About five short years ago, Juárez, Mexico was given the ominous title Murder Capital of the World. Between 2009-2012 this city with a population a little over 1 million averaged 8.5 homicides a day.
The good news is the city is much safer now in 2015. It still has a way to go, but it’s headed in the right direction, quickly and with lots of hopeful energy.
Nick and I have been connected with a children’s home in Juárez for over 10 years now through our church in Minnesota. In 2012 Nick visited Emanuel Children’s home with a group from our church. This year, we were finally able to go as a family. We drove 3 days from Panama City, FL and met the group from Minnesota at the airport in El Paso, TX. It was super exciting to be going to Juárez and also really fun to connect with friends from church we hadn’t seen in 6 months since we moved.
It was an amazing and challenging and beautiful experience for all four of us. I’m not even sure I have the words yet to describe what this trip meant to us. (I do have plenty of pictures though!)
We all like to talk about love and how God is love, and Jesus loved everyone, and love your neighbor, but too often it’s just talk. Here at this little children’s home they are living out raw, difficult, real love every day. They provide these kids a comfortable, safe place to sleep, food, education, discipline and love, so much love. You can see it in the caregivers dedicated (sometimes tired) eyes and you can feel it in the endless hugs from the children.
Cora’s first experience crossing a border on the floor of an over-capacity van. Hopefully not her last – I feel like a lot of great adventures probably start this way.
Carlos, one of the caregivers at the home. He was so good to our girls, helping them feel more comfortable and engaged with the experience.
We took all the kids from the home to the children’s museum – La Rodadora Espacio
Cora loved climbing to the top of the web and chatting with the woman running this exhibit.
Cora was worn out and SUPER mad at me in the picture – can you see her tiny bottom lip pushed out there? I was trying to give her some space, but I couldn’t resist this great image.
This giant lizard will eat your nightmares. How handy is that?
Ada’s longest-owned horse, Lemonade Cream, joined us on this journey. She never left Ada’s side. She was a big comfort to Ada.
Lemonade Cream enjoyed the exhibits too.
Ada opened her mouth and pushed her face into this thing that has been touched by probably a million little hands. When I expressed my concern, she said, “yeah, it tasted kind of funny, too”. Kids. She did manage to make a fairly creepy image, which is exactly what she was going for. I’m 99% certain this is why she came down with chickenpox a couple weeks later.
This was just supposed to be a picture of piñatas, later I noticed Cora and her little shadow, Yadira walking with their arms around each other.
The piñatas were not even full of candy and still the kids whacked at them and hogged-piled on top of everyone they broke open.
The food. I can’t even. Homemade Mexican food – breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were so spoiled. Nick and I rarely ever drink soda these days, but when you get a chance to drink Mexican Coke, you take it.
The little baby lamb in front cried his sweet little heart out the entire scene. Poor baby.
Yadira always has that giant smile on her face.
The house where we stayed. It belongs to the founder of the children’s home.
Ada spent most of her time playing soccer with the boys. In her sparkly purple sandals.
Behind the home.
The two girls we sponsor – Jennifer and Kimberly. It was so nice to meet them in person. I have no idea what’s going on with our kids here but I LOL whenever I see this picture.
Opening Christmas gifts with the kids.
These stairs are in the outdoor courtyard where the children spend a lot of time playing. It’s amazing and terrifying how they scale up and down those giant stairs effortlessly, like mountain goats. And yes, that’s a cement slide. You gotta love Mexico.
Ada’s prayer for the home.