We have 2 pieces of VERY exciting news to share…
But let me back up a bit. Today on this Canadian Thanksgiving, I am once again reflecting on all we have, remembering where we have been, dreaming about where we will go. Last month marked the 5-year anniversary of our move here and it would be an understatement to say that my life looks absolutely nothing like I expected it to. I have had a lot of 5-year bubbles in my life, but this one picked me up and took me to a place I had never known existed and had not bought a ticket for. I have always promised to be real, and I know you are wondering if we’re still happy here or if that bubble has burst.
It is hard to answer that without acknowledging that 2020 has been LOCO! For everyone. In the world. And it has indeed been crazy for us too.
If you follow my social media accounts, you already know that we have been delivering food to those in need in our community for the past 7 months. Our Golf Cart Rental customers scattered in March and within a week we were delivering bags of staples to those who were most affected by the tourism shutdown. Beach vendors, restaurant workers, hotel employees, market vendors – no tourists meant no income and that meant no food. Most had no reserves, no savings, no pantries, no stockpiles. They were instantly in trouble and our empty golf carts were perfect to deliver supplies throughout our town.
In these 7 months we have changed. Yes, our daily routine is different. We have met new people. Learned about new colonias and barrios. Seen Mexico through different eyes. But it is more than that. It is us. We have changed.
When we first moved here 5 years ago, it was our intention to build a beautiful house in a beautiful development with a beautiful view of a beautiful bay. We always planned to help others – we were already connected to volunteering at a local orphanage. But I think I saw our service at a bit of a distance from our actual life in the suburbs. 2020 drew us into the center of pain and poverty. We became friends with women with bruised faces. Homeless families living under tarps in fields. Seniors with untreated broken bones. Children with rotting, black teeth from their steady diet of coca-cola. Animals with protruding ribs and open sores. So much sadness and need and pain.
But also, so much love and strength. New relationships with strong moms carrying babies on their chests or backs – heading to the beach to try to sell a few trinkets. Families banding together to care for one another. Loud music and laughter and fiestas because birthdays are just really important here. Everywhere we go now, people waving at us and offering us frozen fruit water and crafts and tortillas to thank us. One mom told me last week that her 2-year-old daughter was very angry at us. When I asked why she said her daughter had seen us drive by a few days prior and we hadn’t stopped to talk to her. She had called after us but we didn’t hear and we didn’t stop. She now looks forward to seeing us every week and I look forward to seeing her too. That’s not just offering charity – that’s friendship.
A few months ago we made a decision that this work is part of who we are now and this week we signed some very important papers. That’s our first piece of good news. Grant and myself and our friend Francisco signed the final documents to register Refuge of Hope, Bucerias as a charity here in Mexico. It wasn’t easy. Legal things never are here in Mexico. And then you throw in a pandemic and you can only imagine how slow it all was. But it is now official, and we have some very cool plans for working in a community that I didn’t even know existed 5 years ago. A community that I would have been frightened to drive through just a few months ago.
Which brings us to our second piece of Thanksgiving news. A few months ago, we stumbled upon a big, abandoned building on the edge of the community we have been working in. We immediately felt a pull to the building and after a bunch of miracles we found the owner, made her an offer and today she accepted. We also were able to find the owner of an adjacent lot and make a deal with him. So, on this Thanksgiving Day, it appears that we are about to be the owners of a true Refuge of Hope!
We have lots of pictures and visions and thoughts that we will share with you in coming days. We will need your support as we create a place for the children of the neighborhood to come for meals, after-school care, help with homework, skills training, psychological and spiritual guidance. Maybe even a residential children’s shelter. We are excited. We are terrified. Mostly we are grateful that in the midst of pain, we have seen and experienced great hope.
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat Isaiah 25:4
So Happy Canadian Thanksgiving friends and family. We miss you terribly but we know we are exactly where we are meant to be in this crazy 2020 and so are you! And don’t worry about us – we managed to find ourselves a traditional turkey dinner in a beautiful garden under the stars. We couldn’t be more grateful!