that the orphanage Dulce Refugio is doing well. We received great news this month, in that the government has donated the land next to the orphanage so that we can build our own school. The school will be a great benefit for us in that we will be able to instruct the children in a God fearing manner. The children will also benefit from a more personalized education so that those who arrive behind in their studies can advance faster. We at times receive children of the ages 12 or 13 who have never been to school before and are unable to go to a public school because they are so far behind, this affects their self-esteem and leads to behavioral problems. So we praise God for the blessing of this land. Now we just need to raise the funds and build the school. We are currently finishing pouring the basketball court which will be a great place for the children to run off some of their endless energy. This spring we build a castle for the boys to play in. We are working on a play house for the girls. The teams are helping with these projects. We have 4 teams this summer. We also just finished celebrating the orphanage 12th anniversary on the 5th of July with a small party and a number of guests. We are very busy with groups. My family is doing well. Perla is learning to count to ten in English and Spanish. Tricia is crawling and eating whatever she can get her hands on. Maribel is busy preparing school supplies for next year’s classes for all the children. She also is doing the accounting for the receipts for Children of Hope who send money from Canada to help maintain the running of the orphanage. I have been busy building 3 small storage rooms for the children’s toys and sports equipment among other things . We also put up a covering for the girls where they can sit in the shade. Pouring the roof of the storage rooms Building a canopy for shade from the sun The family services is not happy with the orphanage these days because they started a new program to see if they could match some of the older children with people who want to adopt but are not sure if they want to adopt an older child. The older children on some Saturdays and Sundays go out on visitations. The problem is that the children pray before they eat and some of the potential adoptive parents are catholic and our children have refused to take part in the catholic mass with them. The family services is saying that we are turning the children into radical Christians and are trying to make life difficult for the orphanage one of the social service workers even said that Christian orphanages should be shut down. We pray that these people will see the light of the truth of the Word of God. I, Duane, will be in Langley from the 7th to the 16th of August and will be at church on the 12th to answer any questions you might have. I thank all who support my family financially. Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers. The challenges we face are made easier knowing that God our Father is looking out for all our needs. If you would like more information and pictures there are several options. -E-mail me DuaneVisscher@yahoo.ca -Facebook: Maribelita Silva Jesse Beckett Children of Hope (Pictures but in Spanish )Casa Hogar Dulce Refugio God Bless you all, Maribel, Duane, Perla and Tricia.
On July 21 the Pan de Vida orphanage had to say goodbye to the Children of Hope team from Abbotsford and Ontario. The team of 14 came for 10 days. The team was involved with installing a gyproc addition in the old boys’ dorm for the new kindergarten, sealing the roof of the new boys’ dorm, installing a roof overhang over the cloths line area behind the new boys’ dorm, moving the boys’ storage room from the carpentry shop to the old boys’ dorm, sealing the bleachers and completing the septic field and parking lot area of the boys’ dorm. The team also had the opportunity to go visit the Esperanza para Ti orphanage for a day to help with some projects and to get to know that ministry. The team went to the Casa Otomi home in Amealco to help with an outreach activity there. As a special outing,the team went to the Bicentenial water park with the boys to enjoy some sun and water activities. To top it all off the team bought 30 pizzas for the children as part of their goodbye party. All in all, Pan de Vida was very blessed by their visit and we thank them for taking the time to serve at Pan de Vida .
On May 8 to 12, the Van Beelen family went to visit the Dulce Refugio orphanage in Aguascalientes, their old stomping grounds. It was good to reconnect with everyone again and to see the progress in the different work projects, mainly the concrete sports area and boys’ new castle playground. While we were there, we celebrated Mother’s Day by sharing a breakfast of pancakes with all the kids and Marce got spoiled! We also got to enjoy some time with Ana’s brother and wife, Noe and Sayuri, who plan to return to Ensenada in July.
