Seventeen years ago,
A mission team from The Light at Mission Viejo, a non-denominational Christian church in Santa Fe, New Mexico USA, led by Jim and Pat Noble set out to change the face of Puerto Palomas, Mexico by building a place of refuge for their abandoned, forgotten, neglected, and abused children.
A grand upheaval to the Lord's mission here in Palomas came in early 2013. The federal government of Mexico required drastic changes in all northern states along its 1,954-mile (3,145 km) border with the United States, necessarily forcing many like-minded privately subsidized houses of refuge and orphanages to close. After much prayer and planning, we decided to grit our teeth and change with the new directives. We went from a rather loose accountability process to one that is now openly transparent. As a result, our mission became spiritually and fiscally stronger and much more focused while reaching out in ways that we never would have imagined possible on our own. As we said goodbye to all of our former children who were relinquished back to their previous family situations, we eagerly welcomed home twelve young ladies who were true orphans. With wide open arms, we guided them into their new reality that has now grown from being institutionalized wards of the state to being close friends, fellow students, and faithful sisters a family in every sense of the word.
The orphanage is located on about two acres of land, and currently houses up to twelve girls plus the mission directors. We used to have an average of six additional staff to help with the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance of the facility, but the girls now do several things for themselves, such as cooking and cleaning, so we've been able to reduce the onsite workforce in half.
In addition to providing for the physical needs of the young ladies, staff members work with the girls and their teachers to make sure they succeed in school. Professional counseling is provided to each on an as-needed basis, with an emphasis on empowerment and social skills building. Each child goes to an age-appropriate private local school, where we pay for their tuition and all supplies, including books, uniforms and other clothing as required. We put a high calling on the girls to understand and agree with the importance of finishing high school. More than all that, however, we emphasize and encourage a lifelong commitment to growing a spiritual walk with Jesus Christ through daily prayer and youthful biblical lessons.
Each child is required by the government to leave the orphanage when they reach 18 years of age. However, even after that time, we continue to work with them and build their opportunities for success in many ways. Casa de Amor has a vision of being a "lighthouse" in the darkness. Therefore, in addition to helping the children, we also support local congregations and their pastors by providing them with food, clothing, bibles and tracts that are to be used for outreach into the general community as well as within their own churches as needs arise. The several pastors of these local congregations sit as voting members on our board of directors alongside other dignitaries, such as the towns mayor and the Mexican authorities that oversee the orphanage for their federal government.
Through the incredible grace of God Almighty, we have a 6,000 ft.2 (557 m2) building built by volunteers for the children and His ministry. Over the years many upgrades and renovations have ensued, to mirror the changing realities of God's mission here. The original design was to hold up to sixty children in a house of refuge, where no one was truly an orphan, but their nearby parents couldn't or wouldn't take care of them for a variety of reasons. In those somewhat chaotic and tempestuous years, children would come and go like leaves in the wind. Although it was easier to come and stay, for those that had to go for whatever reason, our hearts were likewise torn for them on their continuing journeys. In addition to the direct aid provided through the orphanage, there is also a handicapped childrens' school in the town in which we help as needs arise. We also support a Godly home for elderly people who do not have family, and would otherwise be homeless. To both, we solicit and deliver donations, plan and execute restoration/construction projects, and faithfully minister Christ to the children, residents and staff members through His Word. We also continue to help those in the larger community with the greatest need as the Lord leads us: some to get into a home or perhaps in the reconstruction of their existing home that desperately needs repair.
We strongly encourage you to come and see all of the incredible opportunities available in Palomas: to pray earnestly and seek how the Lord might lead you into making an everlasting impact to His mission here. All of His ministries here began when someone felt the leading of the Holy Spirit and then stepped forward, seeking ways to make that vision come to life. Expect Him to change YOU once you begin to move forward on His pathway for your life. Many have come here to feed others and found themselves being fed by God Himself. Others have come to teach and pray among the children and realized afterwards that God Himself was faithfully teaching those teachers all along. Don't be surprised when you come to realize that our Everlasting God has used the outwardly wretched, poor and dusty town of Palomas to touch your own soul, perhaps revealing your own pitiful position without Him for the first time in your life. We feel that God has a plan and a purpose for Palomas and those who minister to her that reaches far beyond our meager expectations. We desire to be His hands and feet – please come join us!
'And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 'In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."' – Acts 20:32, 35 (ESV)