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!
On November 5, 2013, we welcomed Faithworks team from the greater Toronto, Ontario area (plus 1 from Vancouver, BC). It was an awesome 10 days filled with many firsts. First missions trip, first time trip leading, first team to stay in the dorms with the kids, first time taking the kids to a pro soccer game, first team I have hosted, first time mixing concrete for some… The team was busy all week scraping paint, digging trenches, pouring concrete, bending rebar. Those were the things they did for the kids. What they did with the kids was even more challenging, rewarding, and in my opinion impactful. They took the kids to a nearby mountain for a early morning hike, stoked the fires of futbol dreams by treating them to the local professional futbol (soccer) team- Necaxa, and of course the ever popular Sunday afternoon park trip. Even in their “free time”, the team gave of themselves spending many hours playing futbol, doing hair, and all around loving on the kids and just spending time with them. It was a beautiful thing to watch. They exemplified Christ’s love to the kids by being His hands and feet. By far, it was the best team I have ever hosted…………(and also my first). They are now part of the Dulce Refugio story, and I think and hope that many of them will be back to visit soon. Here’s some of the highlights:So when you add up over 5 tons of cement mixed, 3,000 lbs of rebar, 56 kids, 10 team members, a little sickness, a little soreness, and 10 days of memories… I’d say you’d have a pretty great week. Thanks for reading! Jesse
The summer is over and now it is time to hit the books. All the orphanages in Mexico have now started their school program, some as early as August 19th. Children of Hope would like to wish all the children a blessed 2013/2014 school year!
Fanny or Rubi Estefania, arrived at the orphanage about 9 years ago with her younger sister, Alejandra. She was 9 years old at the time and her sister was 7. Her mother abandoned her and her sister when they were younger and has never shown an interest in visiting them. She is a bright, ambitious young lady. She is very responsible and helps take care of the younger girls. She is an amazing hairdresser and all the little girls in her care always have elaborate hairdos. She recently graduated from high school and would like to continue her education. She would like to study many careers including graphic design and chef school. She has earned a partial 3 year scholarship at one of the local universities, El Instituto Superior Lincoln (The Superior Lincoln Institute), to become a chef. Unfortunately, the scholarship covers only 50% of her tuition. Through Children of Hope´s scholarship program you can donate $50, $75, $100, $200 or whatever you feel God calling you to give to help Fanny go to school. Her dream is to one day open her own restaurant and give back to the orphanage where she grew up. Would you pray about how you can help Fanny realize her dream? And pray for her as she begins her studies this fall. Thank you all for your love and support for all the children.
Update from Pan de Vida
On July 5, fifteen Canadians arrived from various provinces in Canada. They came to help paint classrooms and apartments of the volunteers, making steel railings, fixing vehicles, and hosting a community outreach. We are very fortunate to have groups of missionaries come who give of their time and money, and to serve and have a fun time with children of the orphanage.
Camp Radicals brought their youth group to host a Vacation Bible School, collects donations for needy children. The children had a blast but most importantly learned more about who God is and what he asks of each of His children.
Pan de Vida welcomed home Maria de Luz, Irma Rosales and Atzimba Rubio, after having been nearly two years in Nicaragua studying their last years of their teaching degree. Besides studying they also were a blessing by being teachers and coordinators at their school. We are very proud of them for having been patient, obedient and diligent in God’s call. God used them in a wonderful way. They expanded their vision and are now returning with much enthusiasm to work at Pan de Vida`s school. In this new school year they will be helping once again through giving a new perspective and a lot of new ideas to share with their students.We thank all the donors that supported the Scholarship program to make possible post-secondary education.
Update from Dulce Refugio
(written by: Jesse Beckett)
On August 1st, the Beckett family from Ohio USA arrived. Jesse will be dorm guardian of the boys’ dorm, coordinating short term teams from Canada and the USA, and assisting Duane with the construction project. Faith will be in charge of the dining hall. They have been married 13 years and have 4 children: Silas, Quinn, Ella and Rowan. Jeremy and his family have now moved to Pan de Vida and are taking up their call at that ministry.
We give thanks to God for receiving approval from the Canada fund for the hot water heaters, commercial grade clothe washers, and storage tanks for the boys dormitory. We hope to get the funds soon so the boys can officially move into their new place, since these are the only things that need to be installed.
In regards to the construction project, a new security wall and gate entrance on the North side of the property is being built. Unfortunately the Canada fund did not fund this part of the proposal but we are continuing on with this project with funds from our donors through Children of Hope.
We are also digging the foundations and pouring the wall for the multi-purpose field. The hope is to be ready to pour the concrete field when two teams come for the month of November.
Update from Esperanza para Ti
(written by: Dionisio Mares)
On June 27, The Desire to Study foundation visited the orphanage to give to every child a new backpack along with school supplies. The foundation also recognized Esperanza para ti with the best grade point average for elementary and middle school, giving extra recognition to Noelia Alba Vega, age 9, who got a new computer for her efforts in her school work. Thank you for your help!
On July 11 and 12, the orphanage received a pleasant visit from a Children of Hope team, who came to get to know the ministry and to help with some projects around the property. It is a great blessing to have people come who are interested in this work and to serve. Thank you!
On August 2nd, everyone from the orphanage left bright and early for a road trip to the town of Catemaco, Veracruz, where the children enjoyed a wonderful vacation. The children enjoyed the pool the most! From morning till evening they were swimming with just enough time to eat between all the playing. We thank God that we had no mishaps during the trip or at the ranch facilities where we were invited to stay. Most of the children have never been to the ocean so they got to enjoy half a day at the beach. Thank you God for this blessing!
