Orphanage in Mexico

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When Chris Ann and I headed down to Mexico with our husbands a couple of months ago, we had a one day adventure we didn’t get a chance to tell you about.  It’s been on my mind a lot lately, because Chris Ann and her husband Todd are heading back there!

Devon and I have known Mike and Terrill Esposito for about 8 years now.  They were just starting to do work in Mexico.  Mike and Terrill were taking teams of teenagers down to an area in the Yucatan to work with an already established church.  They were doing whatever was needed…building, running camps for the kids, cleaning…whatever!  My husband went on one of these trips with them about 7 years ago and it changed our family’s life forever!

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There is something about serving in an area that’s outside your comfort zone, that creates a paradigm shift in your life and forces you to respond one way or another.  Once you spend time walking, even if it’s briefly, in the shoes of another, you can choose to ignore the experience or let it begin to reshape you.  Here in the states, we are blessed with “more than enough”.  I sometimes think that our “more than enough” gets in the way of really experiencing life.  When Devon went down to Mexico to work with Mike and Terrill, he spent his days eating local food, sleeping in hot hotel rooms, mixing cement, hauling concrete, playing with the local kids, listening to their stories and seeing life through a different perspective.  He had a moment toward the end of his trip, where he broke down.  He was standing in the public square and realized he would never see life the same again.

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That experience lead our family down a new path…but, for now, I want to share with you how Mike and Terrill began to respond to their experiences in Mexico.

As they built relationships with the community they continued to visit, they knew they didn’t just want to be “tourists” popping in and out to make themselves feel good.  They didn’t want their teams to have a fleeting experience, but an opportunity to make a lasting difference.  They wanted to be more action than talk.  They grabbed a hold of a vision for an orphanage and have never looked back.

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When we visited Mexico in September this year, it just so happened that Mike was there taking an inventory of what work had been done, what still needed to be done and to encourage his friends who live in Mexico!  We told Todd and Chris Ann we wanted to go and see the progress of the orphanage they had been building.

One of Mike’s friend’s picked us up from our plush resort and drove us into old Cancun, down an unmarked dirt road.  As we drove around pot holes, kicking up the dusty road, small little shacks emerged on the side of the streets.  Devon said, “I don’t remember those being there when I came.”  Our guide said, “Just in the past couple of years, a squatter village has popped up.  The people that live here, can’t afford rent, so they squat on land, building make shift homes from corrugated tin and plywood.  They collect rain in buckets to use for water.  They stay until the government or owners kick them off.”

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We rounded into the orphanage compound and pulled up to a clean area with five buildings and an in-ground pool.  As Mike came waving out to us, I began to cry.  I was overwhelmed.  Chris Ann leaned in and asked if it was the kids, the living conditions…I said, “No”.  I was overwhelmed by my friends, Mike and Terrill.  They are two ordinary people, who decided to respond to what they had experienced in Mexico.  It started with an idea, to build an orphanage.  Over the past 8 years they have gone down to Mexico 2 or 3 times a year and dug and built, one brick at a time.  I’m sure at times it has felt like a slow process, but here we were, standing in a beautiful area, surrounded by the fruit of their persistence.

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Mike introduced us to his friends.  Devon embraced the ones he had met before.  Mike went on to explain why the pool was totally finished even though the buildings were not.  “We have kids from the community here every day!  They can cool off when it is hot.  They are already enjoying what is yet to come!  Plus, we are getting to know them!”

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We spent the afternoon with Mike and his friends, listening to their hearts and visions for the community that had effected their lives.  In the course of the day, Todd discovered he was going to be back in Cancun in January with his team from work at the same time as Mike.  We could see Todd’s wheels turning…”What if my work team came and spent an afternoon here in January, serving you guys?”  Mike said, “That would be great!”

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Well, we are days from Todd and Chris Ann heading back down to Cancun with a few of their friends.  Todd works for a publishing company and he and his team will be going out and sharing books with the kids in the local villages.  They went, were effected and are responding.

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The cool thing about this experience is, the story is still unfolding.  I’m amazed at how a trip 7 years ago and a the vision of two friends,  is being woven into our LoveFeast journey, and how that is just on the verge of opening a new chapter in Todd and Chris Ann’s lives.

I can’t wait to hear all about it!!

(To learn more about the Orphanage Project, or to donate, visit Mike and Terrill here.)

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  1. Inspiring indeed!

  2. That’s so amazing and inspiring – I’m in awe of your friends!

  3. Thank you for sharing, Kristin! I appreciate your comment about creating “a paradigm shift in your life and forces you to respond one way or another.” Doing nothing is a response, also. Sometimes we lose sight of that. Doing nothing is doing something. It is choosing to look the other way. It is choosing not to love. Certainly we are all called to love.

  4. Very Cool!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ChrisAnn and Kristin, ChrisAnn and Kristin, ChrisAnn and Kristin, ChrisAnn and Kristin, ChrisAnn and Kristin and others. ChrisAnn and Kristin said: Chris Ann is headed back here this week! http://fb.me/yUNSRZWn […]

  2. […] to visit the same Children’s Home & Community Center that Kristin, Devon, Todd and I had visited in October.  We began our visit by gathering to hear the story of how the jungle was cut back and the […]

  3. […] love having overnight guests in our home.  Usually we host people we know, like our good friends Mike and Terrill who are coming today for a long weekend.  Sometimes we have hosted people we’ve never met. […]

  4. […] is about the experience.  Things like travel, events we attend, BlogLove Events, Love Bombing and giving back […]

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