On April 26, Pan de Vida welcomed the Women’s Children of Hope team from Abbotsford, BC. The team was focused on ministering to the women at Pan de Vida through a number of conferences as well as making curtains, painting the outside of the school and office, going to the Bicentenario water park, serving at the Esperanza para Ti orphanage, visiting the Casa Otomi with the youth from Pan de Vida, touring downtown, hosting a barbeque for the children and having a prank pulled on them with spray foam. All in all it was a very blessed week for all involved. Thank you for coming and sharing your lives with the children at Pan de Vida.
From May 13 to 16 Pan de Vida hosted a conference by Dr. John Roberts from the Edinburg theological seminary in McAllen, Texas. He came as part of the teaching training program at Pan de Vida. To end the conference on the following Saturday, Pan de Vida celebrated the graduation of 4 girls from the ILMES teaching training program (the open learning institute for higher education). It is a four-year Christian degree program for teachers. The program is accredited through the Alfa and Omega University in Tabasco. It was a very special day for these girls to reach this milestone. There was also another girl who graduated from the open high school learning program for those wanting to gradute from grade 12. This high school program is through the local government. Congratulations Irma, Gaby, Atzimba, Lucy and Ines!
This past Saturday, Pan de Vida celebrated its 20th anniversary. Wow what a milestone!! For such an important event there was nothing to do but to host a big party. There were people from different business and organisations who have helped Pan de Vida over the years, as well as many other people who have helped the orphanage in one way or another. The focus was giving the glory to God for the many years in His service, ministering to the children that he brings to the orphanage. Three people shared their stories of how their lives were changed by being at the orphanage: Saul, Violeta and Ana. The youth did a skit and led the singing. We thank God for his amazing faithfulness through all these years and the years to come. God is good!
Tu y Yo Reescribiendo historias….You and I rewriting stories…To God be the glory!
I would like to especially thank Laurie, Christian and Alexandra, who visited Pan de Vida for the 20th anniversary celebrations. All three work at the Canadian Embassy (two are Canadians and one is Peruvian). They came all the way from Mexico City to get to know the orphanage and to use this opportunity to learn more about adoption possibilities. It was a great time of sharing with them and getting to know them. Thank you for taking the time to visit us! Hope to see you again soon.
To keep you updated on our yearly trip to Canada this year, after much talk Ana and I have decided that it is best that I go by myself to visit. We made this decision for personal reasons. We are sad that you will not be able to see the whole family this year. I plan to be in Canada from August 2 to 18.
• Please pray for more mission service teams for 2015 at Pan de Vida. Please don’t hesitate to contact Jeremy Van Beelen to help you with organising a team!
• Please pray for protection from the schemes of the Devil as we all work to care for the children in this ministry at Pan de Vida.
Well spring is finally here at Dulce Refugio. It was a rough winter here. I think after our week of rain the first week in January we had 1 or 2 clouds the rest of the month, and tragically we had 4 clouds in all of February. March was kind of rough, barely averaging 27 degrees (81 for Americans), but my family still was able to brave the sunshine for our first day of pool season on March 22. 🙂 Hopefully you are still reading this, I wonder does sarcasm translate ok in this format? We had our second team of the year during the 2nd week of March, a group from The Ohio State University, USA. It is always nice to see some familiar faces, and quite a few new ones. For those of you that have been here know, once you get a taste of Dulce Refugio, you have to come back for some more. So I think that many of the “new ones” will be back for more. I have some pictures of concrete making, but you’ve seen that before. Instead, I thought I’d include some pictures of the kids having fun, and things they have fun on.It’s a very difficult life for these kids. Many, if not all, of them come from abused and neglected beginnings. They have very ordered, disciplined, and work filled lives at times. In some ways, they have responsibilities exceeding the level of some adults. For these reasons, I think it’s important to give them times to just be kids, to play, to laugh, to pretend. All of it, to try an help them forget what is behind them, enjoy the blessings that God has given them by bringing them here, and hopefully build character and attributes that will help them to break the cycle from which them came from. It is a blessing and honor for all of us here at