“Thank you so much for coming! We haven’t gotten very much support this Christmas and you’ve made the children’s Christmas very special,” said Ericka. Ericka is the director of Reino de los Niños, an orphanage south of Ensenada with whom we’ve been working with for over a year. This Christmas, Activated Ministries sponsored a party for the children. We played Christmas carols and talked with the children as they waited to get their faces painted and receive a balloon sculpture. Afterward piñatas, we gave each child a pair of shoes that REI donated and storybooks from Activated Ministries.
We were looking to do something memorable for the older teens, some of whom have been going through our Youth Development Program since June. After discussing it with my wife we decided to invite them over to our house for a Christmas dinner. On the appointed day, they came with happy faces of eager anticipation and in their very best clothes. We so enjoyed having these teenagers join in with our family's Christmas dinner followed by a movie. The director called us a few days later to thank us and tell us how much it meant to them.
Buena Vida Orphanage
Off the highway, north of Ensenada set in the hills in La Mission, is where Buena Vida orphanage is located. Our goal was simple, just hoping to bring a little Christmas spirit, again, with balloons, face painting, piñatas and educational storybooks for each child. We were also able to leave a little gift for the teenagers who were at school during the time of our visit. “Thank you so much for coming. The children have really enjoyed themselves and we don’t get a lot of support or Christmas events due to our location,” explained Gabriel, the director of the orphanage. As we left, we were seen off by the happy faces of the children who each received not just a Christmas present, but the comfort of knowing that somebody cares.
Casa de Esperanza
Upon arriving at Casa de Esperanza, a home for battered women and their children, we sat with the moms shared together of the Lord’s unconditional love for each of them. They all listened attentively, and especially appreciated when Nicolas sang Paz in Medio de la Tormenta, (Peace in the Midst of a Storm), a song about the Lord’s presence with us through life’s most difficult times. Next, an interactive puppet show for the children about sharing and the real meaning of Christmas.; They all participated to the maximum! Each mother received a hamper with gifts including toiletries, beauty supplies, devotional books for moms children sponsored by AM.
Salvation Army Kitchen
Our hearts were very moved when we saw the condition of the Salvation Army home that serves street children in the Maneadero area of Ensenada. This is a place with immense need, and we were thankful to be instruments in bringing Christmas to these poor children who we know won’t be getting much else this year.The director Omar said, “Thank you so much for coming, we don’t get enough support and it’s been very difficult”. He and his wife have three children of their own, and welcome any neglected child into the gates of their small plot. They are working on constructing accommodations so they will be able to house single mothers and children who have nowhere else to go. For now, they provide a square meal everyday for anywhere from 40 -50 kids and 15-20 mothers. We could tell Omar has a big heart for these kids when he drove some 20 minutes out to another remote area to pick up a vanload of street kids that wouldn’t have made it to the event otherwise.It made us happy to bring smiles to the children’s faces, some of whom were without shoes.
A big thanks to Activated Ministries for sponsoring the storybooks Sanrio for donating cuddly toys. Thank you so very much, Activated Ministries, and all of the sponsors, donors, and volunteers who made these events possible. We couldn’t have touched all these people’s lives and made them smile without your support!