Monday, June 10, 2013

Mexico Mission // Part 1 - Personal

So here it is. Even if I was the most skilled writer alive, there still would not be a way to sum up what changed in me, the emotions I felt, or the closeness I developed towards the Lord. The Mexico orphanage is a place where hurts are healed, visions are found, and lives are changed. In one short week, you feel like you have started a new life, yet as we pulled out onto the dirt road heading home, it seemed as if we had just arrived. I love when people ask me how the trip was and want to talk about it... But how do I explain something so unexplainable?! Hopefully you'll better understand what I experienced through these photos and captions:

As soon as we crossed the Mexican border, we stopped at this taco place (duh!) and enjoyed the best Coca-Cola I have ever tasted... I wanted to bring back thousands of bottles, but for the lack of space in my jam-packed suitcase, I instead decided to chug as much as I could while I was there 

Betty and Chris! They make such a cheerful couple and I loved talking with them!

I will admit that it took me a while to really catch on to their money system... I gave many blank stares to poor merchants when they told me what I had to pay, haha

This is Carena. She is the perfect example of how God uses the mission to change the lives of people and heal past hurts.. I have known her for many years now and about a half a year ago, she and her family made the big decision to move to the mission and be on staff... I cannot tell you how much the Lord shines through Carena's family. Carena especially displays God's love for the orphans and it was the most amazing thing to watch God work in her life. I am blessed to know her and her story.
This is the cocina! 

One day, I was an assistant chef with Bleu, another staff member, and it was *such* a great experience! Other days, we (the Clevelanders) would be on dishes or special cleanup jobs in the kitchen... We had the opportunity to experience a little of everything there!

Lunch was always a nice breather in between shifts... It was great getting to know the staff and each one of them captured me in one way or another!

The mission owned two horses that just roamed around... How magnificent, right?!

So many happy people at the mission.

This is Jenna, my joy gal. I swear that Jenna's constant laughing and smiling gave me such an uncontrollable joy the whole time I was there. She cannot walk or talk, but she still had the spirit of joy about her.
Gabby (the gal on the right) and I were the youngest of the group from Cleveland, and it was so nice to have a companion to stick with! She has such a sweet and gentle spirit that really poured into the orphans.

KARINA!! This is my sweet, sweet girl, Karina. She has the funniest sense of humor, loves Coca-Cola, displays some sass, and gives out so much love. Although she cannot walk, she can communicate perfectly and holds the personality of about a 10, 11, or 12-year-old. She makes my heart ache because of how much love I have for her; I miss her beyond anything I can comprehend. This is just one example of our conversations:
*While sitting next to each other at lunch* Karina - "Do you like kisses?"
Me - "Oh! I love kisses!"
*She gives me a kiss with her food-covered mouth*
The next day when I saw her on my morning shift, I kissed her on the forehead.
Karina - "Oh my gosh!!! You really love me!!"
My heart melts at the thought of her. I could go on and on about Karina, but I will save that for another time. 

This is Didi, or Dede (spelled both ways). If there was one orphan that my heart went out to the most, it was this six-year-old girl. She was abused by her father to the point that she does not speak, she cannot walk, and she is constantly in pain.  I would sit with her for a long while holding her hands, staring into her eyes, and whispering words of my love to her. I could sit with her like that for hours, just looking at her and being there for her. It was hard to watch her cry out in pain or clench her teeth and hold her breath… While I was at the mission, I discovered a way to make her laugh by blowing into her small calloused hands (must have been ticklish), and let me tell you, when she laughed, I would cry out of happiness. I am sitting here crying as I write; I miss her so much and the thought of her makes me happy and sad at the same time. I will never forget her. I gave part of my heart to this sweet soul that impacted me so much.

It's my "PWETTY"! hehe, Laura will always be known as my pwetty because every time I passed by her or sat by her, she would say, "Awwwhh!! You're so pwetty!" She can walk and talk (and talk), but mentally she is like a six-year-old, so loving and innocent. I loved hearing her telling me over and over about her wedding details and how she is marrying Jesus… so SO sweet.
This old soul is Maria. She walks and occasionally mutters "NO" with her hoarse voice. Something about her is so comical; she has such mood swings and orders people around with her motions, haha. I just love her; you could never understand what she is like unless you meet her! Unfortunately, she is very sick, so it would be much appreciated if you could keep her in your prayers.