Dulce Refugio to share in the upbringing of these gifts from God, and also a privilege to see them smile, even when they haven’t had many reasons to do so up to this point in their lives. For those of you who have been here know this: You would never know the lives these kids came from by the looks on their faces and the joy in their hearts. Enjoy! The team worked really hard, repainting the boys dorm (yes it needed it after just 6 months), finishing the retaining wall for the parking lot, installing over 200- 60 lb. paver stones by the girls dorm, pouring several concrete pads in between the boys dorm area and girls dorm, and installing a zip line. They even set a record for making the fastest batch of concrete at 5.3 seconds! That’s 3 buckets of sand, 3 buckets of rock, 40 lbs. of concrete, and 1.5 bucket of water. Ahhh to be young again… The castle is now complete with zipline, cargo nets, sun shade, super fast slide and all the nooks and crannies necessary for an epic game of hide seek. We’ve also restarted the Hermanos Equipo (orphanage soccer team). Thanks Duane! We don’t win much, playing in the adult league, but the kids are having fun. Here’s a couple of pics of things that may look different around here now. Don’t worry, there is a play castle/house coming for the girls too along with some picnic areas and sunshade. Thanks for reading! Here are some prayer requests: – Pray for the deed for the property next door to us. The government changed in January and we have to build a relationship with the new administration. We can’t begin building the school until it is in our name. – Pray for God to bring additional long term volunteers, especially in the girls dorm. If you or someone you know is interested in serving long term (6 months or more) please let us know! – Pray that a new school is found for the kids next year, the current one is raising tuition to more than we can afford.
Well… it’s been a while. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to update the blog more frequently 🙂 So here goes! I will only be highlighting things, if something perks your interest, and you want some more details, let me know and I will fill you in. When we last spoke, a team from Faithworks Canada had just finished up. They were quickly followed by a team from NewLife Church (and friends) from Columbus, Ohio USA. This was a very refreshing and encouraging visit from home for us (the Becketts) as well as getting quite a bit of work done as well. This trip started a bit different as they used their “tourist” day to visit our sister orphanage Pan de Vida in the city of Queretero. We were given the 5 peso tour by our beloved guide tour guide Jeremy Van Beelen 🙂 . It’s great to see the work God is doing in different ways, in different places. We also took the boys and girls to the mountain Picacho, took the kids to the park of heroes where they experienced a fun house, crazy bikes, and all around great time with the kids.
Oh yeah… there was a little digging and concrete work as well!
So we thought we were going to have a little break for a while since there wasn’t another team coming until January… we thought wrong. The month of December was far busier than any I had previously experienced with any team. There were parties on top of parties for the kids, as well as tamales coming out of our ears (not complaining there, a tamale is very tasty food served at Christmas time. Some days there were up to 3 parties in one day! It is very encouraging to see the amount of support from the community during this special time of year. Speaking of support, we were also pleasantly surprised by a benefit concert put on by Jesus Adrian Romero. He’s kind of like a Michael W. Smith or Steven Curtis Chapman in the latino Christian music world. The concert took place in the main bullfighting arena downtown, and we even had VIP seats for the show! What a great memory.
We were then blessed by a 10 day or so visit from a team from Duane’s home church in Canada. This team happened to include Duane’s parents so it was extra special for him. The team sewed damaged clothes, brought hand made pillow cases for all the kids, repaired all the broken shelving units in the girls dorm, and helped take us to the next level on our newest building- “The Castillo” – the castle.
Being a kid at heart, I have always wanted to build and play on a castle. Having about 24 boys in one location, with nothing to do, and throw in their highly creative minds… well lets just say it’s a recipe for trouble. So in the interest of giving the boys something to play on, that they can’t break, we have begun building a castle. When it’s all said and done, there will be a castle, tower, zipline, pyramid, slide and everything in between. We hope to have it completed by the end of April. Don’t worry, we will be building something for the girls as well!
Well now you’re up to date. I will try and post some more pictures of a time lapse for the retaining wall construction, and castle as we move along. Until next time!