New Year New Chapter

Dear Beckett family supporters,

It has been an honor for us to serve at Dulce Refugio orphanage in Aguascalientes, Mexico for the past 2 ½ years and it has been a double honor to us that you have been a part of that ministry by supporting us through your prayers and financial contributions. Through your support, God has enabled us to be part of many wonderful memories and experiences at DR and we can’t thank you enough for that. It is those things that makes it especially difficult for us to report to you that recently, our family has been experiencing a significant family matter that is requiring us to leave Mexico to address.

Rest assured, we are all in good health, but after much prayer and seeking wise counsel from a number of brothers and sisters in Christ, we concluded that a move back to the U.S. (we are currently in Florida near Jesse’s family) is best at this time and for the foreseeable future. We request that for now, you not reach out to us directly for information on this family matter. We’ll reach out to you if we feel like you can be of assistance.

Because of this, we can no longer in good conscience accept financial support for a mission we are no longer doing. However, if you would like to continue to support us during this transitional time while Jesse looks for a way to support our family, we would be deeply grateful. If that is your desire, you can continue giving to us as you have before (through NewLife in Canal Winchester, OH).

The mission of Dulce Refugio will go on and is larger than any one family or one person. Please pray for our family during this difficult time, as it is vital for our renewal.

Humbly and respectfully,

Jesse and Faith Beckett

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A Year In Review

by faith

So sorry for the lack of communication on our part over the past month or so.  December is a crazy month here, filled with Christmas parties, winter vacation (which means more hands on deck) and Jesse and I went away for 5 days for our 16th wedding anniversary.  All of that to say, it was busy and flew by before we knew it.

Let’s take a look back over the past year:

In January we returned to DR after a 5 week visit in the States and I also traveled with Fani to the States to begin her au pair/student program.  Update:  Fani is moving from St. Louis, MO to Columbus, Ohio to continue another year of au pair and study program!  Please continue to pray for her through this transition.  We are so excited for all of the opportunities God is opening up for her!

March brought with it the craziness of DIF coming and taking many of our children, moving them to where they thought was a better place for them.  This was an extremely difficult time, but we were so amazed and encouraged by the prayers  of all of you during it.

In April, Jesse went on his first Mexican mission trip, joining with a friend’s church and going to the state of Veracruz to help build a church in a remote village.

May, June and July were filled with groups visiting from the States, an intern from Indiana and six others from a university in Mexico City.  The summer flew by and before we knew it, it was time to start school again.  With the fall, brought a long month of Jesse being gone, traveling to the States for a hiking trip, marathon run and knee surgery.

Jesse shared some really great thoughts, in this post from the fall, about what we feel is our calling for being here.  So good.

And then, on my birthday in October, another three girls left the orphanage.  It’s never easy.  Please continue to pray for Valeria, Clara and Mariana.

The past year was not easy, there were many trials and somehow through them we are learning and growing to become the people that God wants us to be.

Please continue to pray for Dulce Refugio, Marce (the director), all of the volunteer staff and please especially for our family.  Satan’s attacks never seem to stop.

We appreciate so much the prayers and support of all of you.

Thank you for reading!

 

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Give Thanks

by faith

This Thanksgiving day is special. We have Jesse’s parents here with us, as well as my brother, David. We have much to be thankful for because there is One who loves us and has extended His grace and mercies to us.

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before Him with joyful singing.

Know that the Lord Himself is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving,

And His courts with praise.

Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

For the Lord is good;

His lovingkindness is everlasting,

And His faithfulness to all generations.”

Psalm 100

I am fascinated by history. I love it! So humor me, as I share some Thanksgiving proclamations by U.S. presidents. They might be lengthy, but good! I hope you take time to read them.

The first national day of thanksgiving….

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

“By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”

Go. Washington

The Thanksgiving holiday we continue to celebrate in November was established by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and made into law by Congress in 1941.

Here is Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation….

Washington, D.C.

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

To you, our dear family and friends, we wish you a day filled with remembering all that God has done for you! We are thankful for you!!

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Today’s thoughts

by faith

I walked into the comedor, ready to eat dinner with the kids. Marce had prepared some delicious sandwiches for us and I was looking forward to enjoying them with the girls.

