“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
Church of the Open Door has taken these words from our study of the Gospel of Luke to heart. This past year we have intentionally looked at the life of Jesus and become more aware of those Jesus came to rescue. Studying these words has moved the truths from God’s Word into our hearts, and from our hearts into our actions.
As a church community, we are learning to look for and pursue the marginalized.
One such opportunity arose at the Door of Faith Orphanage in Baja, Mexico. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, before the sun had risen, a team from Church of the Open Door met and headed out to this orphanage. Our group of 50 or so would spend the next couple of days serving and learning about this incredible home for orphaned children.
For over 50 years, Door of Faith has served the orphaned children in the poor areas around Ensenada. They currently have over 125 orphans in their care. This makes them one of the largest orphanages in Baja, but this is far from what makes them so effective for the Kingdom of God.
The directors, DJ and Lynette Schuetze, have a passion for seeing children cared for spiritually as well as physically. The children placed in their care are loved, provided for, educated, and inspired to make a difference in the surrounding communities. They go to school. They attend a local church. They live in homes with dorm parents instead of in dormitories. They even do chores.
DJ and Lynette dreamed that this orphanage would be a family, not just an institution. They want these children to be known, to belong, and to understand their worth.
As our team entered the gates of this former Mexican dude ranch, the joy was palpable.
Kids were playing on the playground. Older kids were joking and pushing kids on the swings. Teenagers were playing games of basketball and soccer, and they were so focused that our arrival went mostly unnoticed.
As our group unloaded the cars and made our way over to the kids, the excitement grew. The kids in our group jumped into the soccer and basketball games. The younger kids were welcomed onto the playground as if they belonged there. Little kids grabbed our hands and showed us what they were doing. Games were played. Communication happened. Friendships were formed. Hearts were full.
Door of Faith has become a beacon of hope and love on the Baja Peninsula. Kids that grow up there have amazing opportunities to develop their passion and pursue their calling.
Some of the teenagers wanted to start a clothing business. They were given the opportunity to learn and grow. We were given the opportunity to buy the products.
Some wanted to be bakers. So, there is a small bakery that makes a unique cake for every single child each year on their birthday. That’s 125 birthdays celebrated every year!
There are rooms used for a barber shop, a library, and even a technology room.
The couple of days we spent there were a blur of laughing, serving together, singing together, playing favorite games, holding newborns, and celebrating the unity that comes through Jesus Christ.
Yes, it was uncomfortable at times. Yes, there were moments that stretched our group and called for flexibility. However, the time to depart came too quickly for most of us.
As we packed our clothes, cleaned our rooms, and loaded our cars, I looked around at our group and noticed a number of people missing. I noticed my kids missing. Where did they all go? Didn’t they know we had a long trip back home? After asking around, I realized that they were still playing with the kids. They didn’t want to miss a single goodbye, a single last hug, a single moment more with these new friends.
As our community continues to pray for eyes to love those who Jesus loved, this trip will be a perpetual reminder of the joy found in obedience to Christ.
Christ has made and continues to make all the difference in the lives of these young boys and girls because of DJ and Lynette’s faithful obedience to Him.
In the same way, Christ will continue to make all the difference in our lives as we step out in faith looking for those we can service in Jesus’ name.
Next Gen Pastor
P.S. If you missed this trip, but are interested in being part of a future outreach, please LET ME KNOW! We are praying about next steps, and would love to have your partnership.