We were at Siempre on Wednesday. Pastor Aldo’s doing an outstanding job of meeting with people, preparing for Palm Sunday and along with Miguel, Siempre’s longtime caretaker, keeping watch over the property.
Ready for Children – almost
We now know that Siempre’s kids were moved by our former directors and are living in a house with them. Pastor Aldo knows where the house is – a blessing – as another grandmother of two of Siempre’s kids who were moved was by on Wednesday. She spent an hour being comforted by Barbara Zepeda, long time good friend and supporter of Siempre Para Los Ninos, and was assured that as far as we know the kids are doing well. She’s been promised to be told the exact location of the home in the next week so she can visit. She asked repeatedly if the children could return to Siempre. It’s a question we continue to hear. All the children are welcome home. They were never asked to leave.
We’re rebuilding Siempre One Room at a Time. We’ve not asked for money to help us through this challenging transition – even still – nearly $5,000- in special gifts came in for that purpose in just the last few days. Thanks so much. Humbling: so great a trust after such horrible actions on the part of the few, regardless their intentions.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the Pastor of Pacific Coast Church in San Clemente, Mark Ambrose, and he’s assured me that though some members of the church might have taken part in this – it was without his support. He’s also sent an email to their church breaking down the situation from their perspective and asked for a neutral position during this time of challenges. We promised to stay in touch.
Sean Lambert, President and CEO of YWAM – San Diego/Baja and I have spent a good deal of time on the phone this week. He was very apologetic for even the appearance of YWAM support of moving the children and has gone out of his way with a follow up call to let us know that they only want to help the children and that their heart remains with whatever they can do to get Siempre Para Los Ninos up and running again. He’s offered their full assistance, of which I’m very thankful, and promised to stay in touch and insured us that nothing like this should have happened and would never happen again.
The work of Siempre Para Los Ninos outgrew the sole support of her founding church – Central Community – years ago, for which we are thankful. That being said, we consider the vision and her mission to rescue children in the greatest need and to help restore families whenever possible a sacred trust that we will continue to uphold.
We want everyone- from whatever background -who has a heart to rescue children to continue to know that they’re invited. It’s why we built SamaritanHouse@Siempre – a place where you can come and stay, work, and share the joy of Siempre Para Los Ninos. Even today, Saturday, April 12, two groups, from two different churches are working on the rebuilding and restoration – preparing us to take in children as soon as possible. Some of the oldest bunk beds and mattresses were left and we’re doing our best to clean things up, paint and make ready to do what we do at Siempre – what some were so eager to take, without considering the cost – to rescue children. Sadly, there’s little shortage of children in desperate need in and around Tijuana. We’re ready for a resurrection!
A new website is in the process of being built – think you can begin to check it out now at www.siemprekids.org – it’s just a framework of what’s to come. Part of it will include a calendar for you to schedule your own work trip to Siempre. So many individuals, families, groups, businesses and churches from across the nation have built this great work into their lives and we want you to know that now, and always: You’re Invited!
I can’t speak to the motivation of those who participated in any part of this act against our work. Just as I’ve received many, many of your kind words of support – a couple of people who took part have contacted me. They’re people I’ve known. Some who entered Mexico for the first time in our car as we graciously invited them to the work. It stinks. A couple have said they did it because they loved our former directors and couldn’t stand to see them leave. One said it was to keep the “family” together. It comes off with a cult like sense of awe. Our directors are employees. Employees often consider leaving. Aracelis wrote on facebook yesterday that they’ve been thinking of going to Chiapas for over 6 months. Wish someone would’ve told us. She writes that friends in America helped them stay with the children.
Almost every child that left had a family contact – our goal would have been to restore children who are not true orphans to biological family. It’s one reason we built LifeHouse@Siempre. Our former directors are NOT their mom and dad. Every abandoned child knows that the people who watch them are just that – people who watch them: with employees, security cameras, etc
Kids, abandoned to our care, become attached. That’s a good thing when it’s done in love and service. But the best loving hope helps return every child to a family healed or helps the others find forever families. A wonderful byproduct of this heartbreak is that Siempre’s lawyer has agreed to step up and help any family – in the U.S. or Mexico – find their way to successful adoption. Pray this can become a reality – sooner, rather than later.
One person involved in this continues to tell me how taking all that was donated to Siempre Para Los Ninos is perfectly legal in Mexico. I find myself thinking of how we’ll do almost anything to justify our actions. Because something was legal – if it was – by no means makes it moral, ethical or up to that simple standard Jesus taught: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Perhaps this hit me hardest while walking through the dining hall and kitchen at Siempre: the great majority of food, containers, two refrigerators, two freezers, all the tables and chairs – gone. I asked pastor Aldo, what they did with them – they don’t have that much room. He said they were taken and put in storage. Not because the kids needed beds to sleep on but storage. Who does that?
On the bright side – one of the pastors leading a group to Siempre today called to say what a fantastic time they had, they’re one hundred percent on board and bringing another church down tomorrow on Palm Sunday. Laguna Niguel Presbyterian spent the morning cleaning, arranging and building a crib. John sent some pictures from the day. That’s Heather Lee, John and Randy Free in the photo on the top of the page. It’ll take a while – but with your help kids, rescued, will fill Siempre with joy and hope again.
Pray for the church at Siempre, for Pastor Aldo and his family, Miguel, for all our support churches and individuals who’ve given so generously. Hearts are being torn asunder. People who’ve loved and given years building, generous financial support and amazing prayer support find themselves loving a child that’s been taken from their home, their colonia and we have no idea what they’ve been told. Pray for Siempre’s kids. They’re always welcome home. Pray for the rebuilding of Siempre Para Los Ninos. It’s happening. Our son John, who led a group this morning, emailed me the pictures in this update. The only thing missing is children we’re not ready yet but so very much closer.
Check Out Our New Website
Talking with a friend this morning I said: “Such a drag that this is all happening right at Easter.” She replied with a smile: “What a fantastic time for a resurrection!” Amen and amen! If you’d like to join the ongoing resurrection of Siempre Para Los Ninos – let me know – plus, we’re going this Memorial Day Weekend – We’ll be building- not sure what – but count on it. Pastor Ken will put us where we’re needed most. You’re Invited! You’re needed – now, more than ever.
Eric M. Denton, pastor