I walked up to the table that I normally sit at, the table with the older girls. I walked up behind one of them, wrapped my arms around her, and started to kiss her cheek over and over. When I looked at her there were tears brimming in her eyes. She couldn’t seem to stop them and they lasted throughout the meal, until after when we could finally talk.

My affection for her and towards her had opened up a wound in her heart. She wanted to know why her family could not show her the same level of affection as me. She felt so alone. That affection is something that she craves, that she needs, and that so many of them need.

I could only tell her that people will always let us down, will never give us all we need, but there is a God who loves us more than we can imagine, if only we will let Him, and that I was here for her, to love her as my daughter.

Then, later as I was saying goodnight to my Ella, she asked me about the terrorist attacks happening around the world and that she is concerned about them coming here to us.

We discussed this, talked about God’s plan, the evil in the world and then she asks me; “Mommy, when there are so many people in the world, why do I matter to God? Why am I important?” And, again I tell her of the God who is so much bigger than we can imagine and has so much love for those He made, and that He made HER for a purpose that only she could do for Him.

Maybe I said more, more to both of them, but what I said isn’t my point.

Both of those times last night, made me so thankful to have been in those places, at those times, so that I could be there for each of them when they needed me.

It reminded me of what I am on this earth to do and all that I could think of last night was of how much I love my children. My four biological children, but also my 23 adopted children.

I am not here to only fulfill my hour of guardia a day, or to be here for them from 9am-5pm. I am here to be present and available when they need me, whenever that may be. I am here to love them, to talk with them, to hug them and kiss them, to wash their clothes, to make them cookies to take to their classes at school and to give advice when asked, or to discipline when necessary.

I am not perfect, I do not do it perfectly, but with God’s strength I am a mother and a friend.

I am thankful that I am not doing this alone. The staff that is here, that God has brought here are sharing, giving and loving because….

We are a family.

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In My Mexican Kitchen: Rice

by faith

So, it took us a little while, but I would say that we have become accustomed to the Mexican schedule of eating. Here is what that looks like.

We eat before school together, about 6:45am. Then, sometime between 9:30-10:30am, depending on the grades, the kids eat at school. That is considered breakfast for Mexicans. Sometimes they call it a lunch, which is how they refer to a snack, but it needs to be something to sustain them until they return from school at 3pm.

Once all of the kids are home from school, which should be about 3pm, we eat our main/biggest meal of the day together. This is when we eat our meat, rice, potatoes, soup, and pasta.

Then, our supper is normally around 7pm….sometimes a little earlier, sometimes later, but we aren’t super hungry because we ate a bigger meal in the middle of the afternoon.

Our suppers are much more simple now. Sometimes it’s quesadillas, salads, yogurt parfaits, a soup, or sometimes bolillos (a small bread loaf) spread with cream cheese and beans. Our appetites are small though. I honestly think this schedule of eating is MUCH better for us. Why eat a big meal only a few hours before sleep?

Today, I want to show you how we make a Mexican staple, rice. Served to us almost everyday and so delicious. My kids get so excited when I fix it too, even if they already had it for lunch.

So, let’s get cooking…

Here is what you will need:

One onion

Butter and oil (don’t ask me why, but we use a combo of both)

Long grain rice

Chicken broth

Start by cutting one onion into half moon slices. Cut the ends off the onion, slice it in half lengthwise and then slice each of those halves into the thin half moon slices.

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I use my large skillet for this, putting it over medium heat. Add about a half a stick of butter and some oil to the pan. Let the butter melt. Then throw the onion in there. Gently here people, let’s not get too crazy!

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Once the onion starts to become tender and cooked, I add about 2 cups of rice. I use  normal rice….not jasmine or yellow, but typical long grain. Stir that in and we are going to let it cook and brown.

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You will want to keep an eye on it so that it does not brown too quickly. I turn the heat down a little at this point. Medium low is good. Keep stirring it. If I feel it sticking I add a little more butter or oil.

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For the next step you need to add boiling chicken broth.   Make that however you want, with homemade, bouillon cubes, or powder. I use chicken bouillon cubes. I use the heated water from our water dispenser, but that too can be done however you want, in the microwave, stovetop or instant heater. I think that the bouillon cubes I use are a little bigger than the ones in the states, but use whatever you need to make 4 cups of broth.

