Jesse has been in the States for the past few weeks and yesterday had the privilege of speaking at our home church, New Life Community Church. Here is what he shared.
We have been in Aguascalientes, Mexico at Dulce Refugio orphanage a little over 2 years now. We’ve had between 23 and 57 kids and I can assure you, there’s rarely a dull moment. We’ve done everything from laundry, room inspections, bus driving, doctor and dentist appointments, soccer games, homework, mountain hikes, breaking up fights, to just sitting on the bench hanging out. Faith, the kids, and I have just about seen it all over the last 2 years, but in spite of all that, I found myself asking the question “What am I doing here?”
Those of you who know me well, know that I rarely do anything without a purpose, even the crazy stuff, which we’re not talking about today. I went down to Mexico with this romantic idea of being a father to the fatherless, to spiritually light these kids on fire, and so then they would in turn lead radically different lives and break the cycle from which they came. However, as is often the case, reality does not always submit itself to our dreams.
The reality is that most of these kids won’t change, in spite of all the love, and care and Jesus we give these kids. Even after years and years of it in some cases, given the right opportunity, they can revert back to the day they first came to us off the street. Permit me to be honest with you and say that this is incredibly discouraging and disheartening.
I mean, we sold our car, and house, pulled our kids from the life they knew, left friends and family for this kind of rejection and sorrow? I didn’t come with a number like, “we would have an 83.2% success rate, but is it worth building these buildings, spending all this time, sweat, and blood for just a few kids out of the hundreds we will see, that will actually change? (dramatic pause)…Yes! Why? Because Jesus would. And Jesus did. He did it for you and me. That’s not just churchenese, or churchy talk, that’s truth. The Bible isn’t just a collection of stories, like the shepherd leaving the 99 for the 1 lost sheep. It’s truth. And sometimes, God allows us to see that truth come to life right in front of us, and that’s what I want to share with you today.
I want to share a story with you that involves 3 brothers from Dulce Refugio. I call them the pillars of Dulce Refugio due to their time spent with us which is around 5 years now. Beginning of September, school had just started and 2 of these 3 brothers needed their birth certificates and school records from last year to complete registration. These 3 brothers were 3 of the kids taken earlier in the year during a traumatic time I labeled “The Reaping”, where social services came and took 1/3 of our kids. Anyway, over the summer, these 3 boys ran away from their “better” situation, and came back to us. Social services wasn’t too happy about this, it made them look bad, and so they weren’t too keen on helping us get the documents. So I decided to take the brothers and go look for the tios/tias (uncles and aunts) to get their papers.
As we drove in the van to their old barrio or colonia, (neighborhood), I was a little apprehensive. Not because of the cholos, (gangsters), but for the boys because we were venturing into their past, and that can be quite painful for them. Let me explain.
Almost all of our kids at DR have experienced a trauma. We all have a God designed fight or flight instinct that we can use to help us get out of a bad situation. But when something happens to a child like rape or physical abuse, and they are not strong enough to stop it, they can mentally, emotionally, and physically go into shock. So strong is this effect, that even into adult years, without extensive counseling if they experience the same circumstances or stimulus that cause the trauma, they can instantly revert back to thumb sucking, peeing their pants, crying uncontrollably, or just plain go catatonic. In the case of the brothers, the father had committed suicide in front of the oldest brother, the mom couldn’t handle it, left them, and that is how they came to us in the first place.
We find out from a primo (cousin), that a tio works down the street in a shoe repair shop. So we went there, I parked the van, and we all started walking up to the shop, but the oldest and youngest brothers suddenly dropped back so that only the middle brother and I went up to the counter.
As I walked up to the counter, that dad “sixth and seventh sense” started kicking in and the hairs on the back of my neck raised up as the uncle began to rise. So I did my best tough guy impersonation, and the tio decided to calm down and tell us a tia down the street had some papers. We later found out that social services had been financially assisting the tios/tias of these brothers, which isn’t right, and they basically lost this “beer money” when the brothers ran away.
We left and I asked the other 2 brothers why they hung back. The older told me that that particular tio would make him work after school and take the money he made, or hit him if he refused. The younger told me they sometimes put him in a box or closet, and they all said the uncle would have hit the middle brother if I had not been there. I then asked them how many tios/tias there were, and they said a lot. This was a lot to take in, and I began to process all this as we were on our way to the tia’s house.
We arrived and I made note of the situation, bullet holes in houses, cholos on the corner and the aunt of course isn’t home. One brother wanted me to throw him over the fence so he could get in the house and get the papers, and I said no we weren’t breaking into a house around here. We find out from a neighbor that the tia won’t be back until 7pm, so I said ok, let’s go get some dinner and come back.
We went to a 50’s themed diner, and I explained the cultural significance of the pictures on the wall of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and when the youngest saw John Lennon, he said “Look, Harry Potter!”
I sent the boys to wash up, and watched as the older two (being the ornery boys that they are) sent the younger into the girls restroom as a joke. We all had a great time, spending the time smiling and laughing. It’s a true testament to the healing power of Jesus and the opportunity these kids have at Dulce Refugio. I tell this to teams when they come, but you’d never know what some of these kids have been through, by how they act now.
Long story short, we went back to the tia’s, then to another, and back again and have 2 out of the 3 papers we needed. I thought more about these “wasted” hours, and how I wouldn’t trade them for anything because after 2 years, I had an answer to why we are there.
I thought back to the 1st uncle, and it hit me. This is my purpose: to stand between these kids and their past and their pain, for however long God gives them to us, whether it be 8 days, or 8 years, show them Jesus, and leave the results up to Him.
Here is what I want you to take away from this story and never forget. When we left 2 years ago, we presented this idea to you that it wasn’t the Becketts going out for you, our supporters, but it was, in a way, you going out through us.
As hard as it is sometimes for us to be away from you, from our family, to go through these failures, pain and rejections, and also for you to be away from us. I want you to realize something deep in your soul. That for every check you write for us, or to support the church, every magnet you put on the fridge, every team that comes to visit, every blog post that you read, and prayer that you’ve said… KNOW that it is YOU, IT IS YOU, standing there with us, between these kids and their past and pain. So Jesus can heal them.
THAT, my brothers and sisters is why we are there, how we are there, and will keep on being there…until God says… No more.
Thanks for reading.