It's Lupa!! Ahh, she is such a joyful woman with a constant smile, a divine love, and a voice for the Lord! She is pretty much fully functional and is always helping with the other orphans and loving on them. Lupa would sometimes grace us during the sermons/worship sessions by singing songs like "This Little Light of Mine" or "Jesus Loves Me." That's just who she is - someone who is always a blessing and always spreading the love of Christ to every soul around her!

Yup, crying out of joy right now.

Emma! She is such a cutie with the best smile and heart! One of the highlights of the week for me was her Bible study she hosted for all of the orphan and staff girls. Her heart for the Lord is so beautiful!

These were the moments I looked forward to every day.. Just holding her hand and looking into her eyes.

The girls and boys were separated, so I barely saw the boy orphans, but here is Dennis at work!

Tonito!!! Tony was abused by his father and was paralyzed from his neck down, "never to walk again"... Well, God obviously thought otherwise and Tony can walk totally fine and now moves like a pro after some physical therapy. The last few days I was at the mission, Tony really clung to me and I fell in LOVE. We fought snakes (imaginary ones of course), built rock castles, fought bad guys, watered the plants, and played on the playground together. He stole my heart!

This is Sela. To be honest, it was very hard at first to get use to this sweet soul.. She doesn't talk or communicate in any way, she is immobile, and she cannot drink or eat very well. God really worked in my heart and I learned to love this girl. She really impacted me and caused me to stretch beyond what I felt comfortable with. 

One of the days I was there, I was a helper with laundry for the day. It was so peaceful and a time to seek the Lord and think about the ways God was changing, stretching, and using me. I gleaned so much during that time.

These girls have been best friends forever! What love!

Cause we love kisses!

Magoli! She was so cuckoo, and somehow you learned to love it! Loved clapping with her  :)

What a smile!!

We went to serve, but it was almost as if through all the serving, the kids were giving us so much more! I only scratched the surface of our duties and the ways I had to go beyond my comfort zone, but it was one of, if not the greatest, experiences I have ever had. If you have any questions about the trip, please by all means leave a comment or email me (!

View all the photos from my trip to Mexico Here :

Part II coming soon! (our time in Cali)


  1. Beautiful. Your heart for the Lord and His people is full, Janelle!

  2. What a touching post. You are a very motivated and hard working person Janelle.

  3. Looks like this trip was good for a lot of hearts.

  4. Your descriptions of the people there are so heartfelt, Janelle. I can already tell that your time in Mexico was wonderful!!

  5. love love LOVE this, Janelle! I will be praying for this people with you. it's so cool to read stories like this. keep it up!!

  6. Wow!!!! Your missions trip sounds amazing!!! Soo wish I could go on one! So were most of the people there, handicapped? The little girl abused by her father - ohmygoodness just makes me wanna jump thru the screen and cuddle her! She is adorable. :)


  7. this is SO beautiful and your heart for the Lord and His people is so large and magnificent! can't wait to hear more. :)

  8. Oh my word. These photos. What you said. It makes me want to come. :.) What precious, precious souls, and what joyful countenances. I know God has something special for them when they meet Him. <333

  9. God is so good - love how he's even using this post to speak to so many others. :)

  10. SO. BEAUTIFUL. Your heart for others is out of this world - Praise the Lord that you got to go and have your life changed, girl!! :D

  11. Beautiful sentiments, gorgeous photography... you sound like a woman after God's own heart. I clicked your link b/c i'm a photographer, heading off on a mission trip to a Mexican orphanage next month. You definitely impacted my perspective. Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings to you and yours.

  12. Okay, so first I am going on a mission's trip in three days to Rosebud Indian Reservation in SD for the third year in a row. You are getting me so excited, gurl! I love the passion in this post! It's describing me almost exactly! I can't wait to see those people again. Gosh is Gods lovely plans powerful or what? I can't WAIT until your next part :) Lovely.

  13. what a beautiful story... you are His hands and feet!

  14. Janelle what a beautiful beginning. You write well...keep at it. The pictures are definitely your gift. A hint: in part II tell more specifically how it changed your heart. What are things God has changed about the way you think about missions...people...orphans...your ministry to them...the people around you now...the church and it's role in missions...or whatever it is God is working in your heart? That way we can learn with you and be blessed too. Thanks for sharing.