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When the rice has come to a nice brown, I add the boiling chicken broth. Be careful! The steam coming up can be brutal.

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Give it a stir. Taste the broth for flavor. If it needs a little salt add some. You do not want bland flavorless rice. Ew.

Put a lid on it (I love my glass one so that I can easily see inside) and let it cook until the liquid has all been absorbed.  My burner is normally medium low to low.

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When it looks done, take a spoon, push some of the rice away from the edge and if there is no liquid I know that it is done.

When serving rice, always serve it from the outer edges first. Never dig right into the middle of it.

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This makes enough rice for our family. We love it with almost anything and my kids even love it the next morning with eggs.

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Enjoy!

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Silas turns 14

by faith

Of all of my children I think Silas has changed the most since we have lived here. For those of you who knew Silas before, you know that he has always been fairly quiet and reserved, and don’t get me wrong he still is, but I see him growing up and coming out of his shell. When he is asked a question his favorite answer is still “I don’t know”, but still he is more outgoing and enjoys talking with others.

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There have been several hurdles that Silas has had to get over this year. One was being admitted to the hospital, for the first time in 8 years, due to diabetes complications. Then when we visited the States and went to see his stateside endocrinologist we were told that Silas had not grown at all, AT ALL, in the year and a half we had been gone. And actually his weight had gone down. Not good. So, we have spent the past 10 months trying to figure out what to do, how to get him back on track, and then how to maintain it. It has been hard. No boy wants to not be growing. It has been a journey of discipline and trusting in the God who made him and knows everything about him. We have seen Silas grow in his responsibilities and in understanding the importance of taking care of himself and his health. It is a journey but we are getting there, and things are looking good.

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Last school year was a struggle, mostly because of Spanish. Being thrown into school and not being able to understand anything isn’t easy, especially for a 13 year old. Mid year we got tutors for Silas and Quinn four days a week and that was the best thing we could have done. Silas is a totally different person. School is MUCH easier, and he speaks and understands with ease. We are so thankful for this!

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He enjoys helping in the kitchen with Senora Marilou. When we get home from school in the afternoon I drop him off at the kitchen and he helps her with last minute lunch preparations and then helps serve as well. Marilou adores Silas and I think the feeling is mutual, even if he wouldn’t say.

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Here is a little bit more about Silas in his own words. Enjoy!

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Who are your best friends?

Andre, Victor, Cesar and Rodrigo

What is your favorite Mexican food?

Tacos de bisteck (Steak tacos)

What do you like most about living at Dulce Refugio?

There is always something to do

What do you like the least?

Sometimes the boys don’t want to play with me

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What are things that you do in your free time?

Play on my ipod touch, read, play video games, help in the kitchen, talk with people, play football with my brothers and sometimes soccer.

What was the hardest thing that you went through this year?

Having to be in the hospital. It was a little scary.

What was the best thing from this year?

Getting my ipod touch

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What are your favorite books that you have read this year?

The Silmarillion and The Kingdom series

Describe yourself in three words:

Crazy. Funny. Awesome.

Describe your family in three words:

Mean. Fun. Helpful.

What is something that you would like to happen this year?

I would like to visit my friends Wilson and Hunter

What is something that God has made you good at?

Being helpful.

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Today, we celebrate you, Silas and as I listened to you talking this morning, I thought about how you have been complaining that your throat hurts and that your voice is probably starting to change, and so I know that that is only the beginning of many changes to come and the beginning of a new chapter, which I choose to embrace because, I have confidence in you, Silas and I love you so much!! Happy 14th birthday!

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Dear Valeria

by faith

Dear Valeria,

I miss you. I miss your smile, your beautiful voice and spirit, your sense of humor, beautiful eyes and fun personality. If only I had known.

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It was just a normal Monday. You know, that day that everyone loves to hate.

It was my birthday, so I guess it wasn’t completely a normal Monday, but we had no idea that it would, for real, be a day that we would have reason to hate.

At lunch, you all sang to me, gave me a cake, but my most favorite thing about that afternoon was the note that you gave me.

