The Set Up
This Christmas, I took my family to spend a week in Mexico, but this was no trip to the beach. For the second year, we joined a team of over 150 to build 20 homes for the homeless in Mexico. These homes are all in and around a squatter village called “The Colonia” surrounding the town dump of Reynosa, Mexico – across the border from McAllen, Texas.
In addition to building a home, we were able to meet several children from the community who our church and The Restore Project sponsor to attend school (through the ministry Escuela Viva). This is the story of two of those children.
You won't believe this
Ivan (top left) is the mother of three beautiful children, Gael (center), Bon Bon (right) and a little girl. Roland and Carolyn Ashby, who facilitate these home building trips and Escuela Viva, met Ivan years ago.
When they met Ivan, she was a drug addict and living on the streets. One visiting group spent a week cutting and washing women’s hair, and Ivan had her hair washed for the first time in 2 years. From all points of view, Ivan’s life looked hopeless.
Then came a son, Gael. Life got a little better. Ivan found a small home to live in (a shack by our standards), and cared for her son.
But drugs reared their ugly head. Ivan lost the battle to addiction, and she lost Gael too. She had a second son, Bon Bon (a nickname, his given name is Guadalupe). The addiction was so powerful, Ivan lost complete track of Bon Bon. A woman living in the dump found Bon Bon crawling through the dump on his own. Ivan was no where to be found.
Ivan turned to prostitution and theft to feed her addiction. There was no hope for her, for her family.
Three years ago, out of the blue, Ivan ran to Carolyn, yelling,
“I’m free! I’m free! I’m saved! God has set me free!!”
Ivan encountered Jesus. She connected with the living God. He freed her from drug addiction. God provided a home to live in. He gave her a job. God reconnected her with her children.
Ivan’s story is redeemed.
There will be a future.
In the above picture, My daughter, Kessa is wearing a shirt by The Restore Project. It reads,
“There Will Be a Future”
In the late 1980’s, Colombia was controlled by the drug cartels. Life was dark in those days. During the 1990 Colombian presidential campaign, one man changed the tide. He ran tough against drugs and crime, and he adopted the campaign slogan, “There will be a future.” He connected with those who believed there remained a future. He spoke to their hearts.
These kids in The Colonia face a similar hopelessness. It is controlled by the drug cartel, yet there is still a future.
Choose. Buy. Change a life.
Through The Restore Project, you are a part of this future.
We have the honor of entering their story…their future. God has given us, the privilege of sending Gael, Bon Bon and others just like them to school. We have the joy to see their future explode with hopes and dreams.
The Restore Project has a simple message.
Choose a message. Buy a shirt. Change a life.
It really is that simple. Visit the Shop, and look through the different shirts. Every shirt has a different message. Which one speaks to you? Buy it and wear it with pride.
Wear it knowing the message means something to you, and you have changed a life with the gift of education.