You asked your questions of Cesiah, field communication specialist in Mexico, and she answered. Take it away, Cesiah.
1. First of all, thank you so much for all you do for the precious children of Mexico! My question is, as you go through each day seeing a multitude of needs in these children’s lives, what do you find yourself praying for most often? (Lindy)
Most of the time, I pray for their hearts. My main prayer is normally that they get to experience the love of Christ. I long for them to know how precious they are to God. I pray that they never give in to the idea of not being worthy or good enough to do anything they dream of.
2. How far do the students travel, on average, to get to the centers and how do they do so? (Walk, bus, etc.) (Beth Ingersoll)
Most of the children registered live very near the churches where they participate in the activities and where they are registered. It is very common for them to walk. As part of the program, Compassion Mexico considers children within 30 minutes walking distance.
In some of the child development centers, it is common to see a few children ride their bicycles to the center, but in those cases it is only a luxury some can afford.
There are other churches where the pastor’s vehicle or the cars owned by the church membership serve to bring children to classes. Every time they drive by the community, children line up to jump in and ride to the church. Many times these are old cars on bumpy and dirt roads, but the fact of being able to ride with the teachers or sparing the hot sun is well worth the tightness.
Finally, there are centers where teachers and staff members split by areas, and they walk the streets around the center to bring children in. Families then trust their children to go with the staff members to church.
Either if children walk by themselves or in big groups or ride their bikes to the projects, they normally wear a special shirt from the project or even uniforms, so it is very nice to watch children come into the centers because they fill the streets with joyful laughter.
3. What do you like best about your job? (Britney)
I love people, spending time with them, hearing their stories.
People in the communities I get to visit are so open to share their lives, their dreams, and the way each has been blessed. They easily inspire me through their conversation, and they help me keep my feet on the ground. They value their children and their families more than anything else. We live so differently, and when we get so distracted by worthless things, they easily bring us back to life’s basics.
After talking to them and spending some time with them, I just feel blessed with the opportunity of being there. I am constantly challenged, humbled and blessed by getting the chance of spending some time with them. This experience is incredibly thrilling to me, and I can hear the Lord talking to me through their voices. I have learned to love them dearly.
4. What do you love most about the children that you work with? (Mary)
Children are children here, there, and everywhere! Although they struggle in the midst of poverty, even when life is so unfair to them and even when they face the most awful circumstances we could ever imagine, they smile, they love, they believe.
I get to see parents who neglect their children and children suffering from poverty, illnesses, lack of love, and malnourishment. But overall, when I look deep in their eyes, I see they are still children and have a special spark in their eyes. Sometimes this only glows again after I remind them how special they are to me and to God.
5. If you could have one wish granted for the children you work with, what would that wish be? (Crystal)
That they grow strong and beautiful before the Lord. That they never go astray or give up on the plans God has for them.
6. If you could tell us, as sponsors, just one thing, what would it be? (Abbie H.)
Don’t let our children down!
I know it might be hard to relate to someone that is so far away not only in distance but in culture and understanding. But it is true — you can make a difference in the lives of these children by praying, by writing, and by being there for them!
When the children know they are worth someone’s time and interest, they change their view of themselves. They will believe you when you write that you love them, and they are counting on your prayers.
Every time they are at the center, they will expect to receive a letter from their sponsors because this fills them with joy and encouragement to continue to stand.
7. Sometimes I feel, as a mom of a 3 year old, that I can’t do as much because my daughter is young and requires a lot of time. How do you juggle your time with your 2 1/2-year-old son and all the children you encounter daily? (Abbie H.)
It is difficult, my time is never enough, and I often find myself juggling many responsibilities when I visit the churches.
As a mom, I believe my son is starting to get a better picture of the world when he is aware of other children around who do not live in his same circumstances. It is hard for us at times, but in the end, I hope he can receive the blessing of meeting these wonderful children.
My family shares this passion, and we all learn from the people I meet. We also enjoy spending time together, and although I work, I still manage to get home to play ball and enjoy dinner together.
I also have a wonderful support team, otherwise this would be impossible.
(Because there were just seven questions posted, I, Amber, get to ask all my questions!)
8. We hear a lot about the global food crisis around the world. Has the rise in food costs impacted Mexico? If so, how is it affecting Compassion’s projects?
The global food crisis is a serious issue. Authorities in Mexico have said the crisis will not affect the Mexican population badly, but they have also announced a package to support the agriculture and food industry.
Prices started rising and then slowed down the increase rate, but there is still speculation in the markets in regards to the future. The crisis is just starting, and although it has not affected the churches strongly, it has been a great challenge.
Child development centers have to buy from big and well-established stores where taxes increment the value of their products. The amount a center receives to feed the children on the days the children come is not enough anymore, so expenses are starting to be redistributed differently to face the basic needs of these children.
The office in Mexico has started to explore alternatives to help the churches generate their own vegetables and to produce their own consumables. They are starting to use hydroponics, vegetable gardens, and growing chickens or rabbits for their children and families.
The programs team is also advising the centers to look for other kinds of support, such as food banks and by requesting donations in kind from department stores.
9. How can we pray for your country and the children you minister to there?
- Pray for their health, their well being, their hearts, and their emotions.
- Pray for safety in their communities and for the many risks they face while they are young.
- Pray for their learning, for their nourishment, and for their salvation.
- Pray for the families, the ones that stay together and the ones that split, for their work and for the money they earn to last long enough until their next paycheck.
- Pray for the single mothers who have to educate and raise children by themselves, and pray for the homes to become refuges for children, not dangerous places.
- Pray for the churches that take these children in, for loving adults to care for the children while they face their own challenges.
- Pray for the churches’ commitment to God and the resources available to them.
- Pray for the country office staff, for wisdom and strength as well as for protection and discernment, for a clean heart to serve these churches and for God’s direction in every step.
- Pray for the different work that has to be done in order to complete the effort we are involved in to serve the children.
- Pray for Mexico as a country, for the impact of the growing crisis, for the government (for the violence and corruption to cease) and for the general conditions we face as a country.
- Please also pray for the rainy season that endangers many of the communities where Compassion-assisted children are located.