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.
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.
It is that time again to send an update from the “field”. It seems time is just flying by! I hope you are all having a great start to 2014. Pan de Vida sure is! On January 10th the Sika Lubricant company and Banamex officially handed over the keys to the new boys’ dorm and Pan de Vida took possession of the building. The representatives of the respective companies were present as well as the mayor to make the event official. Even though this facility is all built, there are still a number of big projects that need to get finished before the boys could move in. The biggest project is a septic field since the current field is too small to incorporate another building. This project just commenced on February 6th and will take a month to complete. Pan de Vida also needs to hook up the electricity to this new building. A temporary extension line is being used at the moment. The propane gas lines are needed to be installed and will be in place soon. All in all, we are very grateful to God for providing this building. What a blessing to have this building completed in just eight months! This property will provide many new work projects for the mission teams that will be coming to serve at Pan de Vida in the coming years! Speaking of teams, on January 16 a Children of Hope team from Winkler, Manitoba arrived for two weeks of service. This team accomplished alot. There was only a list of 31 items to complete in their two weeks here! This included installing 40 window protections, clothes lines, kitchen for Javi, master bedroom for Javi, new front fence with gate and concrete ramp in the new boys’ dorm, painting the school, holiday inn, and racks for the trucks, fixing the vehicles, welding shelving unites, a gate, stands and window protections and much more! The team did a great job and served willingly in all the work that we placed before them. May God bless each and every one of them for their service at Pan de Vida. It was a pleasure getting to know you and to work beside everyone of you. Here are some pictures of the work on the new septic tank…..We hope to have this done in a month, with 5 guys working on it. There will be one cistern for the sewer water of 4 by 6 meters and another cistern to capture the rain and road runsoff of 3 by 5 meters. Both will be about 2.5 to 3 meters deep…
On October 27th, two girls from Pan de Vida celebrated their 15th birthday. This is an important milestone for Mexican girls and is celebrated with lots of fan fare! There was a special ceremony prepared for the girls as well as a great meal for everyone afterwards. Many people came to be a part of the event and to share this special time with the girls. A big thank-you goes to all those who helped with buying all the special items to make this event so special for the girls. On October 28 to 30, Children of Hope hosted its yearly leadership conference for its missionaries in the state and city of San Luis Potosi. Pastor Eduardo Paulin, director of the Otomi House, led the conference on the topic, “The necessary ministry of the Holy Spirit”. There were three sessions over two days. It was a great time of spiritual up-building for all involved. On November 15th, the Men of Hope team from Winkler, Manitoba visited Pan de Vida. This team of 15 men were busy completing some different projects in the new boys’ dorm. A kitchen was made for the directors, window projections for 31 of the 40 windows were welded together, some clothes cabinets were started, and some tile was laid in the different patios around the Pan de Vida property. Most of the vehicles were also checked by two mechanics on the team. The Men of Hope team had the opportunity to visit the Esperanza para Ti orphanage to pour a 80-square-meter concrete pad for a new pig pen. The team also visited the Otomi house in the mountains close to Queretaro to seal and paint the building, install a new sign and give breakfast and donations to the children. The Pan de Vida orphanage was blessed with a new boys’ dorm. This project was started in July of this year and the projected end date is December 7th. A lubricant company from Switzerland called Sika provided three-quarters of the funding, and a Mexican bank called Banamex provided the remainder. At times there are 23 construction workers building this facility. There are three parts to the facility: a dorm for young and medium-aged boys’ dorm as well as the director’s house in one part; an adolescent boys’ dorm in another part; and the last section is a big kitchen /dining room and TV room. There are plans to build a second storey in the not-so-distant-future, funding permitting.
On September 1st, 2013 the Pan de Vida church celebrated its 19th anniversary. This happened to be a Sunday as well so this celebration was incorporated into the worship service. Dario shared the message and a Sunday school class shared a song. We give thanks to God for his faithfulness in taking care of this church for so many years. After the service everyone was invited to share a lunch of posole together. You can’t have a celebration with out a good meal to come with it! For your information, the Pan de Vida orphanage was started by another couple other then Dario and Elena about two years earlier before they opened the church. So the orphanage is actually older then the church. The new boys’ dormitory is coming along really well. The first phase will hopefully be completed by this December, which will include a dinning room and kitchen, dormitories for the younger and older boys, a water cistern, and suite for the dorm parents. This building is being built by Sika, a lubricant company, fully independent from Pan de Vida. Sika is providing most of the funding and a contractor is doing the building. There will be work for the teams on this building such as landscaping and the like when the building phase comes to a close. We will keep you posted!
On September 15 Mexico celebrated its independence day. There was a lot of red, white and green to be seen everywhere, the colors of the Mexican flag. The volunteers brought different food to share with everyone as well as games were organised for the kids. Some of the children shared a number of Mexican dances and a skit about how the independence movement started in Mexico. Everyone had a great time enjoying the festivities.