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When our family left to have dinner together, if I had known what was going to happen while we were gone, would we have stayed? I don’t know, but I do know that I would have said goodbye. I would have hugged the life out of you one last time. But, we didn’t know what would happen in those few hours we were gone. We had no idea that everything would change.

When we returned the yard was empty, all of the children were inside for the night, it was dark, and after checking Facebook and seeing that Marce had posted on our staff Facebook page, we saw and read of the events that occurred that night.

We saw that DIF had come, while we were gone, and had taken you and your sisters from DR. And, again, I was not able to say goodbye….

This year has been a crazy one…in the spring, DIF took you from us and gave you all to your mother. You were so happy about that, being back with her, and, I was so happy that even though you were not here all the time, your mother still brought you to visit frequently. How thankful I am, that when she realized that she still was not able to afford to take care of you and wanted what was best for them, she brought you back to us without the involvement of DIF.

As I read the news on Facebook, my mind was swirling with all of this and before I could sleep and rest for the night, I needed to know what happened. I needed to know more and so, I went over to Esteban and Blanca’s house to talk.

This is what they told me….

DIF arrived bringing with them 5 people. They were brought into the office to meet with Marce. DIF said that they had an order to take you and your sisters. That it was because your aunts believed that your mom was not doing a good job with you all, they were upset that you all were at DR, and so filed complaints about DR, which is what led to your departure.

Marce told Blanca to go find you, to tell you what was happening and prepare you that you were going to be leaving. But, we had no idea that God had already been preparing you.

“Valeria, I want to tell you something and I want you to be strong. “

“What happened?”

“DIF is here and they are going to take you”

“Blanca, I do not want to go. This is my house and I am not going with them.”

“You know, Valeria, this is not in our hands. Let’s pray.”

You, my young, sweet friend, were given the job of telling your little sisters, of hearing their cries. I am so sorry.

“Valeria, please support them and be with them. Just pray, pray, pray.”

And, then you respond with this….

“Blanca, can I tell you something? I had a dream the night before last. In my dream, I saw DIF and they were coming to pick me up. In my dream, we were leaving on October 6. Today is the 5th.   I think God was talking to me through my dream, so that I would be prepared, but also in my dream he told me that I am coming back.

I am going to tell DIF that I do not want to go. But, I will go with them if it is God’s will. “

And so, you go to the office and walk out your faith to talk with DIF.

You tell them what you told Blanca, that you do not want to go with them and that this is your home.

And then DIF tells you, “If you believe in God, and God wants you to obey, why are you not obeying? You need to obey and come with us.”

“Where are you taking us?

“You are going to the Casa de Los Sueños.”(House of Dreams)

“Is that a new house?”

“No, no, it is the Casa DIF.”

“Haha! It is less than a house of dreams!! You are not going to give me all of the attention and things that I have here!”

“How do you know that? That you are not going to receive that there, if you have not been there?”

“Because, I have heard about that house! I have friends who have been there or are there and they have told me!”

Then (because I guess you were really ruffling feathers) the transcriber pulls Marce out of the office and says. “You need to help, because if she does not come with us, they will call the police, because this is an order. You need to help her to come with us. If she does not come we will have to force her.”

So, Marce came inside and told you, “I don’t want you to go, but God wants us to obey the authorities and right now they are the authorities. You need to go with them. It is time for you to go and prepare your things.”

Blanca told me some of your last words, words that she and I will not soon forget… “You know, Blanca? I know that this is God’s will because things did not change. But, I know that God wants me to be used in the Casa DIF to open their eyes because they do not know Jesus. The things that I will be doing will be praying, fasting and reading my Bible.

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You are 14 years old, only 14!! (Compared to my 35! haha) But, do you know how much your words of wisdom and faith in our God amaze and encourage me? It is painful and we don’t understand completely, but you are so right! You are a seed being planted. In my birthday note you told me and I never want you to forget it because it is true for you as well…. God has a purpose for YOU!

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in word, conduct, love, faith and purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

I think of you when I think of this verse, sweet girl.

I love you so much, Valeria, and I hope that one day very soon I can read this letter to you in person.

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