Update from Children of Hope office
hildren of Hope has been blessed with a donation of a house in Abbotsford which can serve at the offices of Children of Hope for years to come. The house is 37 years old and needs some TLC. So if you live in the Fraser Valley and can help us physically with the renovations or can help out financially it would be greatly appreciated. Phone Brian at 778 241 1433 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org we welcome anything you can help with.
Children of Hope would like to remind you that they have updated their website. It has a lot of fresh new features, one of which is the blog. We will be posting all blog and newsletter updates relating to the orphanages and missionaries on this website. Please take the time to check out what is new on this site. Thanks!
- · 4.5 million Mexican children between the ages of 5 and 11 are already overweight. Source CNN
- · The official name of Mexico is United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos)
- · Mexico total population is 121,000,000. Source: World Health Organization
- Please pray that God will continue to provide the bodily needs of the children through providing faithful donors, in Mexico and in Canada, since it takes a lot of food to feed 25, 50 or 80 children on a limited budget. We know that God always provides and we give him the glory for taking care of us so well!
- Pray for all the volunteers in the children’s homes in Mexico who give up so much personally to be a part of these children’s lives. Pray that God will bless them richly for their service and dedication.
Children of Hope accepts on-line donations of Visa, MasterCard and American Express
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is to look after orphans and widows in their distress.
We had a team of 14 people head down to Queretaro from the 5th to the 15th of July. We arrived on a Friday and first thing Saturday morning we were off to the Casa Otomi for a great day connecting with many children and even a little time for clowning around. Lots of great things happening and we are seeing many lives being changed. This place is up in mountains a good hour out of the city of Queretaro.
We were able to be involved in a number of work projects at two of the children’s homes of Pan de Vida (bread of life) and Esperanza para Ti (hope for you) which involved welding, painting, digging and always some concrete work. Of course always time for getting to know the children.
We were also able able to be part of the inauguration of the new boy’s dorm at Dulce Refugio (sweet refuge) which was very special for the whole team. These buildings are beautiful inside and out.
We even were able to catch the final football game for the Bufalos which is the Pan de Vida mixed football team. Great game that ended tied so they went to sudden death overtime very exciting finish. And a couple of shots just hanging out with the kids. Thanks so much for this team that took of their time and resources to be part of these children’s lives.
Thanks to the Southern Manitoba team which helped out mostly at Esperanza para Ti and worked very hard improving the living conditions at this Children’s home. They worked on improving the entrance way to the home, built a nice storage area. Did a lot of welding projects as well as a fair bit of concrete work. They were there for 2 weeks and had 12 people in the team. They really connected with the kids. Thanks guys for all your hard work. I have attached a few pictures but sure there is a few more floating around on Facebook.
Dulce Refugio was approved by Herbalife for a $30,000 USD in January. The majority of these funds will be going towards making a freezer / cold room. Dulce Refugio has over nine freezers and fridges used to store the food donations they receive every day. This cold room will help save electricity for the orphanage and make thing more efficient in food storage. This project has been many years in the making after try for three years o find a sponsor for this project. Funding will also go towards an industrial water purification system for the orphanage. A high quality system will be bought due to the high content of minerals in the water which have to be filtered out. This is due to the many hot springs that feed the cities water supply (hence the name Aguascalientes, hot waters or hot-springs). On February 20 the vice president of Herbalife Mexico and many other representatives from the company and government came to ceremonially present the cheque to Dulce Refugio. We hope that this support will be given for the next couple of years to help the children eat healthier. Dulce Refugio’s monthly food bill is about $1000 CAD to feed 50 children. Obviously we rely on over 80% of our food to be donated, so many times we can’t be picky with what comes but rather be thankful to our heavenly Father for providing for our bodily needs. It has been a slow beginning of the year for Dulce Refugio in regards to hosting teams. Usually we have three or four teams coming in the first three months of January but not this year for some reason. Teams are an integral part of the construction project, both by raising funds, the labour they provide, and publicity they generate back in their home country. We still hope to host eight teams this year. We are looking forward to the arrival of the Columbus, Ohio team on March 8th. We have lots of work cut out for them! Did you know? Can you imagine not knowing the date of your birth? While there are a number of children who arrive at Dulce Reufigo who don’t know this one bit of important information! Most of the children at Dulce Refugio arrive through social services, and a number of these children arrive without even knowing their birth day. Social services can’t even get this information. The parents of these children never registered the birth with the government resulting in a birth certificate not being issued. So sometimes Marce Ortega or Erin Vogel have to go to great lengths to try to get this information, even trying to find relatives to see if they know anything about the child. This information is important for the child’s schooling to know which grade he or she should be in, and for government ID. So you may ask what do we do if we don’t know a birthday of a child, while we make one up or simply make it January 1. Imagine the self esteem issues a child has to face without being able to tell his friends when is birthday is! They have enough things to go through as it is. The progress on the Canada fund project has been progressing very well. We have fulfilled most of the activity guidelines and the project will be coming to a close on March 31st. This will be the third project that we have with the Canadian Embassy. On February 25th, Brian and Bety Heppner came to visit Dulce Refugio for two days. While they were here, Brian helped with cutting the glass for the 82 windows in the boys’ dorm, so helping to complete one of the important projects with Canada Fund. There are still a few more details to do with these windows, like installing the window strip, attaching the handles, and sealing the edges of the window frames with silicone. Prayer requests:
- Please pray that the municipal government will finalize the paperwork for the adjacent piece of property to go to Dulce Refugio. We hope to start building the school there in a few months, so we need this process to be completed sooner than later.
- Please pray for the teenagers at Dulce Refugio as they deal with challenging behaviours and finding their “place” in the world.
- We give thanks for the progress of the construction of the new boys’ dorm. We hope to have it ready by July 2013. Who is going to come for the inauguration of this building?