On July 13 Dulce Refugio celebrated the inauguration of the boys’ dormitory. Many people came to be a part of this event, including the representative of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City, Ginette Martin. A representative from the State government and social services were also present. Brian Heppner also came to the event. He brought a team that was visiting the Pan de Vida orphanage in Queretaro to visit Dulce Refugio and to share a few words in the event and cut the ribbon. A local university called UVM, Mexican Valley university, made 1200 appetizers for the event as well. We give thanks to God for letting this event happen by seeing the completion of the boys’ dormitory. Thanks to all who helped financially support this project over the years as well as to those who physically came down to make concrete and bend rebar!! We couldn’t have done it without you. THANK YOU
Happy Canada day to you all! We even celebrated in Mexico at Dulce Refugio with poutine, hamburgers and nanaimo bars. What a treat! Thanks Erin!
The work continues to progress at Dulce Refugio, as the inauguration date of the boys’ dorm comes closer and closer. On June 27, Dulce Refugio was blessed with a work team from a local Mexican company that makes steel wire products for Pepsi and the like called De Todo en Alambre. A group of 22 people came including the USA contact, Joel Schwane, and the head of the company in Mexico, Gabriel Vallejo. Joel Schwane came in 2012 to get to know the orphanage and to see what his company could help with. The volunteers helped lay some new sod for the play area in front of the kitchen/dining room building which was donated by the city of Aguascalientes. They also helped paint the boys’ dorm and gave a new coat of paint on the kitchen/dinning room building. We are very grateful for their help. This company will be making free of charge the shelving units for the new freezer room as well as donating roofing materials, making cloths hangers for the cabinet units in the boys’ dorm and cable for the cloths line. The company will send another 15 people on July 4 to finish the painting project.
The sod project….a huge job! The kids even helped. Some hedging plants were also donated and were getting planted as well.
The painting project…….dining room and boys’ dorm
On June 26, a team of four from Maple Ridge, British Columbia arrived for a two week stay. The team will be busy with making kitchen cabinets, painting and preparing the boys’ dorm for the inauguration. They have their hands full!
Some other projects we have been finishing have been the freezer room, tiling, hanging doors, water purification room and painting
Do you think these two can get themselves into any trouble?
From May 17th to 21st, Bruno de Jesus (yes that is Bruno’s last name) and Kevin Walter from Indiana, USA came to Dulce Refugio on a scouting mission to look into the possibility of bringing their soccer team of 8, 9 and 10 years old’s to Mexico for a soccer tournament with local soccer clubs as well as to serve in the orphanage. Bruno is from Brazil and came to the USA on a soccer scholarship. He had some contacts with the Necaxa soccer club from Aguascalientes so we visited their sports complex to talk to the managers and see what could get worked out. They had a very successful trip and Dulce Refugio hopes to host their team in August of 2014.
Having a meeting with Marce about the plans for the trip.
Each major soccer club in Mexico has its own training school from where they get some of their professional players. Aguascalientes has three of these school, Necaxa, Chivas and Cruz Azul. We visited the Chivas and Necaxa clubs to see if the kids under their training would want to play a team from the USA. It was pretty cool to see the facilities these soccer (football) clubs have set up. It only costs about $400 pesos a month to train in their schools with professional coaches.
The Chivas club….
The Necaxa club….a little bit nicer then the Chivas club since it is their home State! They start training kids at 2 and 3 years of age! We didn’t meet any of the professional players since they were on holidays.
This pass weekend, Ana and I (Jeremy) went to visit the Pan de Vida orphanage. The big news from there is that the building of the new boys’ dorm has begun. The cost of this project will be mostly covered by the Sika lubricant company from Switzerland. The first phase of the project will hopefully be completed by the end of the 2013, which will include a dormitory and kitchen/dinning room. Currently the machines are leveling and compacting the foundation for the buildings.
Here are some more pictures of the grand stands built by Sika….
We visited the Esperanza para Ti orphanage as well. Our three boys loved all the animals, especially Samuel who for him everything was so new.
The last team helped with finishing the front entrance to the main building. It was sure nice to see the windows installed so less dust and flies can get into the dinning room. New railings have been installed as well as a better doorway, some new walkways, a storage shed and laundry area.
On May 30th, the Canadian Ambassador to Mexico, Sara Hradecky, came to visit the orphanage to see the progress of the construction of the boys’ dormitory. It was a short visit but very impacting. The children sang to the Ambassador as the event began. Marce thanked her and Canada for all their help, as well as all the local companies who have been helping the orphanage over the years. We then gave her the grand tour of the new boys’ dorm. Hopefully the Ambassador will be able to come for the inauguration on July 13th. The Canadian Embassy in Mexico city provided $450,000 pesos of funding for the boys’ dorm through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives program, for a total of $600,000 pesos since 2009 for the three projects they have helped support. We will be submitting another project proposal in June, this time for $500,000 pesos. Pray that we will have our project accepted since it is such a huge help for Dulce Refugio! God is good! It was an orphanage affair. The children helped to clean the boys’ dorm. It has never been this clean before! Actually it was the first good cleaning it ever had! It sure was nice to have many hands helping with this. The girls now want to move to this new dormitory!! The arrival of the Ambassador. It was a new experience for me, Jeremy Van Beelen, to be in an armed escort, taking the Ambassador from the Marriott hotel to the orphanage. The event was held on the top floor of the boys’ dorm in the recreation room. Marce personally thanked the Ambassador Sara Hradecky for the help they have given the orphanage over the years. The Governor’s wife was also present, who Marce thanked as well. The orphanage presented two gifts to the Ambassador, one was for her and one was for the organisation Fondo Canada, something for them to remember the orphanage by. Some refreshments were served afterwards.