Christmas at the orphanage

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Have you ever been bothered by Christmas?  I don’t mean by the date most people have chosen to celebrate Jesus’ birth or remember a generous old Saint Nicholas.  But have you ever been bothered by the hustle, commercialism, greed, staleness or opulence of what we commonly refer to as “Christmas” in the US?  I have.  It’s overwhelmingly sad to go to the mall and hear the endless whining of children everywhere… “Can I have this? I want that!!!  Pleeeeeeeease?”  I have even been bothered by my children’s “when do we get to open presents???” on Christmas morning.  I don’t want it to be all about that.  Especially since compared to so many kids out there, my kids don’t need a bunch more toys.  What they need is a heart that cares for others.  And gratefulness for the things they have.  They need to understand James 1:27… “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…”
A few years ago, we spent Christmas here in Chiapas.  Just a few days before THE DAY I was wrapping a few gifts for Cloe and Nathan.  At the time, the local orphanage had just a couple orphans and the family running it had 3 kids who were taking music lessons from my sister in law.  Between lessons they would come up to my house and talk… while I listened… because I spoke almost no Spanish at the time!  As one of the girls sat watching me wrap gifts, her eyes kept getting bigger.  Finally she asked “are all 3 of those gifts for Cloe?” and I answered yes.  She was amazed.  I asked if they do gifts for Christmas, and she said sometimes they each get their own bag of candy.  Um.  That’s it?  For the next several days I kept thinking “wow… no gifts for these kids at all.  Children who have been abandoned by their parents and could really use a tangible show of love.”  Just try to imagine the feeling of worthlessness that these kids must have, knowing that many of them *had* parents, but they just simply weren’t wanted.
That was a really hard, lonely Christmas for me… my first one ever to be away from my family.  We celebrated mostly alone with our little Cloe, while my family was back in CO… all 30 of them… playing games and eating yummy food!  Had I not thought to take a pregnancy test that morning and discovered that Gabi was on her way, it would have been a really REALLY hard day!  Because of that fact, we spent the next several Christmases in Colorado.  All the while, the orphanage has been on my heart.
This year, we’re planning on being here in Chiapas for Christmas again!  Once I started thinking about that a few weeks ago (we’ve known for a while, but I’ve been avoiding the topic in my mind), I started to panic a little.  Then I heard God whisper “now you can do something for the orphans for Christmas!” and the excitement began.  What if we show people the needs that are currently there, and allow those who are interested to sponsor different things?

The kids of Casa Hogar

One of my main desires is for these kids to know that they *are* loved, they *are* worth something, and that there are Christians out there who are praying specifically for them.  My dream is to present them with not only gifts, but pictures.  If your family wants to contribute $10 for an educational toy, I want to give them that toy with your family’s picture attached to it so they can see where it came from and know that this family prayed (hopefully is still praying) for them!  On the other side of that coin, my dream is to send you a picture of the kids with the gift that you gave them.  I am hoping that doing this will help you (your kids, your church family, etc) feel a part of their lives.
Right now, the orphanage has 18 kids living in it.  The family that runs it is juggling a huge load!  They are trying to home-school all of these kids, and are doing an amazing job with training and loving them.  Half of the boys want to be pastors when they grow up!  You would be floored if you could spend some time with them.  You’d also probably be saddened to see their living conditions, playground, toy box and school supplies!  There are plenty of needs to be filled there.

Casa Hogar Canaan

This is not a drive for used toys or clothing.  Due to transportation and importation issues, we will likely need to buy most supplies here in Mexico.
If you, by yourself, want to contribute towards meeting a need for the kids… awesome!  If you want to get your church, Sunday School class, home-school group, office friends, play group, etc involved… great!!!  That would allow us to do some bigger things for the kids, such as getting some home-school supplies or finishing their swing set.  Whatever group you end up with, please be sure to send (either postal or e-mail) a picture as well!  This will mean more to the kids than you can know.
Here are some categories you can donate toward:
A single toy (educational or just for fun) – This would be a good option if you want an item to be just from you/your family. We’d get something fun and educational like this toy from LeapFrog.  Or if you have another specific gift in mind, just tell us!
Toy fund – If you don’t mind sharing the “from” space on the gift, this is a good option if you have a small donation. Just a few small donations would enable us to get a larger toy gift like this one.
Sponsor a desk – Right now, when it’s time to do school, the kids occupy the floor, dinner table, beds, etc. Some of these stackable desks would be so useful for them (and they are so very affordable!)
School fund – The amount that this fund receives will determine where it goes.  It could be as simple as a mobile of our galaxy, as big as a MiniLuk system, or as practical as notebooks and pencils.
General blessing fund – Whatever lands in this category will go towards something big, most likely.  We’ll be asking Carlos and Yara (the parents who run the orphanage) what would bless them most.  At this point we’re guessing a jungle gym type thing.  Possibly a musical instrument or two, as many of the kids are interested in music. 
So here’s the how-to!  You can be part of the orphanage Christmas 3 different ways…
You can mail a check (made out to Nathan Terrell) to:
Julie Terrell / Orphan Christmas
Redeemer Baptist Church
18800 East Iliff Avenue
Aurora, CO 80013-6209
In the memo line, please specify which category you are giving for (single toy, toy fund, desks, school or general).  Don’t forget to include a picture of yourself for the kids to keep, as well as an address (e-mail or postal) for me to send you a picture of the kids with your gift!
Or you can use our paypal account (nathan_terrell@sil.org) to donate.  If you use that method, just e-mail me with your preferred category and picture.
Lastly, you could deposit directly into our Bank of America account.  Just contact me for the details if that’s the method you prefer!
If you want to donate to a particular need, we have a deadline of October 15th.  After that, any donations received will go to the General Blessing fund, to fill whichever need is greatest for them at that point.
PLEASE feel free to pass this along!  E-mail it, repost it, tell your church about it!  I believe it would be impossible for us to over-bless these sweet kids.
I can hardly wait for Christmas morning!!!! 😀
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10 responses »

  1. I am so proud of you for taking this on! I’m contributing a little something today to get it all started and to let you know how impressed I am that you have decided to do this. It will mean the world to the kids at the orphanage- but more than that, your three little angels will learn what Christmas truly is. This is legacy-building!!
    I support you…and I love the team you guys make!

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  2. Julie, wow. I’m trying to hold back my tears as I think of how PERFECT this project is for these kids. I can only say, “Yes” and “Amen” to what you’re doing. Thank you for listening to that whisper. Our family will be donating. The trick will be remembering by Oct. 15th, so if you don’t hear from us, please email me! We think and pray for you often and so wish we could make a visit out there. Someday maybe…

    We love you guys!

    Dan, Merri, Eli and Josiah

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    • Merri, you are SO sweet! I wrote your name down on my spreadsheet so hopefully one of us will remember. 😉 I’ll mention it again in my Sep email… if I remember. :-p
      It totally STINKS that we live so far apart! I would SO LOVE to hear how God brought this two little ones into your lives.
      You know Nathan still refers to Dan as his best friend. 🙂 We look forward to that someday visit. We love you guys, from all the way down here!!!

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  3. Man! Has it really been that long since I’ve visited your blog that I missed this??? I’m so dissappointed. If we did the deposit into your bank account thing… is there still time to provide a gift or is that not a need anymore?

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