South of the BorderPomerado Calendar
This past Saturday, May 20, a group of thirteen young disciples—myself included—drove down to La Mision, Mexico to volunteer at the Door of Faith Orphanage. We grouped together that morning for a prayer, then set out from San Diego on the two-hour drive South. After pushing through the traffic at the border, the drive became smooth as we coasted along the ocean, looking down at the waves crashing against the rocks. The looming infrastructure of several unfinished hotels stood along the beaches; we watched them pass, the waters of the Pacific glistening behind them. Leaving the highway and taking to the inland dirt road, we soon arrived at ‘el orfelinato’.
Stepping out of our cars and into the warm sun, we walked along the dirt into the orphanage. The site was alive with color, as the different buildings were all painted brightly in a wide array. What truly gave this place its life, though, was the kids: running, screaming, smiling, looking up curiously at the new visitors. We were met by Maggie whom Hannah Reyes—the one who, along with Christian Woll, had organized this excursion—had communicated with beforehand. She took us around for a tour of the orphanage.
Being home to over one hundred children, the property was of considerable size. Along with dorms for the different ages of children, there was a cafeteria, playground, soccer turf, and preschool (the older kids go to school off-site). We came across what appeared to be a dried-up stream with an old bike and some toys tossed in it. Crossing over the bridge, we entered ‘Gringo Alley’—where the American volunteers lived. Our tour came to an end as we were led to the nursery. This tour really showed how it takes a village to raise a child. We had passed the laundry room, for example, and learned that this orphanage produces approximately eighty loads of laundry per day; there is one staff member who runs this full-time.
This orphanage is a non-denominational Christian home and is overlooked by a white cross on a hill. Around noon, while the kids were at lunch, our group hiked up to go see it. The path was lined with painted white rocks, and there were several posts with Bible verses to read on the way both up and down. At the top of the hill, the cross looks over the hills and farmlands of Baja California, with the ocean peeking over the valley to the right. There were multiple stone benches beautifully decorated with colored glass, as well as several pieces of Scripture scattered throughout the location. This, the several other Biblical references at the orphanage, and—most of all—the loving attitude from those serving there, really captured the dedication to Christ that those kids were being brought up in.
The rest of our time there was spent playing with the kids: hours of chasing, being chased, carrying the kids across the monkey bars, playing games, and all without a moment’s rest. I participated in a near-two-hour soccer match, the kids constantly switching sides; this evolved into “Gringo contra Mexicano” and ended with everyone against one of the teenage residents. Many of us did not speak Spanish, but our goal was to have fun, so we were able to get around this barrier and still have a good time. A lot of the kids had a sense of humor, attempting pranks on those of us who did not speak Spanish. But despite all of this, we were all known as “amigo” by the end of the day. Being able to take this time out of our lives for the sake of these kids was one of the most fulfilling things to experience. It may have been a long day—hard work, hot sun, hours in traffic—but nothing was as difficult as waving to those joyful, persevering children and having to say “adios”.